Georgia is a state that cannot afford to make cuts to the public university system. The state consistently ranks near the bottom of the list in test scores among high school students. A silver lining to the poor secondary school quality has always been an above average public university system. The HOPE scholarship makes it relatively easy for Georgia’s high school students to attend school in-state. Georgia is also home to some of the finer public universities in the nation, including the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia. As a result, Georgia has traditionally been an attractive place to attend college not only for Georgia residents, but for students all over the county and even the world. Unfortunately, this is no longer true.
As a result of the worsening economy and catastrophic loss of state revenue in the form of various taxes, the state of Georgia has made massive cuts to the budget of the public university system over the past couple years. Our public universities are now operating on about 80% of the budget that they had just five years ago. So, while tuition skyrockets at rates up to thirty percent each year. The addition of new so called “academic excellence fees” which do nothing but take money from students to line the pockets of state bureaucrats further taxes our students. All the while, university employees, including faculty, are now being required to take at least a week of furlough days. Our students are being charged more, in what amounts to a state education tax, while receiving less for their money than when paying less.
It is astonishing that the governor and the state legislature do not consider the state’s public educational system as a high priority, one that should only be cut as an absolute last resort. Rather than raise property taxes or income taxes on the general populace, the state would rather impose education taxes on the defenseless college students of the state, with no input from the public or from the students themselves. In a strikingly socialistic move, the state of Georgia is taking from the most intelligent and hard-working group of people in the state, to ensure that those who did not put forth the effort to attend college do not have to spend an extra penny. The state is taking from those with ability so that no further sacrifice is necessary by those the state deems to be “in need.” The situation obvious has parallels to the famous quote from Karl Marx, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
Georgia is quickly losing any appeal that its public university system may have had to those around the country and abroad. More importantly, the state has betrayed the bright, young minds that call the Peach State home, by showing them what a low priority they are to the state. Karma always comes around, however, and the state as a whole will be hurt in the long run when the state begins losing outstanding students and faculty to other, more inviting universities. The productivity and economy of Georgia will be damaged in the long term as a result. Those with no ambition for higher education need not worry, however, the state would love to keep them around!