College tuition increase at its lowest in 30 years - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

College tuition increase at its lowest in 30 years

Sidney Curtis (Darton student) Sidney Curtis (Darton student)
Kaitlyn Winter (Darton student) Kaitlyn Winter (Darton student)

Students on the campus of Darton State College are on a mission.  

"Well I plan on making music in the future I want to own my own businesses, barber shops, just different what not," said Sidney Curtis, Darton student.  

"I'm going to graduate here with an associates in I guess exercise science and then go to Missouri to get my bachelors and then enter into a physical therapy program," said Kaitlyn Winter, Darton student.  

The cost to educate these students has skyrocketed in recent years.  But this year's average increase nationwide was less than 3%, the smallest jump in more than 30 years.  Darton economics professor Aaron Johnson says that's good news.  

"Well for the institution, it means that we are making efforts to make college more affordable for families recognizing that they are the life blood for our institution," said Aaron Johnson, economics professor, Darton State College.  

Kaitlyn Winter and Sidney Curtis just started at Darton this semester and say a higher price tag for college would prevent many students from going to college.  

"It feels good that it's not that high, that I can get my education and it doesn't cost that much," said Curtis.  

"I think its great more people will be able to afford to go to college and less debt," said Winter.

Johnson says the sluggish economy is making financial aid less available, forcing institutions to try to keep tuition hikes under control.  

"While they are still increasing tuition this year, or in the last couple of years, but we've seen it increase at a lower rate is because one, financial aid is less available now, due to our high deficits, and the fact that we have to find ways to cut spending to keep the deficit under control," said Johnson. 

Whatever the reason, Darton students hope the trend of slower growth in tuition and fees continues.

The average in-state cost for tuition and fees at a public 4 year college in Georgia this year is more than $7,800.  At a 2-year college it's just more than $3,600.       

Those figures remain below the national averages.

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