Board of Regents OKs ‘Major Ask’ in University System Budget

Dave Williams

Monday, September 11th, 2023

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The University System of Georgia is taking advantage of a strong state economy by seeking a $385.4 million increase in its fiscal 2024 mid-year budget.

With the state sitting on a massive budget surplus, Gov. Brian Kemp has given state agencies permission to request 3% spending increases in both the mid-year budget, which covers spending through next June, and the fiscal 2025 budget, which takes effect next July.

The system’s Board of Regents voted Friday to request a mid-year budget of $3.6 billion in state funds. The largest portion of that money – $119.1 million – would go to pay off the bond indebtedness incurred in building seven fee-funded public-private construction projects, including student dorms and parking facilities.

Paying off the debt portion of those projects would considerably reduce the fees students who use the facilities would have to pay, Tracey Cook, the university system’s chief fiscal officer, told board members before Friday’s vote.

“This is a major ask,” Cook said. “We hope this will be considered by the governor.”

The regents also approved a $3.3 billion fiscal 2025 budget request, less than the proposed mid-year 2024 budget but $101.8 million more than the $3.2 billion university system spending plan in the original fiscal 2024 budget the General Assembly adopted last spring.

The vast majority of the additional spending would come from an increase in the student funding formula driven by enrollment growth and increases in health insurance costs for system employees and retirees.

The regents also adopted a $198 million fiscal 2025 capital budget request. The largest single portion of the capital budget – $68.6 million – would go toward five new construction projects.

The list of new projects includes a planned expansion of Middle Georgia State University’s Eastman campus and an addition to the nursing and health science building at the College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick. Renovation projects are planned on the campuses of Albany State University, the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, and Georgia College & State University.

Kemp will present his budget recommendations to the legislature in January.