As I noted during the 2010 General Assembly, Mercer University President William Underwood, in an e-mail sent to alumni, begged them to protest any cut to the Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant Program, targeted to be eliminated from the budget. He also suggested that “For many of our students, this $1,000 grant makes the difference in being able to attend Mercer.”
Now that the General Assembly has concluded and tuition hikes are incoming for Georgia’s public universities, Underwood is as happy as a pig in mud that Mercer actually came away with more money from the General Assembly. And he wants you to know alllll about it. Your tax dollars at work after the jump:
As Underwood recounts in his recent e-mail evidently sent to alumni:
The Georgia General Assembly adjourned late last week. I am pleased to report that the Mercer community’s efforts to advocate for continued funding vital to our students has been successful. Under the budget approved by the General Assembly:
· The Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant (GTEG) will continue to be funded. The funding level for our students next year will be $375 per semester. This compares with a funding level of $300 for the Spring 2010 semester.
· The HOPE scholarship available to eligible students at Mercer will increase next year from $3,500 to $4,000.
· The Scholarships for Engineering Education (SEE) program will continue to be funded at a level adequate to cover all of our eligible students at the current amount of $3,500 per year.
Governor Perdue has long been a strong supporter of funding for higher education, including at Georgia’s independent colleges and universities. These budget items will not be finalized until the Governor signs the budget later this month, and we are hopeful these items will be left intact. These decisions reflect appreciation for the vital role played by independent colleges and universities in meeting the higher education needs of our state.
The Governor and members of the General Assembly were confronted with very difficult choices this session. I am grateful to the many Mercer alumni, students and parents who contacted legislators to seek their support for these programs. When you have the opportunity, please take time to thank your elected representatives for their efforts to preserve these highly cost-effective programs in the midst of challenging circumstances.
William D. Underwood
Heckeva job, Willie. Heckeva job.