Higher education has many functions in the society among them developing human capital, developing knowledge bases and maintaining them. Higher education nurtures the skills required for research and innovation (Johnson, Oliff and Williams, 2011). For this and other reasons, higher education institutions in Georgia receive financial support from the state.
State support for higher education has been chosen as the topic for this study because education is expensive but the support of the state to institutions of higher education has been dwindling over the years. This support is necessary to reduce the cost of education. This means that an increasing number of students in Georgia are finding it hard to get higher education (Brack, 2011).
Georgia is the ideal state for this investigation because of its high poverty levels and low levels of participation in higher education for students coming from poor households compared to other states in the United States of America. Georgia is a state that has a below average income and this adversely affects the quality of education in that state. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the financial support that the state gives to institutions of higher education in Georgia.
Indicators of higher education in Georgia include the number of higher education institutions, the amount of funding available each year to support students and the average annual charges that undergraduate students pay for education. The number of institutions of higher education in Georgia is an indicator of how many students participate in higher education. Several universities and colleges exist in the state. Georgia State boasts of more than 35 higher education institutions (Johnson et al, 2011).
The proximity of these institutions to the students is a measure of accessibility to education. The charges students pay annually on average indicate how possible it is for the majority of students to get higher education. If these charges are high, then many students miss education and vice versa (Georgia State Facts and Higher Education Information, n.d.).
Another indicator is the amount of money available from the state to support students pursuing higher education. Currently, the funding of the state has gone down because in 2012, it is at its lowest since 1994. The funding of the state for higher education at present is only 54% having dropped from 75% in 1995 (Brack, 2011).
This shows that many students cannot access education. In terms of availability of higher education institutions, Georgia State has done a lot to ensure that education is accessible. However, the state has scored lowly in the area of funding because the amount of funds released has really gone down compared to other states. Based on the indicators used, the state still has along way to go in making higher education available to students.
Family income is one indicator of affordability to higher education. The higher the incomes of families in a particular state, the higher their ability to sponsor students in school. In Georgia, the poverty levels are high and therefore many families do not have the capacity to send heir children to higher education institutions.
Tuition fees payable to four year and two year universities and colleges is also an indicator. If the tuition fee is high, it means higher education is not affordable to most of the students. If the rates of tuition fees are low, then many more students can afford to get education (Johnson et al, 2011).
The amount of money released by the state annually to fund higher education also determines the affordability of higher education. Since many households are poor, they are unable to afford the charges levied. Funding from the state helps to reduce the amount of money required from the students hence making education easily affordable.
The average charges paid annually by students are also an indicator of affordability of higher education in Georgia. Since poverty levels in the state are high, the charges should be low to allow more students to afford education (Brack, 2011). High charges discourage people from pursuing higher education since they are not affordable. When charges are high they make education very expensive and unaffordable to the majority.
In conclusion, the paper has examined the indicators of accessibility and affordability of higher education in the state of Georgia. Reasons for picking on Georgia have also been given. Support is required from the state because of the importance of education to the economy and the high cost of higher education.
Accessibility to higher education in Georgia is indicated by the number of higher education institutions, the amount of funding available each year to support students and the average annual charges that undergraduate students pay for education.
Indicators of affordability include family income, tuition fees, the amount of money released by the state annually to fund higher education and the average charges paid annually by students. Georgia State has not done enough in making higher education accessible and affordable for students in the state.
Brack, E. (2011, May 5). Georgia Falling Behind Funding Higher Education. Like the Dew: Southern Culture and Politics. Like the Dew. Web.
Georgia State Facts and Higher Education Information. (n.d.). Web.
Johnson, N., Oliff, P., & Williams, E. (2011, February 9). An Update on State Budget Cuts: At least 46 States have Imposed Cuts that Hurt Vulnerable Residents and the Economy. Web.