The Arch on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens

ATLANTA – The University System of Georgia is pushing back on a $66 million cut to its fiscal 2024 budget the General Assembly approved on the last day of this year’s legislative session.

Lawmakers signed off on the reduction Wednesday after House and Senate budget conferees shrank the cut from a $113 million reduction from the system’s teaching formula in the version of the spending plan the Senate adopted last week.

“This is an incredibly disappointing outcome, given the work done over the years by our state leaders to elevate higher education and send Georgia on a path to ascension,” system Chancellor Sonny Perdue said Thursday. “It will have a significant impact on institutions and the services that students and families depend on to advance their prosperity and help Georgia succeed.”

Perdue said the cut comes on top of a reduction of about $230 million the system sustained at the beginning of the pandemic three years ago, funds that have never been restored. The system also was already due to receive a $71.6 million reduction for the coming fiscal year before the $66 million cut because of enrollment declines.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery cited that declining enrollment as justification for the cut. Tillery, R-Vidalia, suggested the system could offset the reduction by dipping into carry-over funds not spent this year. The system had $504 million in carry over funds on its books, according to an audit released last fall.

Tillery said the system’s Board of Regents has the flexibility under the Georgia Constitution to make sure the reduction is allocated in a way that won’t disproportionately affect the system’s smaller institutions. The money comes to the system in the form of a block grant, which the regents can spread around as they see fit, he said.

But Perdue said carry-forward funds are earned and retained at the individual institution, so the system does not have the ability to move the money from one institution to another. Eighty-two percent of those funds are concentrated at only six schools – including the system’s four research institutions: Augusta University, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, he said.

The University of Georgia would absorb the largest cut – $11.9 million – followed closely by an $11.3 million reduction at Georgia Tech, according to figures the university system released Thursday.

Gov. Brian Kemp has 40 calendar days from the end of the legislative session to sign the budget, giving him in this case until May 8.

Below is a list of the reductions each of the university system’s 26 institutions would sustain:

Institution$66 Million Cut
Augusta University($6,845,000)
Georgia Institute of Technology($11,287,000)
Georgia State University($8,333,000)
University of Georgia($11,935,000)
Georgia Southern University($3,879,000)
Kennesaw State University($5,653,000)
University of West Georgia($2,020,000)
Valdosta State University($1,634,000)
Albany State University($832,000)
Clayton State University($860,000)
Columbus State University($1,233,000)
Fort Valley State University($673,000)
Georgia College & State University($1,180,000)
Georgia Southwestern State University($458,000)
Middle Georgia State University($1,249,000)
Savannah State University($564,000)
University of North Georgia($2,542,000)
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College($566,000)
Atlanta Metropolitan State College($208,000)
College of Coastal Georgia($464,000)
Dalton State College($488,000)
East Georgia State College($246,000)
Georgia Gwinnett College($1,625,000)
Georgia Highlands College($590,000)
Gordon State College($335,000)
South Georgia State College($301,000)
USG Total($66,000,000)