ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia's lawmakers were urged on Wednesday to soften the blows to the colleges and universities amid the worst state budget crisis in decades.

University system Chancellor Erroll B. Davis was grilled for two hours during the joint Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing. Earlier this week, the system released a plan that included hiking tuition, closing satellite campuses, shortening library and student center hours and capping enrollment. Lawmakers have asked the state Board of Regents to plan for $300 million in additional cuts - on top of the $265 million in cuts already in the works for the next fiscal year.

Davis said that although tuition increases and cuts will likely be unavoidable, the quality of public education in the state is at stake.

College students from various campuses are expected to be at the Gold Dome later Wednesday to protest the cuts.

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