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University System of Georgia considers mergers

— According to a USG document, in a key step to merging some campuses, the University System of Georgia will consider how close colleges are to one another, whether they're duplicating academic programs and other factors.

It’s too soon to know which of the 35 colleges will merge, and the guidelines do not include a list of candidates.

The mergers have the potential to save taxpayers millions while affecting thousands of students across the state. The move also will set off a firestorm as alumni, students, politicians and community members fight against changes that threaten their campuses.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby said he expects to have three or four recommendations before the state Board of Regents this winter.

Officials drafted six "consolidation principles" to guide the process. Any merger should make the system more cost-effective, improve graduation rates and provide more access statewide to quality programs, according to the proposal obtained by the AJC through an open records request. The regents are expected to discuss these guidelines during next week's meeting.

A state senator set people off three years ago when he suggested the system merge Armstrong Atlantic State and Savannah State, both in Savannah, and Albany State and Darton College, both in Albany, to save money. The idea was shot down by local politicians, alumni and supporters of historically black colleges, which include Savannah State and Albany State.

Lawmakers who have criticized the system's spending cheered Huckaby's consolidation efforts and other cost-saving steps. They encouraged the system to follow the Technical College System of Georgia, which went from 33 colleges to 25 to save about $7.5 million a year.

Consolidation principles

The University System of Georgia developed six principles to consider as it discusses consolidating campuses. Each principle will be considered equally. The draft proposal says the principles are:

  • Increase opportunities to raise education attainment levels. Enhancing opportunities for students to raise their education attainment levels will be a goal.
  • Improve accessibility, regional identity and compatibility. Geographic proximity, transportation corridors, student backgrounds, ensuring as much as possible a cultural fit and other factors which strengthen the qualitative aspects of campus offerings will be considered.
  • Avoid duplication of academic programs while optimizing access to instruction. Consideration will be given to demand for degrees, program overlaps and duplication, and optimal institutional enrollment characteristics sufficient to offer and support the needed array of services.
  • Create significant potential for economies of scale and scope. Consideration will be given to the potential for achieving cost efficiency in service delivery, degree offerings and enrollment.
  • Enhance regional economic development. Consideration will be given to consolidations with the potential to improve economic development through enhanced degree programs, community partnerships and improved student completion.
  • Streamline administrative services while maintaining or improving service level and quality. Potential for administrative efficiencies and savings which yield more effective service will be considered. In additional, functional consolidations on a regional basis will be analyzed.

Source: University System of Georgia

Comments

TrixibelleBento 3 years ago

Hmmmmm, veerrrry interesting.

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supersquawker 3 years ago

If you think folks got excited about awarding 38 non-degrees, what do think will happen when ASU gets absorbed into Darton? WooooWeeee!!!

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JustAnotherVoice 3 years ago

"Avoid duplication of academic programs while optimizing access to instruction. Consideration will be given to demand for degrees, program overlaps and duplication, and optimal institutional enrollment characteristics sufficient to offer and support the needed array of services."

oh man, don't you know the higher ups at ASU are squirmin'

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JustAnotherVoice 3 years ago

"A state senator set people off three years ago when he suggested the system merge Armstrong Atlantic State and Savannah State, both in Savannah, and Albany State and Darton College, both in Albany, to save money. The idea was shot down by local politicians, alumni and supporters of historically black colleges, which include Savannah State and Albany State."

Yep, because down South only HBCs can be racists.

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