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Monday, August 6, 2012 - 11:23am

Regents Weigh Budget Request

The Georgia Board of Regents will consider the names for two merged universities and its budget request for next year at two days of meetings starting Tuesday.

Gov. Nathan Deal has directed state agencies to plan for 3 percent reductions for next fiscal year and for the second half of the budget that began last month. That will include cuts at the 35 state colleges and universities.

The board has sent schools instructions about how prioritize their cuts, said spokesman John Millsaps.

“The key thing that was noted in those instructions was to protect the core academic mission, protect the institution’s highest priorities, look at what might be more low priorities or nonacademic missions and try to target those in terms of your cost savings,” Millsaps said.

He said the university system is developing reduction targets for each school, but those will not be ready until the board meets.

Overall, the board is considering asking for a $99 million increase for the budget that begins next summer, mainly to fund enrollment growth. Most of that number comes from a state funding formula for universities, but it is not guaranteed.

The board will also decide the names for two merged colleges. A university committee submitted Georgia Regents University as the new name for the combination of Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University. Likewise, the merged South Georgia College and Waycross College have suggested the new moniker South Georgia State College.

Millsaps said the board decided in April on the University of North Georgia and Middle Georgia State College as names for two other merged schools.

“The board in one case ended up going with one of the recommendations that had been made from the campus community," he said. "In the other case, they actually came up with a different name within the board themselves that they eventually approved.”

Last fall, the Board of Regents approved merging eight schools into four to make them more effective.

Click here to read the entire agenda for the Tuesday and Wednesday Board of Regents meeting.