Merging eight of Georgia's public colleges will likely involve layoffs, the elimination of some academic programs, and name changes at the long established institutions. And at least one campus president will lose his title once his campus merges with another college.
College campuses around the state have been on edge for months and [Thursday], state university system officials released their list of state colleges and universities they plan to consolidate to save money. Campuses could lose faculty and staff and students could be forced to pick up their books and study in new, farther off locations. The state Board of Regents has the final say over the proposed merger list.
The state Senate's Higher Education Commitee chairman says, he's been assured, there won't be any mergers of Georgia's historically black universities. Savannah-area State Senator Buddy Carter says, that word comes from University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby. Carter says, Huckaby told him, historically-black schools won't be on a coming list of colleges to be merged amid legislative cost-cutting.
College boosters looking for clues as to what state universities could be merged got little help in a recently adopted set of principles. The Board of Regents approved guidelines for merging public colleges and universities to save money and improve education. Savannah and Armstrong Atlantic State Universities are perennial merger targets because they are close together.
The University System of Georgia could announce as early as Dec. 1 which colleges and programs are top candidates for consolidation. Chancellor Hank Huckaby says in the next ten days, he will release the criteria guiding the recommendations.
University System of Georgia Chancellor Henry "Hank" Huckaby says he's "cautiously optimistic" that the state's 35 public colleges and universities will get full funding next fiscal year. That could mean lower tuition increases for students and an infusion of about $100 million for cash-strapped campuses that have been cut by more than $1 billion since the economy tanked.
Georgia State University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby is urging campuses "not to panic" as he studies possible campus mergers. Huckaby this month said, he'd be reviewing consolidations as a way to cut down on school expenses. This week he's visiting two schools long-considered prime merger candidates, Savannah State and Armstrong Atlantic State Universities.
Republican Chuck Williams and Democrat Dan Matthews will meet in a runoff for an open seat in the state House of Representatives. Williams, an Oconee County tree farmer and former banker, led the field of four candidates in a special election Tuesday with 39 percent of the 3,920 votes cast for the northeast Georgia seat.
The Board of Regents appointed Republican Hank Huckaby the university system's new chancellor on Friday. After the unanimous vote to name him, Chancellor-elect Huckaby gave an explanation for the recurrent increases in tuition over the past several years.
Gov. Nathan Deal has set a June 21 special election to replace state Rep. Hank Huckaby. The Republican resigned his seat when he became the lone finalist to take over as chancellor of the University System of Georgia. A Georgia native, Huckaby retired in 2006 as the senior vice president for finance and administration at the University of Georgia.