In order to curb expenses, some of the units of the Georgia Technical College system have been merging. Georgia Northwestern Technical College was the product of one of those mergers. Now, new University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby is talking about the possibility of some of the 35 university system institutions merging:
The idea of merging some of the smaller Georgia colleges into larger campuses has been talked about off and on over the years but never has gone past the discussion stages. The staff, students and parents from the affected schools and their representatives in the General Assembly pose the most likely obstacles to consolidation plans becoming reality.
“I know this will be somewhat controversial to many,” Huckaby told members of the system’s Board of Regents. “I would urge campuses and communities around the state not to panic. We will be deliberate and objective about our work, and this board will have substantial input and every opportunity to discuss final recommendations.”
Huckaby emphasized that no specific schools have been identified for consolidation at this point.
“There is no list,” he said.
What if there was a merger of UGA and Georgia Tech? Oh, heads would explode then…
Allow your speculation to run wild on what schools will merge.
It doesn’t seem that way seeing that spending increased from $5.4 billion in 2007 to a projected $7 billion for this year according to the AJC.
Spending has gone from
$5.4 billion in 2007 to a projected $7 billion this year, as colleges built expensive buildings, hired high-priced administrators, bought top-of-the-line technology, added football teams and dozens of new academic programs and even bought a golf course.
To help pay the rising costs, the system raised tuition and fees. Tuition at the University of Georgia has increased by 50 percent since 2008, and student fees have increased 87 percent.
System officials say growing enrollment and cuts in state funding are to blame for students paying hundreds or thousands of dollars more annually.
State lawmakers consider funding higher education a top priority, regularly borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars for construction projects on top of the more than $1.7 billion in taxpayer funding the state provides colleges.
But they have grown frustrated in recent years, arguing that the system isn’t sharing enough in spending cutbacks.
As other departments in state government are cutting into their spending, the USG appears to be spending more. It’s good that our USG and legislature views quality post-secondary education as a priority, but with our lagging economy and state budget, shouldn’t the USG be putting additional scrutiny on expenditures? Especially when they’re shifting more of the burden to the students and parents paying the additional tuition and student fees. Certainly something the new chancellor will have to tangle with as well as the legislature.
If you haven’t heard by now, sitting University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis is retiring effective June 30 of this year.
Jim Galloway is reporting that Governor Deal has found his replacement: Rep. Hank Huckaby (R – Watkinsville) will be replacing Chancellor Davis.
Rumor has it that Rep. Huckaby was approached by Governor Deal and Speaker Ralston to be the candidate as someone who could mend fences between the legislature and Board of Regents. He was asked to put his name into the hat , and apparently the Regents were convinced to let him be the new chancellor. There will be a special election called to fill Rep. Huckaby’s soon-to-be vacated 113th District seat. Rumor also has it that Bob Smith will be seeking to fill the 113th District House seat.
Congratulations to Rep. Huckaby. I hope that he can continue to move the university system forward and build a better relationship between them and the legislature and governor.
The soon retiring University System Chancellor Erroll Davis spoke to state legislators last Monday urging them to continue their investment (read: big sack o’ money) to the University System of Georgia. I am a product of one of those institutions. I appreciate my college education and the opportunities it has brought. I believe that a college and other forms of education is important, but are we perpetuating the myth that you can’t get anywhere without that 4 year piece of paper? Is possibly playing into our budget crunch?