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Does merging Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter make sense for GSU?

I am hearing from folks concerned about the proposed merger of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College.

Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby is expected to recommend the merger to the Board of Regents Tuesday.

Is it a win in any way for GSU, a research university that has grown in prestige and enrollment, to absorb a two-year school with essentially open admissions?

I understand the economic advantages for the Regents and state. I don’t see the academic ones for GSU.

According to the AJC’s higher ed reporter Janel Davis:

The consolidation would make the new institution the largest within the state’s system of public colleges and universities with almost 54,000 students. The move would also be notable for its joining of Georgia State, a four-year research institution with Georgia Perimeter, a two-year access institution.

The merger will be the sixth consolidation within the past two years of schools within the state’s system of public colleges and universities.

System Chancellor Hank Huckaby first suggested mergers in September 2011, a few months after he took over as chancellor, as part of a large-scale plan to deal with declining state revenues. The plan first went into effect early last year, when the state Board of Regents agreed to merge eight institutions into four new ones, which shrank the system from 35 to 31 colleges.

The Georgia State/Georgia Perimeter merger announcement comes as Georgia State looks to expand its footprint in downtown Atlanta with redevelopment of Turner Field and the surrounding area into a 30,000-seat sport stadium and mixed-use retail and residential development.


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Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.