The board that governs Georgia’s public colleges voted Wednesday to expand Georgia Southern University in Statesboro by merging it with Armstrong State University in Savannah. Both campuses would remain open under the Georgia Southern name, with a combined enrollment of about 27,000 students.
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton will also be consolidated with Bainbridge State College. Both campuses will use the Abraham Baldwin name. They have nearly 6,000 students total.
The changes are expected to take effect in fall 2018 at the earliest.
The mergers mark a new round of consolidations approved by the board since 2012, indicating that mergers have become a popular strategy in the state to save money and share resources.
In a news release, Steve Wrigley, the system’s chancellor, said that the latest mergers would allow the system to “reinvest savings into academics to improve student success.”
WALB News reports that some students and professors at Armstrong State felt as if the proposals had come out of nowhere. “It would have been nice to have a little more heads-up that this was happening,” said Tony Morris, a professor.
We will see more mergers and consolidations of public colleges and universities in the years ahead as state governments continue to reduce their financial support of public higher education.