Regional accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, approved this week the consolidation plan Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.
With accreditation approval in place, the board of regents for the University System of Georgia is expected to review final recommendations for the consolidation at its January meeting.
The merged institution will be known as Kennesaw State University and will be led by current KSU president Dan Papp. The first class of students is expected to begin the consolidated school in fall 2015.
“Our consolidation of institutions has been about serving our students better by expanding access, broadening programs and reinvesting resources for the benefit of our students,” said University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby in a statement. “As with past consolidations, our goal with the new Kennesaw State University is to continue to broaden opportunities for more students and to do so more efficiently.
The consolidation, announced in November 2013, is the fifth merger of colleges within the state’s university system, and once completed, will reduce the number of USG schools from 31 to 30.
Huckaby first suggested mergers in September 2011, just a few months after he took over as chancellor, as part of a large-scale plan to force the system to confront economic realities. There are no other consolidations planned for the university system right now, Huckably told the AJC earlier this week.
When announced, some SPSU students and alumni protested the consolidation out of fear that the polytechnic college would lose its identity and the merger would hurt the school’s reputation and increase class sizes.
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