Pinky Cole, owner of Slutty Vegan
Photo: Tyson Horne /
Photo: Tyson Horne /

AJC On Campus: Ga board passes budget, CAU alums aid students, ITC 2.0

Ultimately, colleges and universities need money to operate. This week, money dominated the conversation on Georgia’s college campuses. 

The state’s Board of Regents on Tuesday approved some belt tightening to the University System of Georgia’s budget at the governor’s request. A Georgia congresswoman joined an effort that would offer more federal funds to students when their school closes. Meanwhile, two graduates of an Atlanta university are using some earnings from their successful businesses to help fund the education of students at their alma mater.

Here’s the rundown of these two items and other issues in this week’s AJC On Campus:

University System of Georgia budget cuts

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s demand that state agencies review their budgets and find cuts resulted in some changes approved Tuesday by the state’s Board of Regents. Here’s our initial report on the cuts and a follow up article on the board vote.

About next year’s budget

And in the category of it’s never too early, the Board of Regents approved an initial spending plan for the budget year that starts July 1, 2020. The plan increases spending by about $75 million, to slightly above $2.6 billion. Many University System campuses have reported enrollment increases this fall, which often mean more money to operate. Another factor that’s been driving the budget in recent years is employee health care costs, which continue to rise. Kemp and the Georgia Legislature will review the system’s request as part of the entire state budget next year.

Proposed Pell Grant changes

It was a commencement ceremony for students without a school. Thirty-two former Argosy University students were honored June 8, 2019, at Church of Christ at Bouldercrest in DeKalb County for completing their coursework amid chaos. The for-profit school abruptly closed its operations nationwide in March, including in Georgia. 

The abrupt closure of Argosy University in March has resulted in numerous efforts to help students when their school shuts down. On Thursday, several members of Congress, including Georgia’s Lucy McBath, sponsored a resolution to extend Pell Grant eligibility when a school closes. Read more here.

Momemtum Year

University System of Georgia officials gave an update Tuesday on “Momentum Year,” an effort that began more than a year ago to better help first-year students. There are 54,000 incoming students this year, slightly more than the seating capacity of SunTrust Park. The system now requires all first-year students to take courses in subjects they may consider majoring in during their studies. Several students spoke about the importance of staff counseling to help them stay in school. Officials said the next steps include ideas and additional programs to assist students in finding jobs when they graduate.

Family files wrongful death lawsuit against Georgia Tech

Bill Schultz, father of Scout Schultz, listens to a question at a press conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Schultz was a 21 year-old Georgia Tech student who was shot and killed after a confrontation with police on campus on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. The family maintains that the officer who killed Schultz took excessive measures and that Schultz’ death was unnecessary. 

The family of a Georgia Tech student shot and killed by a campus police officer filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the school and the state’s Board of Regents saying the officer wasn’t properly trained and used excessive force when he encountered the student, Scout Schultz. To read more about the claims from the student’s family, click here.

Professor Bud Peterson

Georgia Institute of Technology President Bud Peterson poses for a portrait in his office on the Georgia Tech campus in Atlanta on Aug. 20, 2018. 

G.P. “Bud” Peterson recently retired as president of Georgia Tech after 10 years on the job, but he’s sticking around on campus. The state’s Board of Regents approved a plan to have him teach mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering for the next three years. 

Popular restaurant owner helps Clark Atlanta students

Slutty Vegan is one of the hottest dining experiences in town and its owner, Clark Atlanta University graduate Pinky Cole, is giving back to some students at her alma mater. Cole and CAU alumna Stacey Lee are paying the tuition balances of 30 seniors. Tuition and housing for a senior this school year can cost more than $30,000. Here’s our report

U.S. News rankings

For many college leaders and recruiters, last week was Christmas in September. They opened their emails to find out how they ranked on U.S. News & World Report’s annual lists of the nation’s best colleges and universities in categories ranging from the most innovative school to the best business school program. Several Georgia schools fared well in the rankings, some topping a few categories. Here’s our report about the rankings.

ITC 2.0

Interdenominational Theological Center interim President Matthew W. Williams directs people to sheets on the wall inside the chapel where they can write ideas about how the center can be more effective. About 120 people gathered for a day long session at the ITC on Sept. 13, 2019 to brainstorm about the center's future. 

For 60 years, the Interdenominational Theological Center has educated and trained many of Atlanta’s religious leaders. On Friday, the center held an open house to solicit ideas from area residents, visitors from other states and others about how it can better serve metro Atlanta and the west Atlanta neighborhood near the campus. It’s all part of a yearlong campaign called “ITC 2.0,” led by its interim president, Matthew W. Williams. About 120 people registered for the event, which included sessions asking for ideas about what should be the center’s mission. Williams said the next steps include developing programs needed in the community.

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