Georgia State University, Georgia Perimeter merger in the works

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby plans to recommend consolidation of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College, sources close to the matter have confirmed.

The recommendation will come Tuesday during the first meeting of the year for the Board of Regents, the University System’s governing body. System officials confirmed there will be an item on the agenda regarding the future of the two institutions, but declined to comment further.

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.

Officials from both institutions declined comment when contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

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 fifth and most recent merger, Kennesaw State University with Southern Polytechnic State University, was approved by regional accreditors earlier this month.

It is unclear what impact the recommended consolidation could have on students, degree programs or tuition costs. Other USG consolidations have taken as much as 18 months to work out those complex details.

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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