GA Perimeter will be “component” of merged GA State, president says

It will be about 18 months for the University System of Georgia to go through the process of merging Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College.

The state Board of Regents approved on Tuesday a recommendation to merge the two institutions. Under the recommendation, the combined school would be called Georgia State University and be led by current Georgia State president Mark Becker.

For students there will not be much immediate impact, Becker said.

“It’s not as if things are going to change dramatically overnight,” he said. “The downtown campus will be pretty much as it is. Perimeter campuses are going to remain what you might call the access campuses.”

Ultimately in the new consolidated institution, the downtown campus will be the “flagship campus” of Georgia State University, Becker said.

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“There’s going to be greater heterogeneity of Georgia State University. Perimeter college will be a component of Georgia State. It will not be that everything that happens on the Perimeter campuses is what is going to happen downtown,” he said.

“We do not at this point intend to bring associates degrees downtown. We intend to keep the associates degrees on what would be considered satellite campuses, the campuses of perimeter college of Georgia state.”

The merger is notable for it size: the new institution would be the largest in the state at about 54,000 students. It is also notable for combining Georgia State, a four-year research institution with Georgia Perimeter, a mostly two-year college with broad access.

The full impact on students, staffing and tuition costs is not yet known. An implementation team will work throughout the year on those issues, with an expected report due January 2016. The consolidation plan must ultimately be approved by accreditors and finalized by the Board of Regents.

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