What’s new at metro Atlanta’s college campuses?

The fall semester will begin Monday for many Atlanta area colleges and universities, and with it comes changes at some campuses, including new presidents, facilities and academic programs.

State leaders earlier this year increased funding for its colleges to about $3 billion, as enrollment increased for both public higher education systems last year. Tuition also increased this school year for the Technical College System of Georgia and the University System of Georgia.

There were about 500,000 students in Georgia’s public and private schools last year.

Here’s a breakdown of what’s new on campus at some of its four-year schools.

Agnes Scott College

Start date: Aug. 28 

The Decatur liberal arts, all women’s college is going tech this fall. It will offer an interdisciplinary minor in the foundations of artificial intelligence. Agnes Scott will also have graduate programs in data visualization, applied technology and social innovation.

Atlanta Metropolitan State College

Start date: Aug. 19

The school is now offering a concentration through its business administration bachelor’s degree program in FinTech, through the University System of Georgia and Georgia State University.

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FinTech, or financial technology, is a popular industry among educators. The University System last year started a hub at Georgia State University's Robinson College of Business for all of its schools to learn and train more students for careers in the financial technology industry, saying there's a labor gap in the state.

Clark Atlanta University

Start date: Aug. 21 

Georgia's largest private historically black school hired a new president, George T. French Jr., who starts on Sept. 1. French has been president of Miles College, a historically black liberal arts college, located in Fairfield, Alabama since 2006.

Clayton State University

Start date: Aug. 12 

Its College of Arts & Sciences is launching a bachelor’s degree in elementary education to increase the number of early childhood education teachers in Georgia. The new degree joins programs in middle grades and secondary education that make up its newly-named School of Education. Clayton State is starting an online master’s degree in public administration and offering two new study abroad programs next spring in Costa Rica and Greece.

Emory University

Start date: Aug. 28 (except for law and full-time MBA students)

New and returning students will see a new student center on its Atlanta campus, which was completed just before its spring commencement in May. The center includes 10 dining stations and a gaming lounge. There will be several new faces in major leadership positions. Mary Anne Bobinski is the first female dean of the law school. The Rev. Gregory McGonigle is chaplain and dean of spiritual and religious life. Carol Henderson is Emory's first chief diversity officer. Enku Gelaye is the vice president and dean of campus life.

Georgia Gwinnett College

Start date: Aug. 14 

Jann Joseph, hired in April to be the college's new president, has begun her first fall semester at the school. She was previously the interim chancellor for Indiana University South Bend. The college has added a new bachelor's degree program: middle grades education. It's added a minor in African American studies.

Georgia State University



Start date: Aug. 26

Music superstar and actor Ludacris will be the subject of a law class focusing on his business contracts. Two residence halls are scheduled to open; one near Georgia State Stadium and the other near downtown Atlanta.

Georgia Tech

Start date: Aug. 19

There will be a lot of new faces in leadership on the Midtown Atlanta campus this fall. Alumnus Ángel Cabrera will take the reins as president on Sept. 1, replacing G.P. "Bud" Peterson. There's a new football coach, Geoff Collins; a new women's basketball coach, Nell Fortner; a new research institute director, James J. Hudgens; and alumni association president, Dene Sheheane. Georgia Tech has also started work on its campus center project and completed Coda, which will be Georgia Tech's headquarters for research involving data analytics and house several start-up businesses.

Kennesaw State University

Start date: Aug. 19 

University officials hope to have resolved one frequent complaint of all college students, slooooow internet service, by making upgrades to its high-speed Wi-Fi in its residential communities on both campuses. KSU has made some cosmetic upgrades to residence halls on both campuses. The university has added 300 parking spaces to the Marietta campus. Also, KSU has started a new brand campaign called “Find Your Wings” that it believes reflects the university’s mission and values.

Mercer University

Start date: Aug. 19 Atlanta campus

The university is breaking ground this semester on a $28 million, 170,000-square-foot mixed-use development that will include 124 apartments, a new campus bookstore, university offices, restaurants and other retail establishments on its Atlanta campus. In January, Mercer will start construction of a 65,000-square-foot building for Mercer’s pharmacy and health sciences programs. That project is estimated to cost $37 million.

Morehouse College

Start date: Aug. 21 

Credit: Dia Dipasupil

Credit: Dia Dipasupil

The liberal arts, historically black college is starting a fundraising and research initiative on student loan debt, it’s launching an online program in six courses and is starting the Morehouse Center for Educational Studies, which will train students to become leaders in public and private schools. Morehouse has also scheduled its first Human Rights Film Festival in October. Oscar winner Spike Lee, a 1979 alumnus, will earn a lifetime achievement award for his work.

Morehouse School of Medicine

Start date: July 1 

The school is scheduled to announce plans to open a campus in Columbus. The campus will focus on serving underserved, rural communities in South Georgia. The AJC reported last year that 64 of the state's 159 counties, primarily in rural parts of the state, have no pediatrician and nine Georgia counties have no doctor.

Morris Brown College

Start date: Aug. 21 

The college has stepped up its efforts to regain its accreditation in recent months and will send an application this fall to the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Morris Brown recently became a "correspondence school," which means the college has been officially approved to start the process to become accredited, according to a college spokeswoman. Schools without accreditation have greater difficulty getting their degrees recognized by other colleges and universities.

University of North Georgia

Start date: Aug. 19 

Students should be prepared for a lot of construction noise at the school this fall. Work will start on the building for its new standalone campus in Blue Ridge, which is scheduled to open by the fall 2020 semester. The campus is located off Ga. 515, about three miles from the current Blue Ridge campus. UNG is set to begin work on a new observatory near the Dahlonega campus. Construction is scheduled by September on a health clinic on the Gainesville campus. The clinic is scheduled to open by January.

Oglethorpe University

Start date: Aug. 19 

The 2019-20 school year is one of beginnings and endings at Oglethorpe. The university will start the Q. William Hammack School of Business, bankrolled by a $50 million gift commitment from alumnus Bill Hammack. Its I.W. "Ike" Cousins Center for Science and Innovation is now officially open. The 45,000 square foot glass and granite, building features separate labs for biology, chemistry, physics and ecology, as well as learning spaces for the Hammack School of Business in collaboration with Porsche Cars, N.A. and Global Payments. Oglethorpe's president, Larry Schall, is leaving at the end of the school year after 15 years on the job.

Savannah College of Art & Design

Start date: Sept. 9 Atlanta campus

Its new residence hall, called “FORTY,” is scheduled to open this fall with 14 floors and room for 596 students as well as gallery and event space.

Spelman College

Credit: Gediyon-Kifle

Credit: Gediyon-Kifle

Start date: Aug. 21

Cheryl Finley, has been hired as the inaugural director of the Atlanta University Center Collective for the Study of Art History and Curatorial Studies. It is the only program in the nation specifically designed to train visual arts professionals of color.

University of Georgia

Start date: Aug. 14 

The state’s flagship university is welcoming new faculty to teach courses in data literacy and intensive writing. In addition, faculty committees are in the process of finalizing proposals to make data literacy a part of the curriculum and to further emphasize writing and communication. There’s a new provost on campus, Jack Hu. He was previously the vice president of research at the University of Michigan.