Regents approve new rules for Georgia colleges

The State Board of Regents formally approved a plan Wednesday to clearly spell out what types of degrees each of its 31 colleges should offer and how heavily they should focus on research versus teaching.

The unanimous vote represents the first time in almost two decades the University System of Georgia has changed its policy regarding the function and mission of each of its schools.

The action seeks to avoid the unnecessary duplication of programs within the system, which just a few years ago came under criticism from lawmakers and others for expanding academic programs during the recession while other state agencies had to cut millions from their budgets.

Regents also approved Wednesday a new, five-year strategic plan designed to emphasize the state’s push to increase how many college graduates it produces.

All the changes go into effect immediately.

Among the most notable, metro Atlanta’s Kennesaw State University and the University of West Georgia in Carrollton are now considered among the state’s four comprehensive universities — with a focus on undergraduate and master’s level courses and some doctoral programs.

It is a bump up in prestige for both institutions and second only to the state’s top research category.

The system’s four premier research institutions remain unchanged: Georgia Tech, Georgia State, the University of Georgia and Georgia Regents University, which houses the system’s public medical college.

But the system has regrouped its lower-tiered, more local universities and colleges by the programs they emphasize and the type of students they would enroll, such as those interested in two-year degrees versus four-year programs.

More information can be found on the University System's website: