Georgia HBCU set to merge with PWI
In less than stunning news, the Georgia Board of Regents has decided to merge Historically Black College (HBCU) Albany State University with Predominately White Institution (PWI) Darton State College.
The new school will boast close to 9,000 students and will retain the name Albany State University.
While the move to combine two state colleges isn’t shocking, it did take some by surprise that the board decided to merge an HBCU and a PWI. In recent years we’ve seen HBCUs merging in order to keep their cultures in tact, but not shutter their doors, but the move in Georgia doesn’t follow that path.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the move was partially made because of declining enrollment at both institutions.
“Both schools have faced enrollment declines in recent years. Albany State’s enrollment has dropped 25 percent in five years; Darton has seen a 14 percent enrollment decline since its peak in 2012.”
The Journal also reports that the school will become Southwest Georgia’s largest college.
Even without the declining enrollment figures, some have concerns that Albany State will lose its culture and identity by merging with a PWI. Hank Huckaby, chancellor of University system of Georgia, says that Albany State’s history and culture will not be compromised due to the merger (but he didn’t really give specifics on how that will happen).
This announcement is not the first on mergers in the state.
A merger between Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State universities was finalized earlier this year. The largest merger between Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College is in the works now.
I have mixed feelings about this particular merger. On one hand, it’s a way to keep both universities going and not leave students with no options. It does feel like the identity of Albany State will somehow get a little lost – but I suppose time will tell.