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Georgia Will Merge Eight Colleges To Save Money

Eight colleges in Georgia will now become four, the State Board of Regents announced today. The move wil affect about 36,000 students and was proposed in an effort to save money.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the affected colleges to be merged are the "Augusta State College with Georgia Health Sciences University; Gainesville State College with North Georgia College & State University; Middle Georgia College with Macon State College; and Waycross College with South Georgia College in Douglas."

The AP reports:

"The university system began a study this fall to determine whether 35-campus system should shrink the number of institutions it runs to help cut administrative costs. Officials said it could be another year before any changes are made.

"The mergers, while not a popular idea with some, will reduce administrative costs at the institutions and help the university system recover some of the $1 billion in state funding cuts that have been made in the last four years, Huckaby has said."

The AJC reports that dozens of employees drove to Atlanta to protest the move saying it would mean job losses and hurt local economies. "Regents had little discussion, although they acknowledged that some are upset with the mergers but said budget realities forced the situation," the AJC reported.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.