James Sears, Staff Writer
Kennesaw State University’s consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University
(SPSU) has been approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) during its annual meeting in Nashville on Tuesday Dec. 9.
SACS is the accrediting body for institutions in the American Southern states and Latin America. With SACS’s approval, the Board of Regents from the University System of Georgia (USG) will address the consolidation during its meeting on Jan. 6, 2015. KSU and SPSU will officially begin to consolidate in fall 2015.
The consolidation will make KSU one of the 50 largest public universities in the United States, and KSU will have an economic impact of $1.2 billion, President Daniel S. Papp said in a press release.
KSU is currently the third-largest institution in the USG with nearly 26,000 students enrolled as of fall 2014. KSU’s press release announced that the consolidation is expected to boost KSU’s student body to more than 32,000 students.
The newly consolidated university will be made up of 13 colleges: architecture and construction management, arts, business, computing and software engineering, continuing and professional education, education, engineering and engineering technology, graduate studies, health and human services, honors college, humanities and social sciences, science and mathematics, and the university college.
The consolidation was previously approved by the USG Board of Regents in Nov. 2013.
Some KSU students are positive about the consolidation because of the more degree options that will be available to students.
“I think having a bunch of different options for degrees will be good for certain students,” said junior modern language and culture major Madison Goodwin.
However, the initial reaction to the consolidation was controversial, especially among SPSU students. Some KSU students sympathize with them.
“I don’t think a lot of the KSU students will be affected as much as the Southern Poly
students,” said junior journalism major AJ Scelzi. “I have a lot of friends at Southern Poly and they seem to be a little agitated with it.” Some concerns included higher tuition rates and whether SPSU’s programs would be transferable to KSU.
“I have a few friends that go to SPSU,” said junior history major Audrey Gijlstra. “They find that KSU is typically more expensive … I also heard they’re worried about their programs not being transferrable.”
Current SPSU student Michael Miller said his initial issues with the consolidation concerned whether KSU would retain engineering accreditation.
“The only issue I ever had with the consolidation was the chance that KSU wouldn’t retain the engineering accreditation,” Miller said. “However, it turns out that won’t be the case, so I have no issues with the merger.”
According to the KSU/SPSU consolidation website, www.ksuspsuconsolidation.com, university administrators will make any effort to adhere to students’ current major requirements and that “institutions will be given leeway to matriculate students already enrolled in specific academic programs.” The website also reports that tuition prices will be determined by the USG Board of Regents.