Bill proposes Georgia merge three HBCUs struggling to meet enrollment goals

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By: Iyani Hughes | WGCL CBS Atlanta
June 28, 2019

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- The legacy for three of Georgia's 10 historically black colleges and universities may be on the line.

A Georgia lawmaker is proposing to merge Savannah State, Albany State and Ft. Valley State Universities into one powerhouse HBCU called Georgia A&M University. It would operate separately from the University System of Georgia.

Senator Lester Jackson, who sponsored the bill, argues benefits of the new system, such as providing access to more resources and hopefully encourage better student enrollment.

This proposal has caused community push back throughout the state, some saying the legacies and lessons from each HBCU will be lost. A recent Savannah State Graduate told CBS46's Iyani Hughes she doesn't see it that was at all.

"I believe the merge of the HBCU's is a win for all three Universities. Being a graduate of Savannah State University, I have seen the growth and decline over the years and maybe this merge will help," said graduate Aybriel Beckham.

The original proposal, Senate Bill 273, was withdrawn earlier this year, then Senate Bill 278, and now the merger falls under Senate Bill 270.

While this version of the controversial bill did not make it through the 2019 session, it is expected to be reintroduced in January 2020.