Huckaby wants to consolidate Darton, Albany State

[private]University System Chancellor Hank Huckaby will ask the Board of Regents to consolidate two small colleges in Albany with declining enrollments: Albany State University and Darton State College.

Huckaby disclosed the plan to merge the two colleges in a Friday afternoon news release.

If the Regents accepts the recommendation to merge the two colleges, the new entity would be named Albany State University.

The two institutions have a combined enrollment of less than 9,000 students and both have seen their enrollment decline in recent years. Albany State had the steepest decline of any University System entity this fall with an enrollment decrease of 10.7 percent.

Albany State has also had internal administrative problems. A recent internal audit of the financial aid office uncovered financial irregularities that resulted in the improper award of more than $470,000 in financial aid to at least four students.

The University System said the consolidation is being proposed to “increase educational attainment levels, student success and transform how the University System impacts southwest Georgia.”

“We are committed to the long-term health of public higher education in southwest Georgia and our partnership with the Albany community,” Huckaby said.

Huckaby is recommending that Art Dunning, Albany State’s interim president, be named the permanent president of the consolidated university. He will also ask the Regents to name Paul Jones, currently the interim president of Darton State, as the president of Fort Valley State University.

Albany State is a historically black university founded in 1903 with a current enrollment of about 3,500 students. Darton State was founded as Albany Junior College in 1963 but is now a four-year college with an enrollment of just under 5,500 students.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Albany State , Darton State , Hank Huckaby , University System