Georgia Highlands College

Facts and Rumors

Rumors about the severe budget cuts requested by the chairmen of the higher education appropriations committee of the Georgia General Assembly have been swirling a bit out of control since the list of worst-case scenario cuts was first announced Monday, March 1. The additional $300 million in cuts ($2.42 million for GHC) added to the $265 million ($1.6 million for GHC) the USG had already planned for in the 2011 budget was demanded by Sen. Seth Harp and Rep. Earl Ehrhart. The exercise, undertaken by all USG institutional presidents, was just that. An exercise. Most of the people close to politics in Atlanta are not expecting another cut of this magnitude. Even Governor Perdue held a news conference to declare that the University System would not be decimated in this way, and that he would preserve the educational system.

What can you expect?

Probably higher tuition. Possibly the loss of a program or sections. Here at GHC, the dental hygiene program is one of the programs at risk, but it nevertheless is an important part of our health sciences offerings as well as our service to the community. Still, it isn't certain to go. AND NOTHING ELSE IS WRITTEN IN STONE, EITHER. While the closing of the Paulding and Douglasville sites appeared on GHC's list, we plan to fight to keep them both. In fact, we will fight the elimination of any of our critical programs.

We probably won't know what the final budget will be until April. Then we'll have real information, not just speculation, which is all we have at the moment.

Below are some rumors that have made their way back to GHC. Here are the truthful answers to them:

  • Are all campus locations but Floyd closing? Heavens no! Cartersville is the location with the most students, so we certainly wouldn't close that. Marietta is also definitely not going to close. Paulding and Douglasville would close only if the budget is reduced by a substantial amount.
  • You're not accepting any applications for fall 2010? Wrong. We are accepting applications for all sites for summer and fall. Don't let rumors and innuendo stop you from registering.
  • The GHC nursing program is closing down. As one of the flagship programs of this institution, we would never terminate the nursing program. Under the most severe cuts we would eliminate 30 spots for students, but the program - which is well known and respected in the medical community - will continue.
  • Will the Accelerated Transfer Program return if Douglasville shuts down? We have no plans to resurrect the ATP at West Georgia.
  • Cartersville operations are ceasing. Please read the first bullet. Just. Isn't. Going. To. Happen.
  • There will no longer be a HOPE scholarship. That would be devastating indeed, but it's unfounded. Here's the real truth: HOPE is funded by the state lottery, not the state budget, and there is a large reserve set aside by the lottery for the scholarship program. That being said, there are two factors that might reduce the amount granted for HOPE scholarships. First of all, lottery funds have dwindled, probably because fewer people are buying lottery tickets in this recession. Secondly, many more students have qualified and applied for HOPE scholarships. To assure that HOPE remains, what and how much is funded by HOPE could change. We should know about that within the next few months.

Please forward any rumors you hear to ddavis@highlands.edu so that we may answer them truthfully.



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