In a letter to state legislators, University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll Davis outlined the impact the proposed cuts totaling $300 million would have on the system's 35 institutions.
The University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Clayton State, Southern Polytechnic, Dalton State, Georgia Gwinnett, Macon State and others would have to cap or roll back enrollment. For example, the University of Georgia would admit 500 fewer freshmen and accept 1,000 fewer transfer students, and Georgia Tech would reduce freshmen admissions by 20 percent and eliminate most undergraduate transfers.
There would be approximately 4,000 additional layoffs across the University System, including 1,418 at UGA, 452 at Georgia Tech, 622 at Georgia State, 63 at the Medical College of Georgia, 207 at Georgia Southern, 52 at Augusta State, 44 at Columbus State, 18 at Georgia Southwestern, 224 at Kennesaw, 45 at Southern Poly, 142 at West Georgia, and 50 at Georgia Perimeter College, to name a few institutions.
Some of our institutions would need to lay off tenured professors. This would require a declaration of financial exigency by the Board of Regents, somewhat equivalent to a declaration of bankruptcy in the business sector. Higher education remains a reputation-driven industry. A declaration of financial exigency would damage the reputation of our institutions nationally and would affect the ability of UGA, Tech, Georgia State, MCG, Georgia Southern, Valdosta State, Kennesaw State, West Georgia, Columbus State, among others, to attract the best academic talent for many years to come.
The reduction in faculty and staff would dramatically decrease the number of course sections being offered and lead both to fewer graduates and to a longer time to graduate for those presently enrolled. An inability to graduate owning to course shortages will make it difficult for students to improve their financial situations and support their families.
Some branch campuses, satellite locations, or off-campus centers will be scaled back, closed or not opened, including those in Griffin, Brookhaven, Moultrie, Liberty County, Dalton, Douglasville, Paulding County, Kings Bay and Peachtree City. This will particularly affect working adults who wish to return to school, since most cannot relocate for college.
Several dozen academic programs will be eliminated, including a number of high-cost programs, such as nursing and dental hygiene at some institutions. Decreasing the number of students in critical programs endangers communities in need of those professionals.
Service outreach to business and local communities would be significantly reduces. For example, UGA would have to eliminate 4-H programs and close half of the county extension offices, and Georgia Tech could lose research funding of $60 to $100 million and would close four regional offices. Several institutions would close their continuing education departments.