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The original proposal, Senate Bill 273, was withdrawn earlier this year, then Senate Bill 278, and now the merger falls under Senate Bill 270.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

If you are an HBCU student or alum, we want to hear from you. Is Georgia A&M University an overall benefit for the HBCU community or is it a loss?

Copyright 2019 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(5) comments


Either way it goes, it still gives the governor and the senate full control of our institutions. Knowing myself and my fellow RAMily, we don’t want to be apart of that. Plus 20-3-114 of the new bill states that the new board can authorize consolidation, suspension, and discontinuation of the listed institutions. They can add and/or remove courses and add or take away degrees which all of this affects the student eligibility to graduate. In addition to my statement, I agree with the above comment in which this can possibly increase our tuition (not like we already don’t have a problem trying to afford college as it is, especially in the black community). As much as we support our fellow HBCUs, we like to remain separate without being one known as “Georgia Agricultural and Mechanical University” or whatever name they decide to put it under. Each school has its own history and my first president, Joseph Winthrop Holley is probably turning in his grave as of right now knowing this is actually a conversation we should not be discussing.


Me as a Savannah State Student, I do not believe this will solve the enrollment status. If the schools become governed under a different system there would be less funding then there is now and although higher enrollment would increase but if the tuition increases drastically to support the schools, there will not be any enrollment increase at all. The merge may bring new and better resources but those new and better resources do cost more money. I do have ultimate love and support for my HBCU and I would strongly dislike to lose the Savannah State name and many others would too as well; I believe that would be for any of these schools.


I can’t see how and why they would kick these black colleges with black students out of the public University System that they have always been part of? Next will be no to very little state funding and resources and total closure of the schools. They should not be kicked out of the university system. Let’s look 3 steps ahead and not just at the declining student population. Other state schools get resources to address the brands of their school. Why are these school any less than Clayton State, Kennasaw State and Armstrong State outside of current withholding of resources and investments by the state? Why a separate governing system? Why were these 3 chosen?


Why does the Atlanta media continue to spread false information about SB278? Does the media not do any research anymore because they post an article. No where in the bill does it say anything about a merger?


Poor Iyani, the Bill does not propose a merger of the three Universities. It proposes a separate governing system for the three Universities. Folks we got to read. Part 2 of the Bill expressly states 169 20-3-120. 170 (a) The university system shall consist of the following institutions currently in existence: 171 (1) Albany State University; 172 (2) Fort Valley State University; and 173 (3) Savannah State University. 174 (b) Each institution of the university system shall remain separate and distinct from each 175 other institution with local governance vested in a president as provided for by the board.

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