Higher Education Mergers Gain Traction as States Face Higher Costs, Declining Enrollment

BUDDY UP: Smaller colleges and universities, especially community colleges, face declining enrollment nationwide, so several southern states are starting to bring them under the wings of state systems. According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, December 2015 saw Alabama consolidate seven community colleges into two regional systems. Georgia and Arkansas are taking similar measures into consideration as institutions face decreasing state funding and higher school operating costs. 

The idea is not unprecedented: The University of Arkansas System welcomed three schools between 2002 and 2004. According to the Gazette, schools have lower operating costs when working together, with benefits like one contract and pricing structure with Blackboard and easier transfers from two-year to four-year schools.

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