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To Merge or Not

Iris Palmer was quoted in Inside Higher Ed on the factors leading to proposed mergers of public colleges and universities:

“If you’re dealing with decreasing levels of enrollment at the colleges and you’re dealing with decreased state investment, which most places are, I think simply from an educational perspective it’s probably a good reason to consolidate or eliminate particular campuses or colleges,” said Iris Palmer, a senior policy analyst with New America’s education policy program.

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“The research on this shows very mixed results in saving money,” Palmer, of New America, said. “It costs a lot of money up front to combine student information systems.”

Most of the savings come from salaries or by cutting jobs, which is unpopular, she said.

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“Georgia is a different political environment than, say, the Northeast,” Palmer said. “It was a huge step up in branding for Georgia Perimeter College to go to Georgia State University. They were cautiously optimistic, but they were not mourning a loss of identity.”