By Eduardo Samaniego, Student, Executive Director Freedom House, Community Activist
On January 6, the Board of Regents approved a proposal from Chancellor Hank Huckaby recommending the consolidation of these two institutions with the ultimate goal to improve student success and reduce expenses.
While is no public data on how much the state will save once the process is completed; we do know that many long time teachers will lose their jobs in the process and hundreds of students will drop out of college as result of the outrageous tuition hikes and policy 4.1.6. that prevents DACA recipients and undocumented students to enroll in Georgia State University.
Currently, GPC holds the number one spot on the list of associate-degree-granting institutions in the State of Georgia and it is the only community college that actively works to maintain its accessibility to students by placing its colleges within close driving distance to most residents. Many of GPC students are low-income, first generation college students with outside responsibilities such as families and jobs that are expected to pay three times more in tuition when GPC becomes Georgia State University.
GPC is also home to many DACA recipients and undocumented youth for whom it is one of the few college options left in the state.
To me, as a hard-working student, is an outright cruelty towards individuals who already work 2 or 3 jobs to pay for college and let’s not forget mothers and fathers who have put the extra work to go back to college to earn a two years degree.
Another huge negative impact not only for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival recipients (DACA) students but to the general study body in general is that current DACA students pay international rates to attend GPC and therefore are subsidising the cost of college for other students let’s just say with more documents.
Personally, I find it unacceptable that the Board of Regents disregards all hard work put in by the current students at GPC and still decided to move forward with this merger. Even more, if they cared to earn some credibility the BOR should provide clear information on how much the state will save but also acknowledge all the collateral damage that it will cause.
The merger between Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter Colleges is hardly a step on the right direction, this merger is short of devastating news for current students of “GPC”.
Eduardo Samaniego is an undocumented student and therefore unable to attend UGA, his dream school in Georgia. Eduardo was awarded a full-scholarship for Hampshire College in Massachusetts in 2014 where he is currently pursuing studies in Political Science. Eduardo is also the Executive Director of Freedom House, a non-profit that advocates for education equality regardless of immigration status and an outspoken community activist. Eduardo first published an essay on the same issue @ El Nuevo Georgia in Spanish