SACS approves Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State consolidation

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Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ nod clears way for Regents to vote on new…

Georgia (Dec 9, 2014)Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ nod clears way for Regents to vote on new consolidated university

KENNESAW, Ga.  (Dec. 9, 2014) — Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University are one step closer to consolidation following approval today by the regional higher education accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), at its annual meeting in Nashville.

This is the last step in the consolidation process before the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia is slated to address the consolidation at its Jan. 6, 2015, meeting.

“The approval by SACSCOC is a milestone for Kennesaw State University, Southern Polytechnic State University and the new world-class institution that these two universities will become,” said Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp. “Consolidation is an immense task involving many talented individuals who have worked diligently over the past year to ensure the best use of both institutions’ strengths and resources; and while we still have some work to do, we are energized and encouraged by today’s vote of confidence.”

Once combined, the new Kennesaw State University will be one of the 50 largest public universities in the country, with an economic impact of more than $1.2 billion, according to Papp, who will serve as president of the newly consolidated institution. Kennesaw State is currently the third-largest university in the USG with a fall 2014 enrollment of nearly 26,000 students. Consolidation is expected to boost the combined university’s student enrollment to more than 32,000, once the full operational consolidation takes place in the fall of 2015.

The consolidated University will maintain campuses in Kennesaw and Marietta, the current sites of Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic, and will house 13 colleges, including architecture and construction management; arts; business; computing and software engineering; continuing and professional education; education; engineering and engineering technology; graduate studies; health and human services; honors college; humanities and social sciences; science and mathematics; and a university college.

SACSCOC’s final approval was based upon its review of a comprehensive consolidation prospectus and a 2015-2016 Consolidated Strategic Plan submitted Oct. 1 and developed by a joint seven-member KSU-SPSU Accreditation Team and reviewed and approved by a joint KSU-SPSU Consolidation Implementation Committee (CIC). The committee, which consisted of 47 Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic administrators and faculty members, was co-chaired by Papp and Ron Koger, Southern Polytechnic’s interim president.

The prospectus, which is required for accredited universities planning significant operational changes or expansions, describes the consolidated university’s major features, including learning and physical resources, financial support, organizational structure, faculty qualifications and academic programs.

The consolidation process for the two universities began in November 2013, when the USG’s Board of Regents voted to consolidate Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic, continuing a commitment it made two years ago to increase efficiencies and effectiveness to better serve students and the state.  

The consolidation between Kennesaw State and Southern Polytechnic State represents the USG’s fifth and largest consolidation. In January 2012, the Board of Regents approved four consolidations among eight other USG institutions:

  • Gainesville State College and North Georgia College & State University;
  • Middle Georgia College and Macon State College;
  • Waycross College and South Georgia College; and
  • Augusta State University and Georgia Health Sciences University.

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby reiterated the Board of Regents’ objectives for the consolidation process, and expressed his appreciation for today’s action by the SACSCOC.

“Our consolidation of institutions has been about serving our students better by expanding access, broadening programs and reinvesting resources for the benefit of our students,” he stated.  “As with past consolidations, our goal with the new Kennesaw State University is to continue to broaden opportunities for more students and to do so more efficiently.  I thank the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges for its thoughtful assessment and approval of our new university.”

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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of nearly 26,000, soon to be over 32,000 once consolidation with Southern Polytechnic State University is finalized, from 130 countries.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit