Declining Enrollments Have Led to a Budget Crisis at Savannah State University

Savannah State University, the historically Black educational institution in Georgia, is facing an $11 million budget shortfall for the 2023-24 academic year. The university has seen a 25 percent decline in enrollments since 2011 which have triggered mandatory cuts in state funds for operating the university. In 2021, Savannah State University enrolled just over 3,100 undergraduate and 247 graduate students. African Americans make up 84 percent of the student body.

To compensate for the budget shortfall, the university is proposing a campus-wide reassessment of its academic programs. Programs such as English, history, eniromental science, and Africana studies may be “deactivated.” This means that no new students will be able to major in these subjects but courses could still be taught in these areas. Some non-tenured faculty members may lose their jobs. Remaining faculty may be asked to take on additional teaching duties.

Davis Marshall, dean of the College of Arts and Social Sciences at Savannah State wrote in a report that “past practices have contributed to inefficiency which has bloated the academic budget. Too many classes have been taught with 5 to 9 students, Managing the costs of delivering education will be key to our long-term success as a unit. Ultimately, as the university emerges from this temporary crisis on the other side of this process, each academic department will have to commit to being resource efficient and committed to vigorously pursuing grants and corporate support.”


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