by T.A. DeFeo
The Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts has identified five “options” to modernize the governance and oversight of the Georgia Military College.
Two of the five options included in the audit, performed at the request of the Georgia House Appropriations Committee, would expand the state’s representation on the GMC board, with either some or all voting members appointed by state leaders. Currently, Milledgeville residents elect GMC Board of Trustee members.
GMC, founded in 1879, has a K-12 preparatory school with roughly 850 students and a junior college with roughly 12,000 students enrolled at the main Milledgeville campus, 11 satellite locations and online. The state could move the junior college’s operations to the University System of Georgia or the Technical College System of Georgia.
Additionally, the state could also move to privatize the school.
“However, this would create a large and immediate financial burden for GMC, which would be required to purchase all buildings and property from the state at fair market value,” the audit found. “In addition, GMC would no longer receive state funding, its staff would lose existing employee benefits, and tuition would likely increase.”
During fiscal 2022, GMC had $80.5 million in revenue, mostly from student tuition and fees or state-sponsored financial aid. Its revenue represented roughly 85% of the school’s funding.
In fiscal 2022, the state contributed $25.6 million to the school, including $9.4 million in state appropriations. The money was evenly distributed between the two schools.
If transitioned to USG or TCSG, GMC tuition would likely decrease as its full-time students currently pay $3,500 to $4,000 more annually in tuition and fees than USG’s and TCSG’s two-year programs. It would also increase the state’s cost, and admissions standards would change under the state’s university system.
“The General Assembly is presented with two options that would modernize the oversight of GMC that would have minimal structural/operational changes and also have minimal economic impact,” GMC said in a response included in the review. “All other options presented would have a significant structural and operational change, along with a significant increased cost to the state.
“The current mission of GMC would in fact be changed, and GMC would no longer be pursuing the same focus that we have today,” GMC added. “Additionally, the increased operational cost would be significant to the state of Georgia, as GMC today operates with minimal state funding.”
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