Beaufort News

Program allowing USCB students to transfer to Georgia Tech might end

A program that allows qualifying students to complete two years of core classes at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, then transfer to Georgia Tech's Savannah campus to finish an engineering degree -- at an in-state tuition rate -- might end soon.

A report completed last month by a Georgia Tech task force recommends phasing out the undergraduate- and graduate-degree programs offered at the Savannah campus.

The report recommends using the campus instead for field research, internships, programs aimed at the military, and professional master's degree programs, among other things.

"Despite extraordinary efforts, the (Georgia Tech-Savannah) undergraduate student population has remained well below the levels necessary to be self-sustaining and shows few signs of growing significantly over the next five years," the report said.

Attempts Friday to reach a Georgia Tech-Savannah representative for comment were unsuccessful.

Twenty-four USCB students participate in the program, USCB public information director Candace Brasseur said.

Georgia Tech has not decided whether it will accept the report's recommendations, Brasseur said.

For now, USCB is "not really in the position to speculate on how this will impact our students, since a final decision has not been made," she said.

USCB joined the program in 2007.

The initiative, called the Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program, allows students to earn a Georgia Tech bachelor's degree in civil, computer, electrical or mechanical engineering without relocating to the university's main campus in Atlanta, according to USCB's website.

During their freshman and sophomore years, students in the program are enrolled at USCB, which offers all the math, science, humanities and social science courses required in the first two years of the Georgia Tech engineering program, according to the website. Students then apply to transfer to Georgia Tech-Savannah, and if accepted, complete the degree program as a Georgia Tech student, the website said.

The Georgia Tech task force recommends the Savannah campus operate as usual during this year's summer and fall semesters.

More details on how a transition would work would be released in the fall if the recommendations are accepted, according to the report.

Although USCB's program might be phased out, the report recommends Georgia Tech offer USCB and other regional schools other programs that would give students flexibility to complete the first two years of course work locally and then transfer to Georgia Tech.