Tech to leave Academic Common Market

As of Summer 2011, Tech will no longer participate in the Academic Common Market (ACM), which provides in-state tuition to out-of-state students who do not currently have nuclear and radiological engineering (NRE) and polymer, textile and fiber engineering (PTFE) programs in their home state.

Tech administrators decided to withdraw from the program due to the economic downturn and the tightened budget from the University System Board of Regents and administration.

“It costs Georgia Tech a great deal of money to subsidize out-of-state students having in-state tuition. In the tight budget, we can no longer afford to be part of this program. We decided several years ago not to be a part of the Academic Common Market for new degree programs at Georgia Tech,” said Anderson Smith, senior vice provost of Academic Affairs.

The program, which is coordinated by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), is a 16-state agreement that allows for students to pay a lower cost for education in certain programs. Participating states include Alabama, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia. Each participating state is responsible for the actual implementation of the ACM.

“Essentially when an institution decides to participate in the academic common market, [the institution] absorb the cost for the student. They weigh that cost and absorb that cost. With the fiscal economic times and the constraint, they made the decision to withdraw… All students currently enrolled in the program will be given time to finish the program,” said Trudy Blackmon, assistant director of SREB’s Student Access Programs and Services.

“We realize that the number of students in the Academic Common Market programs will go down, but even if two thirds of the out-of-state students decide not to come, we would still be financially better off,” Smith said.

Although the program will officially end at Tech by Summer 2011, students currently enrolled in the undergraduate NRE and PTFE programs will not be affected and will still continue to receive the benefits from the ACM, so long as they maintain all of their eligibility requirements. Students may still apply to b enter the ACM if they receive admission into the specific programs and the Institute, as long as they also apply through their state academic commons coordinator, until 2011.

Currently, Smith has stated that Tech would probably not return to the program unless a compelling case is made in the future at the undergraduate level. The Academic Common Market programs will still be in place at the graduate level, and have not been affected by the withdrawal.