Reduced cuts save MCG programs

Academic programs to avoid ax for now

Faced now with a potentially much smaller additional cut next fiscal year, Medical College of Georgia has decided against eliminating any academic programs, Provost Barry D. Goldstein said Tuesday.

But at least one student whose program was a potential target said she is still wary.

"All of us are just on pins and needles," said Maegan Brass, a senior nurse anesthesia student who would have been cut off months from graduating if her program was eliminated July 1.

Goldstein said University System of Georgia Chancellor Erroll B. Davis Jr. advised schools that the additional cuts to the system would be closer to $117 million instead of the $300 million lawmakers had suggested. Gov. Sonny Perdue and other legislators also have said the cuts would be substantially less.

"Based on the information we have right now, we've made the decision that for fiscal year 2011, we won't eliminate those programs, or any programs," Goldstein said. "If something happens, and the cuts are more severe, then we are going to have to find a way to cover those costs, those funding cuts."

MCG has not been given a new range of additional cuts to expect "although we would expect it to be significantly less than the $25.6 million" MCG had originally been told to plan for, he said.

But Brass, who is continuing her clinical rotations in south Georgia even as she and others continue to lobby lawmakers against the cuts, said she won't let up the pressure before she sees a final vote.

"Until they go through and make an official vote about something, they can say stuff all day long," she said.

MCG had already committed to current students that they would be allowed to graduate even if programs were cut but Goldstein hopes the new commitment will reassure incoming students who might have been considering other places.

"We hope that this will prevent that," he said.

Goldstein said he can understand some student skepticism.

"They've been through a lot the last few weeks," he said. "We all have."

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