ALBANY, GA (WALB) - As the Albany State University and Darton College merger moves forward, questions are being asked about how it will impact ASU's HBCU status and student recruitment.
At Albany State University. Freshman Sada Foster from Atlanta said she's looking forward to the changes the merger will bring.
"I think its a great idea, we are all here for one thing, our education, so why not," said Foster.
But others wonder, why keep the ASU name and its status as a historically black college?
President Dr. Art Dunning said ASU has a long history here, and was established at a time when African Americans could not get an education everywhere.
"It was to educate people who had been excluded from education who then could not go to places like the University of Georgia, or the University of Tennessee or any other historically white campus."
And the school has changed a lot from the infrastructure, to its present day status as a four year university, and slowly becoming a more diverse campus.
"What I'm pushing for, and I think the campus is pushing for is more diversity with the undergraduate population, we have huge Latino growth and pockets in South Georgia that's been uneven, and we have a huge need to have a more educated population," said Dr. Dunning.
And as for keeping the ASU name, Dunning said that was a decision made the board that he was not involved in.
Foster said that although ASU being an HBCU didn't play a part in her decision to attend, it's been a fun experience.
"I went to a predominantly white high school so it's like a new experience for me," explained Foster.
There are 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. There are ten in Georgia, three four year public universities including Albany State, Fort Valley State, and Savannah State. The other seven are private universities. All of the HBCU's were established in the 100 years following the Civil War to serve black students.
Spencer Touat came to ASU because it was the only place in Georgia where he could study forensics.
"Our nursing, our education, and our forensics are incredibly good," said Touat.
Being an HBCU also brings in additional federal funding. ASU was awarded about $4.5 million this school year through next September.
Funding under Title III has helped ASU to make several improvements to the campus, including improvements to the school's library, technology and research collection.
Funding has also helped make improvements to the school's foreign language institute, and expand online degree programs.
"It's to build organization infrastructure, lavatories, library resources, so the usually sorts of things that you think should be done well on any college campus dealing with infrastructure," said Dr. Dunning.
ASU has served an overwhelmingly African American student population since it was founded in 1903.
Dr. Dunning said Albany State plans to do heavy recruitment in the days to come, and hopes students and the community will participate in the merger process and ask lots of questions.