The regents approved the furlough plan this week in Atlanta, and the move is expected to save the state $42 million. It also comes at a time when enrollment at Georgia's institutions of higher education is growing.
"Absolutely," said Kennesaw State University President Dr. Dan Papp when asked if the furloughs will hurt his university. Fall enrollment at KSU is expected to increase from 22,500 students last year to 23,500 students this year.
"We got to find faculty to teach (students) and support staff to help serve them."
The furloughs at KSU will affect about 2,000 full-time employees, he said.
All full-time employees at state colleges and universities will be furloughed who earn $23,660 or more. Employees earning less, safety officers and employees with H-1B visas, temporally working in the U.S., will be exempt.
Both KSU and Southern Polytechnic State University officials said they will spread their furlough days out over the school year and that it will not impact classroom teaching.
However, Papp called the furloughs "extremely painful" because they will affect time spent by faculty and administrator for academic advising, research, committee meetings, budget work and other important university-related work.
Southern Poly President Dr. Lisa A. Rossbacher said almost all of her university's employees will be impacted by the furloughs. Fall enrollment is expected to rise to 5,025 students from 4,818 students last fall.
A bright side to increased enrollment, she said, is that it means an increase in tuition and fee revenue, which will help offset budget reductions.
"We have established a contingency fund to help offset some of the budget cuts too," she said.
"We will delay or avoid filling vacancies when employees leave, defer the purchase of academic, computing and other equipment. The library and general access computer labs will be open fewer hours for students. We are currently reviewing activities to determine what activities we can eliminate in our budget reduction process."
Papp said KSU has already put in place a plan to delay new hiring for two months, will not fill 48 vacant positions and institute a 5 percent reduction in the operating budgets of departments.
He and Rossbacher said they will each take at least six days of unpaid leave.
Employees of Chattahoochee Technical College - which is under the Technical College System of Georgia - will take three furlough days this academic year, as will other public technical colleges around the state.
Chattahoochee Tech spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson said the number of furlough days will be based on the employee's salary. For instance, employees making less than $50,000 are required to take one day off; those earning between $50,000 and $74,900 annually are required to take two days; and employees who make over $75,000 are required to take three days furlough.
Sanford Chandler, president of Chattahoochee Tech, will also take three unpaid days off, Nelson said.
Like other college and universities, she said Chattahoochee Tech's furlough days will likely be scheduled close to holidays. She said the college has no plans to layoff employees or raise student fees.
Fall quarter enrollment at the newly formed Chattahoochee Tech is expected to number about 11,500 students. The combined enrollment from the former Appalachian, Chattahoochee and North Metro Technical colleges in the 2008 fall quarter was 9,232 students.