Auburn Board of Trustees agree to new partnership with Southern Union

Published: April 12, 2019
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Auburn University and Southern Union State Community College are entering into a partnership that makes Auburn accessible and affordable to two-year college students who transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree.

Provost Bill Hardgrave told the Board of Trustees at its meeting Friday that “Path to the Plains” is aimed at helping highly motivated, two-year college students who desire a four-year degree, but may face financial barriers.

The program will initially serve a limited number of students studying biosystems engineering, public relations or geospatial and environmental informatics.

Board members agreed to set tuition at $129 per credit hour, the same amount in-state students pay at Southern Union, for the four semesters students are concurrently enrolled at both institutions. Auburn student and professional fees would also be waived for students in the program.

“As a land-grant institution, Auburn University believes that access and affordability are paramount in our efforts to expand and elevate educational opportunities in Alabama,” Hardgrave said in a memo to the board.

He noted that nearly 900 students from two-year institutions transfer to Auburn annually to complete their bachelor's degrees.

The new partnership with Southern Union also aligns with the state’s goals of supporting transfer students and educating more Alabamians.

In other matters, the board granted final approval to the first phase of the multi-year campus parking expansion project. The phase calls for constructing 300 additional paved parking spaces at the West Campus Parking Lot for resident students and 300 additional gravel parking spaces at the Hayfield Parking Lot for commuter students.

The $3.5 million project will be financed by the University General Fund and parking fees.

The board also decided to:

  • Approve a $3.8 million project to renovate dining space, as well as back-of-house and other preparation areas in the Village Dining facility to include all-you-care-to-eat kitchen space, dining room improvements, extensive equipment upgrades, new back-of-house epoxy flooring and an additional point-of-sale entry. Stacy Norman Architects of Auburn was previously selected as project architect.
  • Initiate a project to renovate the Ag Heritage Park Pavilion on South Donahue Drive.
  • Enter into an environmental covenant for the two-acre parcel along Wire Road that was formerly used by the university as a landfill.
  • Amend the lease agreement with Milstead Farm Group Inc., allowing Milstead to substitute approximately 2.5 acres of land that is too wet for cotton module storage for an adjacent 2.48 acres which is more suitable for a storage warehouse. Milstead currently leases 25 acres of university property at the E.V. Smith Research Center. 
  • Establish a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and a Master of Science in Education Research, Measurement and Evaluation in the College of Education.
  • Close the online programs for Master of Science and Master of Agriculture in Soil, Water and Environmental Science. The College of Agriculture will continue to offer a Master of Science and a Master of Agriculture in Crop, Soil and Environmental Science.


For Auburn University Montgomery, the board decided to:

  • Close the programs for a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
  • Establish a $200 per semester fee for three professional programs in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences: Department of Communication Disorders, Department of Medical and Clinical Laboratory Science and the School of Nursing.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.