Bill Gates gives kudos to Georgia State for work to improve graduation rates

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Bill Gates gives kudos to Georgia State for work to improve graduation rates

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Bill Gates. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

Bill Gates has given a rare, public shout out to a Georgia university for its work to improve its graduation rates.

Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and one of the world’s richest men, visited its Atlanta campus this summer and wrote in a blog post this week that he was “amazed” by what he learned about Georgia State University’s efforts to boost its graduation rates.

Georgia State’s graduation rate has increased in over the last decade from 32 percent to 54 percent, Gates wrote.

“What’s more, there is no achievement gap at GSU,” wrote Gates. “African-American, Hispanic, and low-income students all graduate at rates at or above those of the student body overall. GSU is one of the only public universities in the country to achieve this goal. And over the last four years, GSU has conferred more degrees to African Americans than any other college or university in the U.S.”

Georgia State has used a method called “predictive analytics,” which takes student data to identify when they need help. The university has hired more advisers in recent years to assist students. GSU has also created programs that award students grants to help them pay tuition after research showed the university some dropped out because of financial hardship. The average award is about $900.

GSU has received $3 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2013 for various academic efforts, university officials said.

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