New components of Complete College Georgia focused on getting students to graduation day

After reviewing its third academic year of progress, Complete College Georgia is implementing new programs to help close the education gap among state residents.

Complete College Georgia is collaborative initiative between the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) and the University of System of Georgia to assist non-traditional students pursuing post-secondary education. Launched in 2011, the program is funded by a $1 million grant from the Complete College America program, a nationwide initiative that strives to close the gap of citizens with college degrees or career certifications.

TCSG Deputy Commissioner Josephine Reed-Taylor said the system will expand its efforts to focus on retaining and development students. In the past, too few students graduate and even fewer graduate on time, she said.

The TCSG produced 57,369 graduates in 2013, with an average of 57,785 graduates per year since 2009. Officials hope to have an additional 79,500 graduates by 2020. To achieve that goal, the system needs to see a 4.7 percent increase in graduates across the board annually.

“Our research has indicated that we need to shift our focus from influencing— just getting people enrolled in school— to outcomes and that’s focusing on how we successfully get them through to graduation,” Reed-Taylor said.

For 2014, the system is 10,340 graduates above the annual goal, and 16 of the 23 colleges have surpassed 2014 goals.

Efforts include a student navigator program and concurrent remediation.

• Student navigators: These select students will work with campus advising offices, financial aid offices and other faculty support programs to help with new students. Navigators will help oversee an “early alert system” that will identify and address academic issues that students face. Each college under TCSG has one student navigator, but officials hope to acquire an additional position in the next academic year.

• Concurrent remediation: Learning support will available at the same time students take regular courses. Concurrent rather than consecutive remediation ensures that students will not fall farther behind, Reed-Taylor said. “Our preliminary results indicate that students are improving by doing that,” she said.

Edna Craig, a nursing student at Atlanta Technical College, says she’s seen the learning support benefit her classmates.

“I think the program is very useful because I find that a lot of students tend to take longer to complete,” she said. “I know that there a lot of students on campus that may have tested weak in certain areas and appreciated having those support services for students.”

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Complete College Georgia 411

Participating schools: All Technical College System of Georgia and University of System of Georgia institutions

Education requirement: High school diploma or GED

Financial aid: Grants and other funding available.

Info: 404-962-3129, ccg@usg.edu, www.completegeorgia.org

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