Georgia colleges pledge to boost grad rates

Georgia’s public colleges pledged to revamp the way they teach remedial courses, reduce the time it takes students to earn a degree and use new teaching methods to improve student success.

These steps and others are part of campus-specific plans every college in the university and technical college systems developed to improve graduation rates. The plans, which Gov. Nathan Deal released Monday, are part of a statewide initiative to produce a better educated workforce.

Currently 42 percent of Georgians have a post-secondary degree or certificate, but the state needs 60 percent of adults at that level to meet projected workforce needs, according to a recent study from Georgetown University.

To reach that goal, Atlanta Metropolitan College will use more flexible scheduling so working adults will be able to earn a degree. For example, students will be able to choose courses that last between five to 12 weeks.

Georgia Perimeter College will rely on “prior learning” which allows adults to earn free credits toward a degree for college-level learning that occurred outside a traditional classroom, such as on the job, in the military or through corporate training. Other colleges, such as Valdosta State University, already use this.

Kennesaw State University will expand its “graduation coach” initiative which makes it easier for students to receive help on scheduling, financial aid and other areas. This program initially focused on Latino students, who will soon make up nearly one in four of Georgia’s college-age residents..

Details about all 56 college plans can be found at: https://www.usg.edu/usgweb/complete_college.

Deal’s Complete College Georgia program is part of a nationwide push to increase graduation rates. Georgia was the first state in which all its public colleges turned in improvement plans, said Stan Jones, president of Complete College America.

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