published Friday, August 5th, 2011

Georgia gets $1 million college completion grant

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ATLANTA — Georgia has been awarded $1 million by Complete College America to help more students in the state finish their degree.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced the grant Thursday when he unveiled his plan to help more students in Georgia get a college diploma. Roughly three out of five students graduate from Georgia’s public colleges within six years.

Deal said the state must do better.

“By 2018, more than 60 percent of job openings in Georgia will require some form of postsecondary education. To meet this demand, we must increase the number of students with access to higher education and ensure that these students graduate with postsecondary degrees in a timely manner,” Deal said.

Deal’s plan would create systemwide and campus-level college completion plans in the state’s public universities. It calls for the university system and the technical college system to work together to make it easier for students to transfer among institutions.

He also wants to focus on remediation programs, with the College of Coastal Georgia and Georgia Gwinnett College, along with Athens Technical College and DeKalb Technical College, taking the lead. They will implement technology-based diagnostic assessments to determine how much remedial help each student requires.

Deal wants to restructure some programs at the state’s technical colleges to provide more support for students who work while taking classes.

And he would create a needs-based scholarship program that would identify low-income middle school students with college potential and provide them with help through high school. Students who complete the program will receive a tuition scholarship.

“With changes to federal grant funding and the ongoing recession, now more than ever, our students need alternative methods to pay for their postsecondary education,” said university system Chancellor Hank Huckaby.

Georgia is one of just 10 states to receive a grant from Complete College America.

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