Governor Nathan Deal has announced Georgia is one of ten states that will receive $1 million grants from Complete College America to support improvements in higher education graduation rates. These grants are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One result you can expect from this initiative is closer coordination as it benefits students between the state’s university and technical college systems.
Two years ago Georgetown University’s highly regarded Center on Education and the Workforce predicted 62 percent of all jobs nationwide will require some college education within the next seven years. Georgia is far from ready according to the Complete College America state data website that reports 34 percent of Georgians 25-to-34 years old have college degrees.
Complete College America found that for every 100 Georgia students who begin ninth grade, just 38 enter college the fall after completing high school. Just six graduate with a bachelor’s degree within four years. Just three graduate with an associate’s degree within three years.
The Southern Regional Education Board recently challenged its 16 member states including Georgia to improve higher education graduation rates. SREB said, “Fewer than half of ninth graders in SREB states and the nation have a reasonable chance of college enrollment — an alarming statistic.” SREB focuses on southern states from Delaware to Texas.
Governor Deal announced his Complete College Georgia Initiative on Thursday morning during a news conference at the State Capitol in Atlanta.
“We must increase the number of students with access to higher education and ensure that these students graduate with post-secondary degrees in a timely manner,” Deal said. “We know this problem is significant. Less than a quarter of full-time students at two-year colleges ever graduate and only 44 percent at four-year colleges get their degree within six years. We also know the problem is fixable.”
One goal will be to ensure higher education becomes more seamless. A common concern has been the difficulty that students sometimes encounter when they attempt to transfer credits between schools, especially between technical college and university system institutions.
Part of the $1 million grant will improve remedial education at four schools: the Coastal College of Georgia and Georgia Gwinnett College in the university system; and, Athens Technical College and DeKalb Technical College in the technical colleges system.
A new scholarship program will focus on low-income middle school students who have college potential and it will provide support through high school. Students who complete the program will receive tuition scholarships. Private partners are being sought to assist with seed funding.
The Governor’s Office will also create a commission to focus on changes to higher education funding, similar to an existing commission that is working now on K-to-12 education funding.
Complete College America was established two years ago by Stan Jones who is a former Indiana state commissioner of higher education. CCA receives support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Lumina Foundation for Education and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, in addition to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Other $1 million grant winning states include Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and Tennessee. Two states will be announced soon. Thirty-three states applied.
(Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation)
The following data appeared this week in a ProPublica article written by Braden Goyette. This data is staggering. It confirms again how far the U.S. domestic economy has collapsed even though technically economists claim the recession ended two years ago. The article was published before Thursday’s U.S. equity markets meltdown. ProPublica is an independent, non-profit journalism project that specializes in stories with “moral force.” ProPublica won a 2011 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and a 2010 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. ProPublica is a valuable resource.
- Annual rate at which the GDP grew this year: 1.3 percent between April and June, 0.4 percent between January and March
- Average annual GDP growth from 1998-2007: 3.02 percent
- Total jobs lost since January 2008: 8.7 million
- Total jobs recovered since January 2008: 1.8 million
- Recession technically ended: over two years ago, in June 2009
- Current unemployment rate: 9.2 percent
- The “natural unemployment rate”: 5 percent
- Months that the unemployment rate has been around 9 percent or more: 28
- Number of unemployed people in June 2011: 14.1 million
- Growth in number of unemployed people since March 2011: 545,000
- Number of long-term unemployed people in June 2011: 6.3 million, or 44.4 percent of the unemployed
- Pace at which jobs were added throughout the late 1990s: 350,00 per month
- Jobs that were added in June: 18,000
- Jobs the U.S. needs to create to 5 percent unemployment rate: 6.8 million, as of January 2011
- Years it will take to get back to an unemployment rate of 5 percent: four years if we’re adding jobs at 350,000 per month; 11 years if we’re adding jobs at the 2005 rate of 210,000 per month
- Unemployed workers per job opening: 4.98
- Number of people who weren’t in the labor force, but wanted work, as of June 2011: 2.7 million
- The last time the labor force participation rate was lower than it is now: 1984
- The amount of state budget spending that comes from the federal government: about 1/3, or $478 billion in 2010
- Increase in before-tax corporate profits in the first quarter of 2011: $140.3 billion
- Percentage of Americans’ total personal income that comes from federal funds: almost 20 percent
- Spending cuts in the proposed budget: at least $2.3 trillion over a decade from 2012-2021
- How long you can currently receive unemployment benefits: up to 99 weeks
- The number of those weeks funded to some extent by federal aid: up to 73
- People currently relying on federal unemployment benefits: 3.8 million
- How long you’ll be able to receive unemployment benefits if you lose your job after July 1, 2011: 20 to 26 weeks, depending on your state
- Recovery-funded jobs reported by recipients, according to recovery.gov: 550,621
- Amount of stimulus money left to be spent: $122.8 billion of the original $787 billion
(Mike Klein is Editor at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation)
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