Jan. 29, 2010
Elizabeth Klipp, 404-413-1356
ATLANTA - Georgia State University is being touted as a national model for graduating minority and low-income students. Education Trust, announced this week that GSU boosted its minority graduation rate by 18.4 percentage points in last five years.
At Georgia State, minority students now graduate at rates higher than their non-minority classmates, putting the university atop the list of best improvers, according to the two briefs released by Education Trust.
The Education Trust promotes high academic achievement for all students at all levels—pre-kindergarten through college. The research was supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education.
"Georgia State's example demonstrates that public institutions can strive for access and success simultaneously," said Jennifer Engle, assistant director of higher education at The Education Trust and co-author of the briefs.
In 2002, 32.3 percent of minority students graduated in six years. By 2007, that rate had increased to 50.7 percent, which exceeds the school's non-minority graduation rate of 45.5 percent. The university ranks fifth nationwide in the number of bachelor's degrees granted to African-American students, according to Diverse magazine.
Georgia State University President Mark P. Becker said he was pleased the university was recognized for its efforts to improve minority graduation rates.
"The fact that our progress in retention and graduation rates is being recognized nationally for its significance is rewarding, but just as importantly this recognition steels our resolve to achieve even higher levels of success," Becker said.
To improve minority graduation rates, University officials reviewed data to identify various pitfalls on the path to a bachelor's degree - from high failure rates in introductory courses to high dropout rates between the sophomore and junior years, when students transition into courses for their majors.
"We've been very proactive in developing programs to serve the academic needs of all of our students," said Timothy Renick, associate provost for academic programs at Georgia State. "These include freshman learning communities, special tutoring programs, supplemental instruction for most core curriculum courses and bringing academic advisers to students in their classes. Such initiatives are particularly influential for students who are less familiar with navigating the campus landscape and thus can have had the greatest impact on students from underrepresented groups and low income students."
To view the Education Trust briefs, visit http://www.edtrust.org/dc/press-room/press-release/some-public-colleges-and-universities-are-making-gains-closing-gaps-in-g and click on "Top Gainers" and "Top Gap Closers."