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Sunday, January 9, 2011 - 8:00pm

Regents To Tie Presidential Pay, Graduation Rates

Georgia college and university presidents will have their salaries tied more closely to graduation rates.

The Board of Regents will start a new performance-based salary structure later this year.

State college and university presidents already have their salaries tied to performance in key areas.

But now Regents want them more tied closely to graduation rates.

Since taking over as chair of the Board of Regents six months ago, Willis Potts has called the Georgia university system's 60% graduation rate an embarrassment.

"It's just trying to bring more attention to it and more focus on it and being sure that our presidents and indeed all of our campus leaders understand the importance of graduation," Potts says. "We're holding them accountable."

Potts says, at some campuses, the graduation rate is more like 30%, while at Georgia Tech and UGA, it's about 80%.

Potts says, tying salary to student performance will put more focus on improving the numbers.

"We've asked our presidents to put together detailed plans for each of their campuses to move in that direction," Potts says. "And that will become a bigger portion of how we evaluate ourselves."

To improve the graduation rates, college presidents will have to address a variety of causes -- everything from student motivation to financial and family concerns.