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Monday, September 10, 2012 - 11:47am

Plan To Help Georgians Earn Degrees

Governor Nathan Deal’s initiative to increase the number of Georgians earning a degree is getting a boost from a new plan put together by the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia.

Campuses will be putting more emphasis on college readiness and online learning but some students are still concerned about the high cost of tuition.

The campus plans detail how the state goal of adding 250 thousand more graduates by 2020 will be met. Components include shortening the time it takes to earn a college degree, providing options so students can better juggle school while working, serving in the military and raising a family; and increasing online courses.

Ann Holzhausen just graduated from the University of GA. She thinks making college more affordable and ensuring each student gets one on one time with professors would help graduation rates:

“Maybe smaller class sizes, more attention per student, as opposed to big lecture classes, well the price of tuition has gone up quite a bit, if that went down, that would help quite a bit.”

Houston Davis, Chief Academic Officer with the University System of Georgia, says the plan will not only include more online options for students, there will be a more accurate assessment of prior learning:

“We know that there are many individuals out there in the workforce that through their work and through their experiences, they have acquired a certain amount of knowledge. Where we, through portfolio assessment and through testing and other mechanisms, through these ‘experiential credits’ may be further along toward that particular degree program.”

Statewide, the University of Georgia has the best graduation rate in four years at 51 percent, compared to 35 percent for Milledgeville’s Georgia College and State University.

The graduation initiative was sparked by recent data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education that shows that fewer than one in four Georgia students earns a degree within four years, which is below the national average.