University System of Georgia's Board of Regents launches graduation plan

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ATLANTA — The Board of Regents agreed Wednesday to begin developing graduation targets for the state’s 35 public colleges, which will eventually determine their funding.

The targets are part of the state’s strategy for boosting graduation rates at colleges, universities and technical schools, launched by Gov. Nathan Deal in September.

The regents took a first step Wednes­day by approving a general outline of how the staff will address the main reasons students don’t graduate: expense, time, inconvenience and lack of skill. Just 57 percent of Georgia students who start a four-year college graduate in six years, a rate that declines for minorities, the poor, older students and those having to work while attending.

“We’ve got to do a better job in this state and this country on graduating students,” Chairman Ben Tarbutton said.

A committee will begin in a few weeks to come up with separate targets for each level of school.

They will be different for the research institutions such as the Uni­versity of Georgia that already have the highest graduation rates, from those for the so-called access schools such as Savannah State University that aim to make higher education available to as many people as possible.

Vice Chancellor Lynne Weisen­bach predicted the recommended targets will come to the regents for a vote in the spring.

Each school is drafting its own plan for boosting graduation rates.

The regents also voted Wednes­day to approve an agreement with the Technical College System designed to simplify transferring from one system to another.

“This is a big deal,” Tarbutton said.

While researching ways to help college students complete their studies, the staff is coaching the Department of Education on ways to ensure that high school graduates are prepared for college-level work. Currently, 59 percent of freshmen at two-year colleges and 48 percent of freshmen at state colleges other than the research institutions require remedial courses.

At the 25 technical colleges, one quarter of students need remedial help.

Fewer than one in four remedial college students and just 7 percent of those in the technical schools graduate in six years.

“Where’s the (Department of Edu­cation) in all of this?” Regent Willis Potts asked.

Chancellor Hank Huckaby said the department, which oversees high schools, continues to hear from him and Ron Jackson, the commissioner of technical colleges.

“That’s a very important counter point in our discussions,” Huckaby said.

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Sweet son
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Sweet son 11/09/11 - 02:11 pm
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We all know full well that

We all know full well that when young adults come out of the 'government schools' with a HS diploma that they are not prepared for 'university' level work that I hope is required in Board of Regents schools. Maybe they are ready for the 'long distance university' classes but not the kind that should come from the "State" Universities! I know a long while ago that "Augusta College" used the required Humanities and especially English 101 to weed out those who just entered college to play! I actually got through! :):)

willielance
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willielance 11/09/11 - 02:38 pm
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Some aspects of this

Some aspects of this graduation plan has an assembly line type feel to it. While unveiling these targets I have to wonder just how much thought Governor Deal and the Board of Regents gave as to whether businesses are going to be lured to our state any faster due to these standards. Where is the Department of Education in the equation, the more pertinent question is where is the general public who will be paying the taxes to subsidize this plan and supply the bodies(their children) who will be effected by it. Let's go a step further, some of these taxpayers are going to return to school to further their education. They work. They have families. What kind of timeline are they going to given regarding graduation? I hope the universities and colleges have a plan or plans in place to address this matter.

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 11/09/11 - 03:17 pm
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WARNING: Don't sacrifice

WARNING: Don't sacrifice academic excellence on the altar of political expediency.

noway
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noway 11/10/11 - 10:08 am
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It's not the university's job

It's not the university's job "to graduate students" - it's the students' jobs and they aren't keeping up their end of the deal. If they don't have what it takes to work hard enough to graduate, then maybe college isn't for them. Basing state university funding formulas on graduation rates is a BAD idea...faculty will be pressed to pass their students on when they aren't prepared. Horrible idea. Our society, our culture, needs to make education a priority. WHy is it ok to spend $20,000 on a wedding, but people don't want to spend that on a college education? You will always have a diploma, but won't always have that spouse.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 11/10/11 - 02:25 pm
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You are very wise,

You are very wise, noway.

Look at this bit of information from the story above:

A committee will begin in a few weeks to come up with separate targets for each level of school. They will be different for the research institutions such as the Uni­versity of Georgia that already have the highest graduation rates, from those for the so-called access schools such as Savannah State University that aim to make higher education available to as many people as possible.

Herein lies the problem. The state university system should not fund, foster, or support so-called access schools! Schools of higher education should have a more noble purpose than making higher eduation available to as many people as possible. A college eduation (which one does not have unless he has a diploma) should be reserved for those who actually have the academic drive and enough intelligence and discipline to do the work on their own. The school system should make the information available; the student should do the work. Graduation will take care of itself.

These so-called access schools are merely devices to separate a person (student or parent or taxpayer) from his money. They bear no relation to the term education.

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