Fewer high school graduates finish college

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ATLANTA --- Education officials announced last week that the state's high school graduation rate hit a record of 79 percent, but those students are likely to be less successful finishing public colleges in Georgia.

The most recent college graduation rates for the University System of Georgia show just 48 percent of entering freshmen complete their bachelor's degree in six years. That's tracking students who entered one of the 35 public colleges as a first-time freshman in 2001 and graduated by 2007, according to figures from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

High school graduation rates have climbed more than 15 points since 2003. This year's figure represents a 3-point rise.

"A 3-point jump in our graduation rate means that nearly 4,500 more students graduated with a full diploma this year than did last year," said State Superintendent Kathy Cox. "Our high school principals, teachers and students should take a lot of pride in the fact that more students than ever are graduating in Georgia."

Mrs. Cox's department expects its efforts to begin paying off in improved rates on the college level. Today's 10th-grade students will be the first class to graduate with four years of math and science, a more rigorous curriculum, and no choice of a less demanding general studies diploma.

Of the 2001 high school graduates who enrolled in public colleges, more than one in four needed remedial classes.

The university system's Board of Regents set a target for graduation rates of 49 percent for the freshmen who enrolled in 2002. That meant they had to have completed bachelor's degrees within six years, the standard for comparison nationally. Rates at research universities such as Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia should reach 68 percent. State universities, including Armstrong Atlantic, Augusta State and Savannah State, would aim for 34 percent.

All surrounding states except Alabama have higher rates than Georgia, and the national rate is 56 percent.

Repeatedly over the years, the regents have created task forces to address graduation rates, most recently in 2004 and 2006. The board is operating on the recommendations of the latest committee's report, presented in 2007. The authors recommended four goals, which the regents accepted:

- Every school had to create a "first-year experience program" to draw freshmen into campus life.

- The schools had to work harder at making sure seniors didn't drop out simply because the courses they needed weren't available.

- Each college had to create a student employment office to address the No. 1 reason dropouts gave for leaving: money.

- All the colleges had to draft their own action plans.

Reach Walter Jones at (404) 589-8424 or walter.jones@morris.com.

BY THE NUMBERS

79%

Georgia's high school graduation rate in 2009, an all-time high

48%

Percentage of freshmen who entered a University System of Georgia school in 2001 and graduated within six years

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 10/05/09 - 04:43 am
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We have far too many people

We have far too many people trying to go to college in any case. Colleges should be drastically downsized and those students sent to technical schools or to the work place. Everyone can't be a chief. We need Indians who can shoot straight, too.

omnomnom
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omnomnom 10/05/09 - 04:49 am
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Right on Riverman. I think

Right on Riverman. I think this push to get everybody and his sister a collij edjackation will result in a LOT of people getting a degree they have no idea how to use.. and end up saddled with tens out thousands in student loans.. Or they won't even make it through college and end up knee deep in debt. Good way to prepare people for a life in the army! (because of their debt forgiveness programs)

woodyforuga
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woodyforuga 10/05/09 - 07:34 am
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The county school systems are

The county school systems are not properly preparing these kids for college. I think their funding is tied to the "pass along" approach of no kid left behind. My kid did not pass a math course and they wanted him to take an online course to "keep up". We refused this because we wanted our kid to learn how to do math so that he could do well in college. So we sent him to summer school at a private school.
The other reason, kids can get school loans to go college. These loans are above the amount they need for tuition and books so they make some money to go to college. If 50% are not graduating, how is a kid going to pay back huge loans without a degree.
Some people just do not need to go to college. We have to evaluate this and create better opportunities for those who chose not to go to college. This would be much better than making them fail at something and have them think they have to settle for a lesser career. Plus be in major debt.
Georgia school systems needs to wake up! They should be accountable to these bad results. They are the ones failing the students.

Mr. Thackeray
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Mr. Thackeray 10/05/09 - 10:20 am
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It's called grade inflation

It's called grade inflation in high school & middle school. Teachers are tired to administrations that don't support them when a parent complains so they make it go away. I am not saying that is correct but it s a cold hard fact that few will admit. The result is that kids graduate from high school thinking they are better than they are academically.

PositiveThinker
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PositiveThinker 10/05/09 - 11:31 am
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I wonder how many people

I wonder how many people actually graduate from for-profit institutions like University of Phoenix or Troy State. There needs to be public service announcements to expose those University "Diploma Mills". I am a recruiter and have recruited for several Fortune 100 Companies. For many of our professional positions we were not allowed to hire students who graduated from those Universities. **They weaken your resume because it gives employers the impression that you took the "easy way out"** I've seen lots of candidates with GEDs go on to get their Doctorate at these "for-profit" colleges and then accept positions making $10 an hour.

Being able to further your education is a WONDERFUL thing but these colleges make false claims to recruit students, have a very low job placement rate, and cost an arm and a leg!

I'd also like to see the percentage of graduates from these colleges who have defaulted on their student loan. I bet those numbers are outrageous!! When you are paying 25K a year for an education and can't get a job after you've completed ot... I bet it's pretty common unforunately.

PositiveThinker
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PositiveThinker 10/05/09 - 11:47 am
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One other thing... I think

One other thing... I think the reason that graduation rates are much lower at smaller public schools like Augusta State University is because for MOST students enrolled... they are also working full time jobs. Almost 80% of ASU students are working either as a administrative assistant, waitress, car mechanic, retail... etc... It's hard to be a full time student when you are working full time hours.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 10/05/09 - 07:18 pm
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Exactly Positive Thinker.

Exactly Positive Thinker. And at the price of college nearly anywhere, of time, energy, and exorbitant fees and tuition, it's seems designed for high failure rates. I was in the top 5% of my high school, worked full-time to supplement my scholarships after the work/study funds ran out for college, and I nearly burnt out my health, took a certain major by default, instead of one I was better suite for, because of the conflicts in my work schedule. I still managed to graduate in four years, but I could see how even the better students could fall through the cracks very easily, never mind those that were struggling academically.

disssman
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disssman 10/05/09 - 07:46 pm
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Makes you wonder if they were

Makes you wonder if they were qualified to get a HS diploma? I guess we don't want to upset anyone so it's probably time to lower the skills needed for a degree. That would make everything better, kids would graduate, parents would be happy, schools would increase enrollments, professors would have full classes, institutions could expand facilities, and employeers would have a larger pool of college graduates to hire from. Yeah, thats the answer a real win, win, win, win, win, win situation for everyone.

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 10/07/09 - 04:12 pm
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it is a direct result of

it is a direct result of "dumbing down" the high school curriculum in order to "pad the stats" so the school districts can justify requsting more education funds and/or increases the tax burden on the property owners. then when the students get to college and run into college level curriculum they are totally lost...well i guess there's alway high school football on friday nite

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 10/07/09 - 04:14 pm
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dear positive, i graduated

dear positive, i graduated from one of the above mentioned school and i would love to sit and interview with you regarding a position

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