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Statewide Completion Plan 2012: In Brief

While other states and nations continue to improve upon their ability to attract business and create jobs with an increasingly educated population, Georgia risks falling behind. By 2025, it is projected that over 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. Presently, approximately 42 percent of the state’s young adults, its burgeoning workforce, are prepared to such a level.

To remain competitive, Georgia must not only maintain current graduation levels and keep pace with demographic change, but also produce an additional estimated 250,000 graduates over the next eight years.

Under the direction of Governor Nathan Deal’s Complete College Georgia initiative, the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia address this critical need in Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan. The two Systems emphasize the consequences of inaction, identify what must be done, and outline a collaborative process to guide the work of their respective 60 institutions of higher education to rapidly increase the proportion of young adults with a certificate or degree, while maintaining a commitment to quality. Three areas of primary focus include: partnerships and accountability, performance, and college readiness and access.

Partnerships and Accountability

The University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia, as well as private postsecondary institutions in Georgia, will work with state and national partners to diligently define goals that focus on educational completion and meet the state’s long-term economic needs. These goals include a future workforce with a mix of certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees that provide Georgians with a broad base of skills and the critical thinking ability necessary for success in a changing economy.

Individual campuses will craft plans in alignment with the state plan and metrics. This form of partnerships will ensure that missions are complementary, rather than duplicative, thereby ensuring the most efficient use of resources. This work has already led to an unprecedented agreement between the two Systems. The agreement documented in Georgia’s Higher Education Completion Plan defines the primary degree levels for each System, and improves the ability of students to transfer between Systems. It also provides for a review process to expand elements of the agreement in the future.

 [Data and estimates based on Complete College America: “Time is the Enemy” September 2011, analysis of 2009 American Community Survey via National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, and Integrated Post- secondary Data System (IPEDS) certificate awards.]


Graduation rates within institutions of higher education must be improved to increase the proportion of Georgians with a certificate or degree without sacrificing quality. The University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia will envision a new overall performance, but also focus on student populations with significant room for improvement, including students first in the family to attend college, students from low-income backgrounds, students of racial and ethnic diversity, and students with disabilities.

Traditional forms of delivery, settings, and teaching will also be reviewed within the context of building success toward graduation, not just for students directly from high school but especially the increasing number of commuter, part-time, adult, and military students. This work includes, but is not limited to awarding credit for prior knowledge and experiences, expanding the use of online education, and aligning polices and scheduling that support opportunities for different student populations. The method by which underprepared students receive supplemental education prior to taking a college course will also be changed.

Improving College Readiness and Access

Increasing degree attainment statewide also requires that more students graduate high school and are prepared for college. The University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia will continue to partner with the Georgia Department of Education on critical areas including standards that define what high school students learn, assessments that test what students learn, and opportunities to deliver college-level courses and credit during high school. To improve the chances that those students who do graduate high school apply to and are successful in college, the University System of Georgia, the Technical College System of Georgia, and other state partners will continue and expand the work under the College Access Challenge Grant.

Access the full report.