Georgia State University top in the nation for African-American student graduation

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The FINANCIAL — Georgia State University continues to lead the nation in graduating minority students, now ranking No.1 in the nation among not-for-profit institutions in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African-American students according to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.


With a 17 percent one-year increase, Georgia State outpaced all other non-profit colleges and universities in awarding bachelor degrees to African-American students in the magazine’s rankings of the “Top 100 Undergraduate Degree Producers.” GSU conferred 1,262 bachelor’s degrees to African-Americans in 2012, climbing past Florida A&M and North Carolina A&T State University.

Georgia State’s overall graduation rates continue to break records and earn national accolades, thanks to innovative programs for retention and progression. According to Georgia State University, overall, the university has raised its graduation rates by 29 percentage points in the last decade, and the numbers continue to climb.

“The latest rankings from Diverse: Issues in Higher Education again show that Georgia State is indeed a place where all students succeed,” said Georgia State University President Mark Becker. “We are extremely gratified to see our programs working and our students flourishing.”

In the just completed 2011-12 academic year, GSU set an all-time record by graduating more than 7,000 students for the first time in school history. The university was recently named one of the “Top 100 Colleges for Hispanics Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees” by The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, and ranks among the top 50 universities in the country for graduating Asian students.

Timothy Renick, associate provost for academic programs and chief enrollment officer, said the careful use of data, early intervention, proactive academic advising and programs like the university’s Freshman Learning Communities and Keep HOPE Alive have made a significant impact on the success of all Georgia State students.

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Students who join Freshman Learning Communities (FLCs) live and move through class sections together, forming a pool of peer support. The program has improved graduation rates by 5 percentage points.

In GSU’s "Keep HOPE Alive" program, students who have lost the HOPE scholarship participate in a series of intensive academic workshops to help them get their grades back up. The program has shown striking results. Overall, only about 8 percent of students are able to gain the HOPE scholarship after they lose it. For those in "Keep HOPE Alive," more than 60 percent successfully do so.

In the coming year, GSU will hire dozens more academic advisors to provide enhanced student advising and 36 faculty to ensure availability of key course sections. The advisors will assist students by employing a new, cutting-edge advising system that uses data to identify struggling students before their grades falter—the first of its kind in the nation.

“Georgia State is committed to serving all students and helping them reach their goals,” Renick said. “With these new programs and resources, I am confident that our students will attain even higher levels of success.” 



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