Gov. Deal: Get more Georgians into college. And get them to graduate.

Here is a release from Gov. Deal’s office on the state’s new push to both enroll and graduate more students from college:

Gov. Nathan Deal, along with all 35 presidents of the University System of Georgia, 25 presidents of the Technical College System of Georgia and representatives from Georgia’s independent colleges and the business community, today launched the campus level completion portion of Complete College Georgia, which was first initiated in August 2011. The initiative calls for and identifies strategies for the state’s public and private colleges to add an additional 250,000 college graduates – whether a one-year certificate, an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree – by 2020, a number that is over and above current graduation levels.

“Any significant increase in the number of Georgians who complete college will require a historic new era of coordination between the state’s public and private colleges and the business community,” said Deal. “To have a successful future in Georgia, and remain competitive nationwide and globally, we have to have an educated workforce, and that means we need to do a better job getting people into college, make sure they receive a high-quality education and then graduate them.”

The presidents also heard from Chris Clark, president and CEO of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce. Clark noted that the work of Complete College Georgia is in line with the economic needs of the state, as reflected in a recently released report from the governor’s office as part of Deal’s Georgia’s Competitiveness Initiative.

The Georgia Competitiveness Initiative, which gathered input from more than 4,000 Georgians for the report, highlighted education and workforce development, specifically improvement in the academic quality of and access to k-12 through postsecondary education, as a top priority in nearly every region of the state.

Over the past six months USG and TCSG officials have developed a statewide plan to meet the Complete College Georgia targets. Today’s event comes at the beginning of campus-level planning and work to align with the statewide plan.

“Make no mistake, this marks a big shift in higher education in Georgia,” said USG Chancellor Hank Huckaby. “To do this right, we have to work toward the long term and envision how higher education can better serve the people of Georgia, and we have to do this collaboratively with all players in the state.”

TCSG Commissioner Ron Jackson added, “Our institutions have been making strides toward improving access and graduation rates, but we have to do more. We needed to come together and have open discussions about what we can do as a state.”

A recent Georgetown University study indicates a great deal of work must be done nationally and in Georgia in order to ensure the nation’s future workforce needs. In Georgia, currently 42 percent of the population holds some form of a college degree, while the Georgetown study found that by 2020, that percentage should be 60 percent for the state to remain economically competitive.

To reach the “big goal” James Applegate, vice president of program development for the Lumina Foundation, said to the group, “You need to serve those for whom so often the current system of higher education doesn’t work.”

This includes the 35.8 million working-age adults nationwide that attended college for some time but did not earn a degree, Applegate said. Military personnel and minority groups also should be a focus in terms of ensuring more individuals are able to complete some level of college.

The Lumina Foundation, based in Indianapolis, is focused on expanding access and success in education beyond high school, with a single, overarching goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

Georgia is a member of the Complete College America Alliance, a group of 30 states committed to significantly increasing the number of students successfully earning a college degree or credential. The state received a $1 million grant from Complete College America in August to focus on transforming remedial education, a core component of the larger Complete College Georgia effort.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

70 comments Add your comment


February 28th, 2012
1:20 pm

More students into college???? What a snob.


February 28th, 2012
1:25 pm

Clearly he supports Obama :roll:


February 28th, 2012
1:30 pm

But……but…..but Santorum said Obama’s wanting all kids to go to college is just a Democratic plot to get more liberals. What do we have here? Dissention in the ranks?

novel idea

February 28th, 2012
1:34 pm

uh, governor deal. . . . give back some of the BILLIONS of dollars you have cut to the education budget, and then we can talk . . . .

JF McNamara

February 28th, 2012
1:45 pm

How are we going to fund it? Everybody wants to go to college, but some don’t have the money. Also, we have to graduate more college ready students which means bettering our K-12 system. We’re so broke we had to cut HOPE, remember?

The easiest (and cheapest) way to accomplish this is to add a certificate program at the High School level. If you don’t get into a traditional college, you go straight into the “13th Grade” where you get a 1 year post secondary cert.

No new buildings need to be built as it could be a night study program, and many of the current high school teachers are capable of teaching cert programs.

JF McNamara

February 28th, 2012
1:48 pm


It always amazes me how extremely religious politicians have no problem spewing lie after lie.

Oh My!!

February 28th, 2012
1:53 pm

Gov. Deal obviously understands having a well educated workforce will attract industries/jobs to the Peach State.

Old Physics Teacher

February 28th, 2012
1:58 pm

Great! But you do realize that General IQ is not going to change, right? And that half the people in the USA have a below average IQ. You do accept that, right? And if we do NOT increase the ability of people to understand information (which we can’t in general – but we can in specific), then the only way to get more college graduates is to… wait for it… lower the standards? Kinda like what’s been happening in public high schools? That makes me a snob, right? No, that makes me a realist. And yes, there are underprivileged people who have high IQs just like we have Harvard Grads that have trouble adding 2 + 2. Don’t strain at gnats and swallow camels, OK? That’s the problem with statistics; only people who understand statistics should be allowed to do statistics. Let the politicians do what they do best – lie to us.


February 28th, 2012
2:00 pm

JF McNamara has a cannot be ignored question – where’s the money?

How do you get the largest number of people into college?

Means testing HOPE will increase the number of people in college.

If one is on a HOPE grant and drops or flunks out, the grant becomes a loan to be repaid. This will increase the funds available and hopefully increase the number of degrees awarded.

And the 13th Grade is a solid idea worth exploring. The public school buildings sit vacant 12 hours a day.

johnny too good

February 28th, 2012
2:12 pm

@carlosgvv….. I agree, I also think that the blues and reds have more in common than they realize

Patrick Crabtree

February 28th, 2012
2:12 pm

Increase more students attending college and graduating? For real? How? All the Republicans have done is cut funding and raised the tuition. Boy we have geniuses in Georgia.


February 28th, 2012
2:17 pm

I usually roll my eyes at these pie in the sky initatives, but JF McNamara, you have a brilliant idea! Has anyone, anywhere tried this?

William Casey

February 28th, 2012
2:30 pm

A “13th Grade” Certification might be a good idea, especially if it’s differentiated and tailored to people who also work. I know quite a few recent high school graduates who are “coasting along,” maybe dabbling with college, work or just plain old “hanging out.” One 13th grade program might be a four hour intensive college prep program built around “how to study.” Another might be geared toward technical fields. Yet another could be built on “how to get a job.” The 13th Grade needs to be “no frills.” No sports, band or other activities. Might work. The buildings are there, largely unused. Plenty of human resources, especially retired people such as myself who would enjoy teaching a couple of evenings per week.

Joke on us

February 28th, 2012
2:33 pm

its all a good idea; BUT the problem is still the GA high school system. instead of offering a polytech approach students will be required to finish up through Pre-Cal in math. the governor wants to push tech schools and other certificate level programs but none will happen due to the top down approach Race to the Top highlights. We have HS students graduating not knowing their multiply tables but have taken Math IV (can anyone say grade inflation) If someone tells you these kids know higher math: it all lies and it reminds me of Twain’s famous qoute: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics


February 28th, 2012
2:34 pm

What a joke. An awful lot of high school graduates can’t even tell you who the first president is, or even add more than 3 numbers in a column. College graduates aren’t a heck of a lot better. The goal ought to be to educate and motivate those capable of achieving, rather than just cranking up a number. With the government coming down hard on the successful in favor of the welfare recipients and lockstep unionized labor, it is hard to see why a kid would be motivated to work hard to succeed.

Dr. Craig Spinks/Georgians for Educational Excellence

February 28th, 2012
2:49 pm

Will increased political pressure upon the USG to produce more college graduates inadvertently encourage the educratic tendency to produce them- regardless of their Reading, Math, Writing and Thinking skills?

Will we Georgians soon see some of our public colleges issue diplomas as worthless as the ones many of our HSs distribute?


February 28th, 2012
2:53 pm

Well, I think that this “push” has already begun, on several fronts. The general rise in college enrollments has been steady ever since the 2007-2008 revenue bust began, for the unemployed and/or those who can’t find a job have all headed back to school to improve their employment chances.

There’s been a definite change of emphasis for the USG schools from valuing the size of their undergraduate enrollments to emphasizing their graduation rate within 6 years. The legislature’s funding for these schools will now be determined by their 6-year graduation rate rather than, as before, by their enrollment figures. So the schools have a real motivation for enrolling students who can graduate within 6 years, and thus they are raising their admission standards. The Regents meanwhile are eliminating remedial programs in USG schools, limiting them to the “feeder” schools and the technical schools.

Where will the money come from? Already 6 USG schools are being consolidated into 3, and I really don’t think that’s the end of the process. Duplication of programs also is being phased out. (I sure hope that duplication of mid-level administrators at the various schools is also phased out.) The intent is to save funds.

This all will probably have a ripple effect on Georgia’s K-12 education as well, to prepare students who will be competing in a new educational environment here. Given that educating college students always costs the school more than the tuition paid by the students, it will be in the school’s self-interest to be sure that the incoming students’ grades were not inflated in K-12 so that they can actually finish college in 6 years or less.

I am curious about the next stages of the Complete College Georgia initiative. The old saying goes that watching sausage being made isn’t pretty, and I have the feeling that will prove true here.

Follow Through

February 28th, 2012
2:53 pm

Only 15 in 100 can be a professional (Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, Engineer) the other 85 with degrees will have only wasted their time and money.

We actually have expanded the educational system beyond its’ “reasonable” self-sustaining limits …. We are pumping money into a system (unintended HOPE) … it has grown so large we have a “bubble” and when people stop coming …

Just look at all the “college ads” in this paper … does it really enhance productivity or does it only provide cash flow to the schools?


February 28th, 2012
3:15 pm

…and the GA democrats in this state – moonbats like Jimmy Carter’s grandson want to make sure that the “evil rich” kids do not get HOPE.

How about all you politicans get together & determine what exactly majors will be in demand – computer science, pre-med, pre-dental, pre-law, etc., etc., and focus on that as opposed to setting numbers & being happy with that when we get an additional 250k college graduates but they all majored in liberal arts & now cannot find a job


February 28th, 2012
3:17 pm

@Prof, it looks to me like the rise in admission standards at a school like Georgia Perimeter will be a boon for the Vo/Tech schools and I have no problem with that.


February 28th, 2012
3:17 pm

Hmmm…Gates and Jobs didn’t graduate from college.

Money Manager

February 28th, 2012
3:28 pm

We need to require students who don’t graduate in 5 years (while attending full time) or 8 years ( while attending part time) to start paying back their HOPE grants and scholarships.

If they move out of state within 5 years of graduating, again, they pay HOPE back…perhaps over the next 20 years, as a state initiated student loan.

We are trying to create a more educated workforce for GEORGIA, not for California, Florida, or New York. If you do not want to make the commitment to stay in the state for 5 years, then DON’T take the opportunity. Get student loans.

Will there be fraud? Yes. Will it be hard to track? Sure. However, we already have a tracking system, not a great one, for tracking child support. It shouldn’t be THAT hard to keep track of these students’ state tax returns. Using state tax returns, we should be able to keep track of people for 5 years…during which some will create roots in our state. Of course, some will leave after the 5 years, but at least we will have received 5 years of taxes and contribution to our state.

It is time to think out of the box. If we are to continue HOPE, we need to open our eyes and admit that too many of these kids blow their HOPE their freshman year. If they can’t take their incredible opportunity to get an education and leave college virtually debt free seriously, then they need to pay for their mistake, move aside, and allow another bright eyed, bushy tailed kid a chance to achieve.

Why can’t our representatives make the tough choices on this? Instead of continuing to cut the amount given to hard working families, hold the kids who make bad choices responsible for their actions.

Maybe I should run for office…oh! Wait! I’m more interested in actually SOLVING a problem than in getting elected…

Hillbilly D

February 28th, 2012
3:29 pm

Not every job really requires a degree and some of it is supply and demand. If every person in the country has a Doctorate, somebody still has to pick up the garbage.

HS Public Teacher

February 28th, 2012
3:31 pm

LOL! Really? Does this mean that he wants college to “pass” everyone just as we are supposed to do in K-12?

Look at what that has done for our K-12?


February 28th, 2012
3:32 pm

And there you have it – Deal is a liberal.

Somebody please tell the Gov that an educated electorate will mean the death of the GOP.


February 28th, 2012
3:32 pm

what an interesting take this story has, espicially in light of the absurd comments by one Mullah Rick Santorium. Students from other Nations are exceeding the educational level of the American
Students in numbers unseen in America’s history by levels that would be diffcult to match in this lifetime.
Sadly, uneducated republicans think all people that attend college are SNOBS. isn’t that Rich!


February 28th, 2012
3:47 pm

Here’s a crazy idea………maybe the reason the graduation rate is so low is because many of those kids aren’t qualified to be in college to begin with.

College is not for everyone. And when everyone has a college degree, then none of them mean much.

Follow Through

February 28th, 2012
3:49 pm

Education is the largest business in this country. It has been allowed to “operate” and produce products that we don’t have a market for or the “market is saturated” … where did industry go? … well, it went overseas because we had lost our technical expertise … and the “educators” allowed this drain to happen because there was a “blue” stain on the collars of the tech grads.

Hillbilly D

February 28th, 2012
3:56 pm

The main reason industry went overseas is cheap labor. If a company can move it’s manufacturing overseas and bring the product back into the U.S., at no additional cost (other than shipping), the vast majority of them are going to do it.

Follow Through

February 28th, 2012
3:58 pm

and “industry” was environmentally unfriendly … therefore we focused on the “service induatries” …

Jerry Eads

February 28th, 2012
4:00 pm

Novel, it was Purdue who cut the legs from under education in Georgia, not Governor Deal. Mr. Deal seems to be trying to get some of it back into education budgets.

Jeff, they’re not talking only 4-year degrees, but also 1- and 2- year certificates and degrees from the community and technical college systems.

Follow Through

February 28th, 2012
4:08 pm

There is plenty of money in the systems … goes back to the old saying … “the more you feed the beast the more the beast demands to be fed.”

Money is not the issue … it is direction and true, true desire.


February 28th, 2012
4:23 pm

@ Jeff, Feb. 28, 3:47 pm. These are the figures for 6-year graduation rates of Bachelor’s students across the country, according to the NCHEMS Information Center (Google Graduation Rates):

State with highest %: Massachusetts at 69.2%
U.S. average: 55.5%
Georgia average: 47.5%
State with lowest %: Alaska at 26.9%

This 6-year (not even a 4-year) graduation rate is a national problem, not just a local one.


February 28th, 2012
4:24 pm

I am sure the Gov. was not wanting all those graduates to have useless liberal arts degrees. If he wants to improve the workforce then he should demand more technical college graduates who will actually have an employable skill.


February 28th, 2012
4:27 pm

“and “industry” was environmentally unfriendly … therefore we focused on the “service induatries” …”

Now that is how activist can destroy an economy. I should live like native Americans but not for them. Hmmm…Al Gore.


February 28th, 2012
4:31 pm

The number one educational priority identified in the Georgia Competitiveness Initiative referenced in the article is an increase in the number of skilled technical labor to support workforce demands. The state has created a “pipeline” for students forcing them at a very early age to decide if they will attempt a 4 year degree or choose technical school. Is the “tracking” of our students really designed to help or just to provide statistics to align with their agenda? It is all about money, businesses get major financial incentives to move here, then complain there aren’t enough educated workers and bring employees into the country on work visas. But, it will be ok because the State has created an educational pipeline to provide them workers. What will we have? Higher taxes and a glut of unemployed educated workers who still aren’t being hired because it is still cheaper for the corporations to bring in employees on visas.


February 28th, 2012
4:46 pm

A good start would be removing the chamber of commerce from the school boards.


February 28th, 2012
4:47 pm

90% of college greaduates cannot find a job, the other 10% are Drs., engineers and lawyers[however that is not always good]. Get in the trades, plumbers make $150.00 an hour.


February 28th, 2012
4:56 pm

@HS Public Teacher, February 28th, 3:31 pm: “LOL! Really? Does this mean that he wants college to “pass” everyone just as we are supposed to do in K-12?”

As I recall, you and I had a long exchange about this (understandable) fear on an earlier blog about the legislature changing the funding rationales for USG schools to follow their 6-year graduation rates. I’ll repeat what I noted then. College/University professors have tenure, and K-12 educators do not (for guaranteed due process when being terminated isn’t really “tenure” as usually understood). K-12 educators can be pressured into grade inflation….not least because state law permits “social promotion.” But professors cannot.

I have never been directly pressured, nor have I ever changed a grade because of indirect pressure. Nor do I know of any others who have. Professors in general are an ornery lot. Administrators may wish they’d pass their students merrily along, but know better than to ask, let alone demand.


February 28th, 2012
4:58 pm

I want to see this accomplished, given the bare bones approach of the last 9 years. Cut, cut, cut. Where will the money come from? I am guessing the middle class will be sucked even drier, and “someone’s friends and family” will get the jobs running the show.

I like the idea of 13th grade. I’d say, however, put it in grades 11 and 12. No sense prolonging childhood even more. If a kid doesn’t show college desires/abilities by 11th grade, they should be in a learn-to-work curriculum. Practical math, practical English, and a trade skill. Also, let’s push the unemployed who have outdated or neglibile training, and welfare recepients and the “disabled” into work readiness programs–something besides making babies. No schoolee, no checkee.


February 28th, 2012
5:00 pm

Most everyone I know with a college degree obtained it somewhere else. The problem in Georgia is worse than the statistics show, if the state is counting all those “imported” degrees.

The AJC reported on all sorts of games being played with our high school graduation rates, when Cox was State Superintendent. John Barge seems to understand Georgia needs more skilled laborers. However, training cost money, and those in power in this state have little interest in helping the poor and or uneducated help themselves. Ignorant leaders leading us in circles, getting us nowhere. Georgia will stay where it is, near dead last in all important measures until its elects leaders make the welfare of Georgians their first priority (not just the interest of their financial contributors).


February 28th, 2012
5:12 pm

Someone said ” Everyone is ignorant on different subjects.” The other side of the coin says:
There was a student named Guesser;
The more he studied; the more he learned;
the more he learned; the more he knew;
the more he knew, the less he knew about lesser and lesser.
Why don’t we cut College class study down to the principles of a Major and cut out the fluff. We could get more graduates in less time with less cost.

Hillbilly D

February 28th, 2012
5:15 pm

Get in the trades, plumbers make $150.00 an hour.

Charging $150 an hour and making $150 an hour, aren’t the same thing.


February 28th, 2012
5:32 pm

Great goals but the proof is in the pudding. You can’t have high completion or graduation rates while tuition and fees are skyrocketing. And you can’t cut tuition and fees while you are cutting billions of dollars from state education expenditures. Not unless, of course, you gut the quality of education. Increased numbers of graduates at a lower cost—what a great campaign slogan. I hope diploma mills are not what Deal has in mind.


February 28th, 2012
5:44 pm

Of course, all kids should not go to college. But we are doing our kids a disservice if we make them think post high school education is not a necessity. Trade and technical schools are avilable for kids who are not college materrial. A high school education alone in the future is not going to get you a job. Those kinds of jobs will no longer be available. Everybody will need a skill.


February 28th, 2012
6:18 pm

Here’s to Perdue– lowering standards and causing grade inflation yet again. Will he blame the college professors when kids don’t graduate– or will public school teachers be blamed yet again for something beyond their control?

the prof

February 28th, 2012
6:47 pm

@Prof….I agree. My 15 year distribution is along these lines…10%A, 15-20%B, 22-25%c, 20%D, 20-25%F. I know this doesn’t add up to 100, but factor in 10-15% withdrawals. I’ve never been pressured to inflate or change grades although I have heard from some others that it occasionally happens.

HS Math Teacher

February 28th, 2012
6:48 pm

“The World Needs Ditch-Diggers Too!” – Judge Smails


February 28th, 2012
7:50 pm

If Governor Deal really wants more college graduates, we need more students graduating from high school ready for college – which means we need more students coming to high school with the skills to succeed in high school.

Maybe Governor Deal can work with John Barge on some good first steps: increasing the rigor in our educational system. For instance, getting rid of “committee promotion.” For instance, making sure that students who pass the 8th grade CRCT actually have 8th grade skills – now they only need to be reading or doing math at a 4th grade level. For instance, requiring students to get more than 45% of the questions correct to “pass” EOCTs.


February 28th, 2012
8:00 pm

Also, since the “post-secondary education” includes tech school, why not encourage more of what we used to do – and which is still possible – joint enrollment at high school and tech school, so that a student can graduate high school already certified in a trade.