Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Georgia Highlands to use $545,000 to enhance student success

Media release: Ongoing work by Georgia's public colleges and universities to increase college completion rates will get a boost in the upcoming year with $72.5 million in new funds. Gov. Nathan Deal and the General Assembly fully funded the University System's enrollment formula, and as a result, all 35 institutions will receive new funding to strengthen programs serving the system's almost 320,000 students.
Georgia Highlands will use $544,913 to increase student success through a variety of programs, including the addition of two academic advisors to ensure that students at all five campuses have access to the mentoring and guidance they need to progress.
The college is also creating an Office of Adult and Service Learning to help military veterans and non-traditional students transition to college and effectively make progress toward graduation or transfer.
Many non-traditional students work fulltime and support families, so they have specific needs and goals. Some of the funds will purchase COLLABORATE, an interactive means of conducting classes in multiple locations. Students will be able to stay at a particular campus and take the classes they need to finish their programs in a timely manner, even if in-class sections don't fill at their home campus.
The addition of positions for eLearning and the First-Year Experience also help drive student retention and graduation. Online, DVD and hybrid (a combination of in-class and online instruction) delivery methods, which make up the eLearning program, have grown dramatically during the past five years. They give students greater flexibility in scheduling to meet busy lifestyle needs. The First-Year Experience is a program that helps students transition to college and learn how to meet the demands of college successfully. It includes instruction on how to conduct academic research, how to interact with different students and faculty members, what the expectations are of college students and what comprises good study habits. It even includes a service learning project chosen by the students to serve a non-profit organization in the community.
Because of policy changes by the Board of Regents, all students will now be tested before they are accepted by GHC, not after. Funds have been allocated to support the multiple testing sites required to fulfill this policy. Additional tutoring services will also be provided to help students stay on track. At-risk students are identified early, long before their grades have dropped perilously low, to give them time to improve and move on.
To complete the sector mission change from two-year college to access-mission state college, GHC is adding two nursing faculty members and library resources to meet requirements for its new Bachelor of Science in nursing. Funds for renovations to create a classroom and conference room have also been allocated.
Georgia Highlands's total operating budget is $28.2 million, about half of which, or $14,097,840 comes from state appropriations. The other half, $14,060,110, comes from tuition and fees.

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