by Debbie Pearson | September 2016
It is estimated that by 2020, 60% of jobs in Georgia will require a college degree. In order to improve the number of degrees earned, Complete College Georgia focuses on concrete steps to improve access and completion. As we reflect on our outcomes for 2015-16, we are observing progress in a number of areas.
By fall 2015, Georgia Tech had achieved historic high retention and graduation rates. Our first-to-second-year retention rate was 97%; six-year graduation rate, 85%; and five-year graduation rate, 80%. During 2015-16, 3,419 undergraduate degrees were awarded, a 4% increase from the previous year. Students engaged in select academic enrichment programs had the highest six-year graduation rates for all groups: co-ops at 96%; interns at 97%; and study abroad participants at 98%.
To encourage student success in our academically rigorous environment, we are using a variety of tools and programs within Undergraduate Education: the Center for Academic Success (tutoring, academic coaching, success workshops, supplemental instruction, and TechPrep—a 12-day residential program with a focus on calculus review); the Center for Academic Enrichment (GT 1000, GT 2000, undergraduate research, living learning communities, and more); midterm progress reports for students in 1000- and 2000-level courses with required academic advising for students with two or more midterm U’s (unsatisfactory grades), a “non-registered survey” and outreach for students who do not register for fall by the end of Phase I; and a “non-returning survey” and outreach for students who have been away from Georgia Tech for three consecutive semesters. GT 2100, Seminar on Academic Success, is a required course for students returning on contract from academic dismissal. To date, GT 2100 is demonstrating dramatic improvements in the retention rate of this population. SOUP (the Summer Online Undergraduate Program) allows more students to study in summer, even during co-op and internship semesters, thus decreasing time to graduation.
The quality of Georgia Tech students can be observed, in part, by the fact they are highly recruited by major corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and government. In 2015-16, over 8,500 interviews were held on campus for full-time, co-op, and internship opportunities. In May 2016, 90% of graduating seniors reported in their exit survey that they had received one or more employment offers by commencement. Moreover, 78.7% reported having already accepted offers at a median starting salary of $68,000. Twenty-two percent of seniors reported having been accepted into graduate school.
Our high retention and graduation rates, number of degrees conferred, and job offer rates underscore the achievement of Tech’s outstanding students and the Institute’s ability to help address the workforce needs of the future.