Georgia Perimeter College announced Feb. 19 that it had received a $1 million private grant.
The Betty and Davis Fitzgerald Foundation awarded the grant as part of a plan to increase college access and boost retention, transfer and graduation rates among students.
The four-year funding agreement will enable the college to address its goals for Complete College Georgia (CCG), an initiative spearheaded by Gov. Nathan Deal, the University System of Georgia and the Technical College System of Georgia to improve the state’s higher education outcomes and address workforce demands.
“It’s not very often in a job that you get to say that you participated in a legacy moment,” said interim GPC President Rob Watts. “This is a legacy moment for GPC, the day we entered into a partnership with the Fitzgerald Foundation that will last over the next four years.
“This is a quadruple win for us,” he said. “It’s a win for the state because it’s consistent with the governor’s values in putting more students through school. It’s consistent with the chancellor’s goal…to get more students through and be more successful in college. It’s certainly consistent with our mission here at Georgia Perimeter College. And mostly it’s a win for students whose lives will be transformed.
“In six months from now, the college will welcome its 50th entering class,” Watts said. “There will be people in that …class who would not be here…absent the gift from the Fitzgerald Foundation.”
Kysa Daniels, a publications specialist at GPC, said the million-dollar grant “will help us address our Complete College Georgia goals which are heavily focused on getting workers into the pipeline for jobs in Georgia by graduating them from college.
“CCG estimates that by 2020, six years from now, 60 percent of the jobs will require that people have a certificate or a college degree,” Daniels said. “Right now, I think we’re tracking at 40 percent. This will help us attract students and not only get them into college, but once they’re here, retain them.”
Among programs the Fitzgerald gift will fund immediately are a remedial math instruction initiative and expansion of services at the Learning and Tutoring Center on GPC’s Clarkston Campus.
Additional goals of the grant include increasing partnerships with K-12 schools to improve college readiness and access for underserved students; transforming remediation and instructional delivery at the college to help improve student retention and graduation rates; and providing scholarships to address the financial barrier often experienced by disadvantaged students.
Georgia Perimeter will receive $250,000 each year over the next four years to address grant objectives. The programs will directly impact 8,000 students, while also benefitting GPC’s total enrollment of 21,000 students.
“The purpose is to help retain and graduate students at Georgia Perimeter,” said Jackie Stradley, executive director of the Fitzgerald Foundation. “We gave it because Georgia Perimeter is ready to make a jump in how they reach, retain and the graduate students and we want to support that.
“We like what we see at Georgia Perimeter,” Stradley said. “We hear good things about Georgia Perimeter.”
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