Factors contributing to degree attainment for students of technical colleges in Georgia
Foley, Ryan Walter
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The degree attainment of college students is a critical issue for all levels of higher education. College officials want to improve retention, progression, and graduation rates for all students. By 2020, it is projected that over 60% of jobs in Georgia will require some form of college education, whether a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree (Complete College America, 2011). Only 42% of the state’s young adults reach that criterion, and Georgia’s level of higher education attainment is not expected to increase notably in this period (Complete College Georgia, 2011). This study uses posthoc data from the technical colleges in the State of Georgia to analyze select student characteristics that contribute to associate’s degree attainment for students. Findings from this study indicate that associate’s degree seeking students who enter college after they turn 25 years old, who have earned a high school diploma, enroll in the health or trades discipline, receive the HOPE Scholarship, and are academically prepared will have the greatest chance for success. Mindful of the complexities of today’s technical college students, institution officials must be aware of the issues related to at-risk students and be ready to quickly revise support programs that can effect positive change.