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Wednesday May 6th, 2015 7:35PM

State funding supports institutional priorities at NGCSU, GSC

By Staff
UNDATED - How do you close an 18 percent gap between the numbers of Georgians who currently have some type of college degree and what the state's workforce will need in 2020? That is the challenge facing Georgia and its colleges and universities, a challenge being addressed through the state's Complete College Georgia Initiative (GCCGI).

GCCGI identified an 18 percent gap between the numbers of Georgians who currently have some type of college degree and what the state's workforce will need in 2020.

Ongoing work by Georgia's public colleges and universities to increase college completion rates under this initiative 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 of Georgia'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.

"We are extremely grateful for the additional support we received through the University System of Georgia this year," said Dr. Bonita C. Jacobs, North Georgia College & State University president. "This support enhances the resources available to support our academic mission and our ability to respond to the need to serve our growing region."

North Georgia will use approximately $1.3 million in new resources to support faculty and staff positions that will sustain the university's growing strategic language initiatives and strengthen college completion efforts through the addition of the University Center | GA 400 instructional site, which is scheduled to open in August. University Center | GA 400 is designed to expand access to higher education to a fast-growing and underserved area of the region.

Most of the money - $900,000 - will fund 12 full-time faculty positions, particularly in the areas of strategic languages, science, physical therapy, visual arts, and the library, as well as additional part-time instructional faculty. The other $400,000 will fund 10 staff positions in overburdened areas, including student affairs and financial aid, and fundamental support for the University Center | GA 400.

"In the past few years, our faculty and staff have demonstrated incredible resourcefulness and work ethic by taking on extra course loads and responsibilities across the board to serve a growing student population as funding has been reduced to meet budget demands," Jacobs said. "The state's investment now is particularly important as we prepare to open the University Center in Cumming and will enable us to better serve our students and the region."

The Complete College Georgia Initiative has projected that by 2020, more than 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require some form of a college education, whether a certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree. Today, only 42 percent of the state's young adults meet that standards. Each of the state's colleges and universities is developing an institutional plan to support the goals of Complete College Georgia and will be submitting those plans to the University System of Georgia this summer.

North Georgia and Gainesville State College, which are in the process of consolidating to form the University of North Georgia, effective in January 2013 pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, are collaborating on a single plan. The consolidated university will offer a wide range of programs of study and degrees
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