Why Georgia State Leads The U.S. In Black Graduates

Why Georgia State Leads The U.S. In Black Graduates

Georgia State University doesn’t look like it used to. The university had been known for years mainly as Atlanta’s commuter school. In fact, it was founded “as a night school for white businessmen,” according to a college spokeswoman. The school remained segregated until the 1960s.

But that was then, and now Georgia State has been re-imagined–and is now  leading the U.S. in Black graduates. “By focusing on retaining low-income students, Georgia State raised its graduation rate to 54 percent in 2017 from 32 percent in 2003. And for the last five years, it has awarded more bachelor’s degrees to African-Americans than any other nonprofit college or university nationwide,” The New York Times reported.

A state-funded college made an effort to attract and retain Black students through summer sessions on tutoring, advising and financial literacy; and programs meant to provide the safety net for poor students.

“That record is a bright spot for a state that ranks among the 10 worst for graduating black males from high school, according to a 2015 report by the Schott Foundation for Public Education. It has also changed the educational landscape in Atlanta, home to some of the nation’s most renowned historically black colleges. They came into being because the State of Georgia used to reject or neglect Black students seeking a college degree,” the NYT reported.

To prevent dropouts, Georgia State had started a number of incentives, including giving out microgrants of a few hundred dollars at a time to help students deal with unpaid tuition and fee balances.

But according to HBCU Digest, while it Georgia State may be grading Black students in high numbers, it’s staff doesn’t reflect its current student body.

“But there’s one thing white folks, Black folks and everyone in between can’t betray; no matter how much money is at stake or how much culture has to be conceded or built to earn it, no one in power ever gives it up willingly. Georgia State, for every single Black person from whom it is willing to take money, couldn’t be less willing to pay it back to Black faculty and executives,” HBCU Digest reported.

As of 2016, there were only 92 African-American faculty members totaled out of 1,624 part and full-time positions at Georgia State. And non-instructional African-American personnel amounted to 1,842 out of 3,437 positions.  So with, Black people comprising 39 percent of GSU’s consumer base, having only 11 percent of faculty doesn’t match up–especially when you compare these stats to Atlanta’s HBCUs.