Creating greater access to higher education for Georgia's students is Gates Foundation's focus

Creating greater access to higher education for Georgia's students is Gates Foundation's focus

Group News posted in on 22 August 2018| comments
audience: Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta | last updated: 22 August 2018

It's back to school time, and while students were off for summer break, we were hard at work collaborating with other community foundations across the state to discuss access to higher education for more learners. It is estimated that by 2020 65% of jobs in our state will require a post-secondary credential such as a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Today, only 47% of our workforce meets that target.

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Community Foundation has been working with partners across our region to host local events that move the conversation forward around access to higher education, an essential driver for Georgia's economic future.

Our work aims to drive advocacy and policy by raising awareness of the barriers students face around college access, affordability and attainment. Learn more about the financial struggles students face in this video produced by the Athens Area Community Foundation. Identifying sources of funding beyond merit-based HOPE scholarships will broaden opportunity for more students. House Bill 787, passed in 2018, outlines the beginning of a statewide, need-based financial aid program. Many details are yet to be confirmed, but this represents positive momentum toward improving equity in higher education and expanding financial options for low-income students.

There are bright spots. The Technical College System of Georgia provides HOPE Career Grants for 17 programs focused on high-demand career training. Schools are offering programs that fill funding gaps that allow students to stay enrolled. Sometimes it’s just a few hundred dollars standing between staying in school or leaving due to financial challenges.

In the Fall the Community Foundation will bring stakeholders together to reveal the findings from events across the state where representatives of civic, education, government and nonprofit sectors shared data on our challenges and ideas on possible solutions for more students to attain their education goals. At the end of 2018, the Community Foundation will share findings with the Gates Foundation, which has invested significantly in driving equitable outcomes for Georgia’s most vulnerable and non-traditional students. We will continue to update our donors as this work progresses.

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Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
191 Peachtree Street, NE Suite 1000
Atlanta, GA 30303
United States
Phone: 1 404-688-5525
Fax: 1 404-688-3060



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