Dalton State Designates Funds for College Completion Efforts
June 05, 2012
In order to shrink the gap between the current supply of college-degreed workers and the demand projected for 2020, Dalton State College officials have designated a significant portion of the College’s FY2013 state budget allocation to college completion programs.
“We need to create more college graduates, pure and simple,” said President Dr. John Schwenn. “We are grateful to the legislature for the additional funds allocated to us this year, and we intend to use some of them to help the governor realize his goal of producing 248,000 more college graduates in the next eight years.”
Dalton State’s state allocation of $13,710,968 is up over $1.2 million from the previous year and restores operational funds from the loss of Technical College System of Georgia support last year and equalization funds to close the gap within the state college sector.
In addition, the College will receive new state funds for designated projects and programs designed to enhance college success, and graduation rates. Governor Nathan Deal and the General Assembly fully funded the University System’s enrollment formula, and as a result, all 35 institutions are sharing in $72.5 million in funding to strengthen programs serving the system’s almost 320,000 students.
Among those funds is $105,000 allocated for data software and an analyst to track retention and completion rates at Dalton State. “Interpreting information is going to be essential to the college completion challenge,” said Dr. Schwenn. “We must do more to capture and analyze data to see where our stumbling blocks are. What programs have the highest drop-out rates? Which classes? What kinds of students are most likely to become derailed in their educational efforts? Where are our greatest successes and how can we replicate those on a larger scale?”
In addition, $50,000 has been designated for stipends for full-time faculty to teach First Year Experience classes. “Student engagement is critical to retention,” Dr. Schwenn explained. “The more connected a student feels to his classes, his peers, his professors, his college, the more likely he is to stay and complete a program. Our FYE program is aimed at bonding the student to the institution as quickly and as closely as possible.”
An additional $45,000 was designated for a new advisor position. “One problem we have identified is that too many students take too many classes and accumulate too many credits unrelated to their program of study,” said Dr. Schwenn. “We must shorten the time to degree completion. Good advising is critical to helping students identify the program of study best suited to them and then moving them through that program as expeditiously and efficiently as possible.”
College readiness programs, flexible systems for delivery of instruction, and redesign of remedial classes are other areas in which Dalton State officials intend to focus attention.
“It’s a domino effect that benefits us all,” said Dr. Schwenn. “If we can improve each individual student’s probability for success, then we should retain and ultimately graduate more students who will contribute to the state’s economy as knowledge workers and taxpayers. It’s a win-win-win situation.”
The new fiscal year begins July 1.