Overall Rating Reporter - expired
Overall Score
Liaison Jennifer Asman
Submission Date March 23, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Georgia State University
PA-8: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete Reporter Jennifer Asman
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
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Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

Georgia State University has a number of large-scale, need-based aid programs targeting students of low income. The largest is the Panther Retention Grant program which directs funds to students who have been dropped from classes (or are about to be dropped) for lack of payment of tuition and fees. All recipients of PRG funds have unmet need, meaning that they do not have sufficient funds to pay for their education. Last academic year, the program helped 2,600 students continue in their classes. The largest portion of these 2,600 students were seniors, and 70% of the seniors who received the grants graduated within two semesters of receiving the funds. Keep HOPE Alive is a program directed to help students who lose the HOPE scholarship because their GPAs drop below 3.0. Such students are offered $500 per semester for the two semesters after losing the grant on the condition that they attend financial literacy sessions, meet with their academic advisors, and participate in academic skills workshops. The program has helps hundreds of students win back the HOPE scholarship (and thousands of dollars of funding) over the past four years. Panther Works is a program for low-income undergraduates that provides them 20 hours of work on campus each week at above minimum wage levels, making it easier for students to work without conflicting with their class schedules and studies. The Office of Institutional Research, as a practice, tracks levels of unmet need for all enrolled GSU students, giving the university the ability to identify students at risk. Georgia State’s ground-breaking GPS advising system uses millions of bits of GSU data to identify students at risk of dropping out. The system has helped the University to lower the average number of credit hours at graduation, meaning that it helps to lower the costs to students for their degrees. The university is adding to the GPS platform financial analytics that will alert central offices of any problems students are having financially while it is still early enough to intervene. In 2015, the University will open a first of its kind Student Financial Counseling Center.

A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

All new Georgia State full-time faculty go through an orientation which includes an explicit discussion of the financial challenges faced by our students and an examination of the implications of the financial stresses that students faced. They are given details about resources on campus—from some of the programs outlined in the previous questions to Counseling Services—so that they may direct students to the help they need. The University also runs an Early Alert system every semester in which faculty are contacted in the first weeks of the semester and asked to identify students who are struggling for various types of reasons. The data received are then correlated to identify students who are struggling in multiple classes. Via this program, faculty members have identified thousands of at-risk students over the past 5 years. Faculty also are asked to identify students for Panther Retention Grant funds.
Additionally, the Directors of Opportunity Development/Diversity Education and Planning provide information to new staff at monthly New Employee Orientation Programs. Staff attend diversity training on an ongoing basis.

A brief description of any programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

There are multiple such programs. The University conducts a large Early College program for low-income students from some of the poorest high schools in Atlanta Public Schools. Hundreds of juniors and seniors from these high schools every semester take some or all of their courses at Georgia State and at the college level so that they get to experience serious students studying in a college environment. More than 1,000 students have participated in the program over the past 5 years, and the rate at which these students graduate from high school and attend college is more than 30 points above that of their peers at the same schools. Georgia State has an agreement with Cobb County Schools, a district with among the fastest growing Latino population in the state, to send our Latino college students to high schools to serve as mentors to the Cobb County high school students, showing them the way to college attendance. All admitted students to Georgia State, 58% of whom qualify for Pell grants, go through an extensive orientation of which a component is financial literacy. The University runs a special summer bridge program for 400 incoming freshmen, almost all of whom are low income, so they will get off to a strong start in college. Last year, graduates of the bridge program outperformed the rest of the freshmen class academically over the course of the freshmen year.

A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

The Georgia State University Foundation funds 700 different campus scholarships, many of which target low-income students. Many of these scholarships are very specific. The Berner Scholarship, for instance, is awarded each year to a cohort of low-income students from Early County, Georgia. The University has scholarships targeted to help low-income students study abroad. These are just two examples; there are hundreds of scholarships of this sort. The largest University-level need-based program in the Panther Retention Grant scholarships. Last year, the program distributed over $2.5 million exclusively to low-income students.

A brief description of any programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

Some of these program are highlighted above. All freshmen and their parents or guardians participate in freshmen orientation. The orientation now has two tracks, one for the students and one for the parents. Both tracks include financial literacy training and the opportunity to meet one-one-one with financial counselors who are on hand. For the most at-risk incoming freshmen, they are invited to join the Summer Success Academy and we host an evening for the parents/guardians emphasizing some of the logistics and challenges to financing college.

A brief description of any targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

The number of Pell eligibility students enrolled at Georgia State has increased from 32% in 2007 to 58% in 2013. We have counselors who visit every high school in the metro Atlanta area and most in the state. We create a campus at which students from all backgrounds are welcomed, and we admit students on a need-blind basis. Program such as Early College and our Cobb County Latino initiative (both described above) help recruit low-income students to the university.

A brief description of other admissions policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

The University has increased its underrepresented population each of past 6 years and now is 61% non-white. Georgia State enrolls more Pell students, more Latinos, more African Americans, and more Asian Americans than any other university in the state of Georgia, with dedicated recruiters tasked with growing these numbers further.

A brief description of other financial aid policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

Many of the programs have already been described above.

A brief description of other policies and programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students not covered above:

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to support non-traditional students?:

A brief description of any scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

A brief description of any onsite child care facilities, partnerships with local facilities, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

A brief description of other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (accessibility and affordability indicators)?:

Indicators that the institution is accessible and affordable to low-income students::
Percentage (0-100)
The percentage of entering students that are low-income ---
The graduation/success rate for low-income students ---
The percentage of student financial need met, on average ---
The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt ---

The percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students:

The website URL where information about the institution's affordability and access programs is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.