College cost is top barrier to meeting workforce demands in Georgia
- A new report paints a bleak picture for college access and workforce sustainability in the state of Georgia, suggesting the state must create a comprehensive need-based scholarship to support its growing industrial demand.
- The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education reveals the cost of higher education, particularly within its community and technical colleges, has increased by more than 60% over the last 10 years, and enrollment in these schools declined over the same period.
- While the number of Pell grant-eligible students, along with African American and Hispanic enrollment has each increased by more than 35% over the last five years, only 30% of students in these students are receiving state-funded, merit-based scholarships compared to 46% of white students.
Cost control is a far larger issue than college access in most states, as Pell grant and other federal financial aid no longer covers the largest portion of annual tuition and fee schedules for public and private institutions. Campuses can no longer afford to offer tuition discounting as a method of increasing enrollment and have even more pressure to enroll more students who can afford and who are prepared for college, to fulfill new standards set by the federal government.
It is up to college leaders to become more transparent about the numbers and the crisis of higher education in the public space. Much in the way that nonprofit organizations market the pressing need to fight hunger, homelessness and sickness, colleges should consider making student need a central piece of their public awareness efforts.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution High college costs hurting Georgia economy