Georgia State University, the model institution for graduating students from widely diverse backgrounds in Atlanta, and State Farm, Georgia’s largest insurance company, today announced a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that helps qualified students entering the Decatur campus of Perimeter College have a pathway to a more productive future.
State Farm is providing $20 million to bring this partnership to life. With $14.5 million in support, Georgia State’s Learning, Income and Family Transformation (LIFT) program will bring the university’s pioneering data analytics work to students enrolled in two-year degree programs at the university’s Decatur campus. The remaining $5.5 million will go to non-profits and local schools to provide additional services to help students succeed. This puts the focus for the first time on students at the entry point of their college careers.
According to the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, a college degree in the Atlanta region can increase earnings potential 27% for an associate degree and 108% for a bachelor’s degree.
“A college education gives people a better life, but for too many, it is unattainable,” said Georgia State President Mark Becker. “Obstacles students face in pursuing post-secondary education range from difficulty securing financial aid and unreliable transportation to lack of emotional support. First-generation college students are hit hardest, but they have a better chance if helped.”
Georgia State LIFT will track student progress to provide the help needed to overcome a variety of educational obstacles. Progress is tracked across hundreds of indicators to identify potential issues and implement proactive solutions to keep students on track to graduation. Once participating students earn a two-year degree, they will transition to either a four-year degree program or a career. Graduation rates for Georgia State’s minority and low-income students have more than doubled in recent years, and the university now graduates students from all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds at comparable rates.
Through LIFT, 50 State Farm Scholars scholarships will be awarded annually to deserving students at Perimeter College. The program will also expand staff support in offices critical to student success, support emergency grants to help students cover life’s necessities, fund a peer mentoring program to allow students who have succeeded help other students and support financial literacy programming for students and their families in South DeKalb communities. In addition, State Farm employees will volunteer their time and expertise to these programs and will support students through professional development and networking opportunities.
“Georgia State and State Farm have the common goal of helping to solve issues important to metro-Atlanta,” said State Farm Chairman, President and CEO Michael Tipsord, “and helping students graduate is key to Atlanta’s future. Working together creates a stronger workforce and better environment for everyone.”