Gordon State College Confers Record Number of Degrees

Despite unprecedented challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, the University System of Georgia (USG) in fiscal year 2021 awarded a record 72,929 degrees – the most in the system’s 90-year history. Gordon State College’s graduation rate had a record 7.2% increase from the previous year. There were 535 degrees conferred in 2019-2020 while 574 degrees were conferred from 2020-2021.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. C. Jeffery Knighton credited Gordon’s faculty and staff for their efforts. “At Gordon State College, our faculty and staff are committed to doing all we can to help our students be successful. From the time our students arrive on campus as freshmen to the time they graduate, we are right there with them in activities such as the FIRE class when they first begin to the Undergraduate Research Symposium when they’re seniors. Everything our faculty and staff do with our students is focused on helping them walk across the stage to receive their diploma.”

The 3% annual increase represents over 2,050 more degrees awarded to USG students than the previous year. It is also the largest year-over-year increase since 2011, when USG joined Complete College America and refocused system efforts on raising education attainment in Georgia. As a result, since 2011, the number of degrees awarded annually has increased nearly 33%. Over that same time period, USG enrollment has grown by 7.4% – meaning the rate of awarding degrees continues to far outstrip the growth of USG’s enrollment.

Among initiatives contributing to that success are USG’s Momentum Year program, which zeroes in on the first-year college experience. Other programs include those that more quickly alert advisors to lagging student performance and provide “degree roadmaps” to help students avoid spending time and money in courses that do not count toward their degree.

USG in 2018 also received permission from accreditors to create the first-of-its-kind Nexus degree, a targeted degree of 18 hours for students at any stage of their career if they have passed core courses. The Nexus degree allows institutions to work with industry and focus on high-demand careers including cybersecurity, financial technology and film production – all areas that play an important role in Georgia’s economy. Ten Nexus degrees have been approved at six institutions so far.

“Gordon is currently in the process of receiving final authorization from SACSCOC to offer the Nexus degree in Film Production,” said Knighton.