GPC Receives $1.4 Million Grant to Support Retention, Graduation Rates

Contact: Beverly James
Phone: 678-891-2686
Fax: 678-891-2966   
Author: Beverly James   

For Immediate Release

Georgia Perimeter College has received $411,773 from the U.S. Department of Education under the Predominant Black Institutions Formula Grant Program (PBI) for the first year of a five-year project. The grant is to increase retention and graduation rates among African-American college students.

Through the PBI Program, Georgia Perimeter is guaranteed a minimum of $250,000 per year for years two through five. The college will use the grant to increase the number of underserved students who successfully complete Learning Support math and matriculate through GPC.

Dr. Margaret Ehrlich, Dean of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering at GPC Dunwoody Campus, headed a task force to revamp Learning Support math to ensure increased student success. The task force was able to get student technology funds to provide laptops for all classes.

“The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has initiated new guidelines that will be implemented in fall 2012. Those changes state that students will have three attempts to exit Learning Support but no appeals,” Ehrlich said. “So, with the new guidelines and with an increased number of students struggling to master the materials and to be college ready in terms of math, we felt this was the right time to redesign the program. In addition, redesign was the only method that had shown results at other institutions.”

With the grant, GPC plans to improve the higher education success rates of African-American males and increase the success rates of all Learning Support students, thereby impacting vast numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, Ehrlich said.

According to a report by the nonprofit group Complete College America, more students are getting into college, but not very many graduate--especially if they’re poor, black or older. The report indicates that about 37 percent of students who start in two-year colleges need remedial courses, and only about seven percent of those graduate from their two-year program within three years.

With the grant, GPC plans to increase:

  • African-American males’ graduation rate
  • African-American males’ retention rate
  • African-American males’ exit rate from Learning Support.

“We not only want to help African-American students, but the redesign will also increase the graduation and retention rates of all Learning Support students,” Ehrlich said.

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Georgia Perimeter College, the third largest institution of the University System of Georgia, serves more than 26,000 students through four campuses and several sites in metro Atlanta. For additional information, visit