A new program announced by Governor Brian Kemp (R-GA) is designed to streamline how students will move on to one of Georgia’s colleges, universities, and technical colleges.
“This program will ensure that every high school student in our state knows they have options to learn and succeed here in the No. 1 state for business,” said Kemp.
The “Georgia Match” program will send personalized letters to more than 120,000 high school seniors with the list of post-secondary institutions they are eligible to enroll in for the Fall 2024 semester.
“I think this is going to be one of the biggest investments that Georgia has made outside of the HOPE scholarship. This idea that every high school senior has the opportunity to go to college, whether that’s a four-year institution, public or two-year institution,” Augusta Technical College (ATC) president, Dr. Jermaine Whirl explained in his recent State of the College address.
“About 30% of the graduating class in Georgia, do not go into the military, to college, or to work. So, if we can get just a third of that 30%, just to say, ‘Hey, I got accepted. Let me come into the institution.” That’s really the intention,” he added.
Nicole Spencer, vice president of Student Affairs at ATC, said they have had difficulty recruiting high school students straight out of school. Georgia Match breaks down barriers in the application process.
“We lose a lot of people in the admissions process because it’s just cumbersome, sometimes for people, and the app fee can be a barrier. So, the app fee is being waived, and the direct admission, hopefully, will get us more students. And more students that are a good match for us,” she said. “I think it is the wave of the future for technical colleges and university system schools in Georgia.”
Students are matched with schools based on their 11th-grade HOPE GPA and freshman index score. All students will be eligible for admission to any of the state’s 22 technical schools in the Technical College System of Georgia. Students with higher GPAs will also see up to 23 institutions in the University System of Georgia.
High school seniors were to begin receiving their letters this week. The letter will provide them with school options and direct them to the Georgia Futures website. A link connecting them to Georgia Match: www.gafutures.org/college-planning/georgia-match will walk them through the process of enrolling.
In addition to streamlining the application process, application fees will be waived for students who apply in November.
ATC has a wide assortment of courses, from healthcare to automotive specialties and the building trades, such as plumbing and electrical programs. Spencer said some fields can be particularly challenging and students will need dedication to pursue those careers.
“But if you do want to do that kind of work, and you get through it, you can be extremely successful. When you had an MBA (Master of Business Administration) in the 90’s, in the 2000’s, you could pick and choose where you want to live, who you want to work for, and the amount of money you wanted to make,” she said. “That’s the case with these programs as well. So, I hope it brings more students to us in those kinds of programs.”
A highly trained workforce is especially important at this time in Richmond County. Several major companies, like Starbucks, are expanding, while new facilities, including Aurubis and Denkai America, are under construction. Aurubis has begun hiring for its $690 million investment for the facility which will recycle copper, precious metals, and non-ferrous materials nationwide.