Illustration by Tim Ogline. Click here to download a high-res copy.
At a time when postsecondary education is more important than ever, Georgia’s higher education policies and priorities are putting up barriers that make it harder for Black, Hispanic and poor Georgians to get a college education.
Higher education in Georgia lags below the national average on most key measures of performance, threatening the state’s ability to compete economically. Georgia ranks 29th among states in the share of adults 25 and older who have earned at least an associate’s degree, at 34 percent. Yet by 2018, about 58 percent of Georgia jobs are projected to require at least some postsecondary education or training.
The state’s college-age population (ages 18 to 24) is projected to increase by 40 percent by 2030, creating pressure on the state’s K-12 and higher education institutions to serve more students. Most of this growth will be among Latinos, a fast-growing minority, as well as among Blacks, in a state with the nation’s largest Black population. To produce enough college-educated citizens to compete for skilled 21st-century jobs, Georgia must find a way to reduce huge disparities in educational attainment between minorities and whites. But at present, Georgia’s higher education policies have the unintended consequence of perpetuating these disparities.