Perdue says university system wants to deliver high value at low cost | Local News

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With 26 colleges and universities and some 340,000 students, Georgia’s university system is the sixth largest university system in the United States.

“Our job is to help them (students) succeed in their lives,” Georgia University System Chancellor Sonny Perdue said. “Higher education is so important. It can change lives. We call it a million dollar contract. Over their lifetime, people who graduate from college will earn an average of $1 million more than if they had not obtained this diploma.

Perdue and members of the University System Board of Trustees, who oversee the system, meet Tuesday and Wednesday at Dalton State College.

Perdue, a former Georgia governor, said that in today’s job market, where some low-skilled jobs pay up to $20 an hour, it can be tempting for someone with a high school education to go to work.

“We want them to take a long-term view and see that a college degree is a really good investment,” he said.

Perdue recommended high school students and parents use the Georgia Degrees Pay website (usg.edu/georgia-degrees-pay).

“It gives you information on all the degrees, what you earn next, that sort of thing,” he said.

Dalton State College offers several programs in conjunction with local industry to ensure graduates have the skills employers seek.

“We’re trying to do this statewide, all 26,” Perdue said. “We try to bring them into the community, to find out what the needs of their local employers are. Not all areas have the carpet industry. But they have other industries. Atlanta has the financial and technical areas. “

Perdue said the university system is also trying to increase the number of articulation agreements between schools in the system and schools in the Georgia Technical College System or between different schools in the university system.

For example, students with an associate’s degree in engineering technology or information technology from Georgia Northwestern Technical College may transfer to a related bachelor’s degree program at Dalton State College.

“We want to give them a clear path to career advancement,” Perdue said.

Perdue noted that the U.S. Department of Education recently named Dalton State College one of the most affordable public four-year colleges in the nation, the only public four-year institution in Georgia on the list.

Dalton State’s net price was $5,776 for the 2019-20 school year, according to this study. The national average net price was $12,601.

“What’s great is that almost all of them (Dalton State students) graduate without any student debt,” Perdue said. “That’s a huge advantage.”

Perdue said containing the cost of higher education was a top priority for the Board of Regents. There have been no tuition increases in the past three years and none in five of the past seven years.

Some colleges and universities have begun requiring faculty to approve diversity, inclusion, and equity support for hiring, promotion, and tenure. Free speech groups have called these statements ideological litmus tests.

Perdue said he was not aware of any school or department in the university system requiring such statements.

“I would be worried if that was the case,” he said. “The Board of Regents has instructed me to ensure that free speech on campus complies with the First Amendment.”

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