Georgia isn’t graduating very many college students. It’s trailing behind other states in this regard.

While it’s actually only recently that anyone decided this was a measure worth tracking, this does look interesting. What is to be done? There is some chance the dropout numbers might get a lot worse, however, given recent policy changes.

According to an article by Carla Caldwell in the Atlanta Business Chronicle:

An average of only 24 percent of entering freshmen in Georgia’s public four-year colleges get a degree within four years, which is well below the national average.

Many more students get degrees after another two years, the study says. Almost 80 percent of students at both UGA and Georgia Tech earn a degree given the extra time, and 60 percent at Georgia College. Across Georgia, about 52 percent of students complete a four-year degree within six years.

Well it’s not that bad. Looking at the information across the whole country, it appears Georgia is only slightly below average.

In fact, nationally only 31 percent of American students graduated from public colleges four years. About 56 percent of students in public colleges complete four-year degrees within six years.

Georgia recently started a program to improve the state’s college graduation rate. In February Gov. Nathan Deal announced that the state should generate 250,000 more college graduates by 2020. Deal said more graduates were “the key to improving the state’s struggling economy.”

Apparently the need for more college graduates does not, however, compel Georgia to make its state colleges more affordable. A year ago Deal, a Republican, signed legislation to dramatically cut the benefits associated with the HOPE Scholarship, which allowed about a million Georgia students to essentially attend college for free for more than a decade.

The cost of college, or the financial problems associated with paying for college, is one of the primary reasons students leave college without earning a degree. [Image via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer