$3 Million Grant Aims to Reduce Achievement Gap

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by Kysa Anderson Daniels

The largest single grant ever awarded to Georgia Perimeter College is being used to improve student success and retention while closing a gap in student achievement.


The U.S. Department of Education awarded the $3 million grant to GPC during fall semester. It is part of the DOE’s Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Program and will be used to increase the number of students who exit remedial math in two or fewer semesters through the use of academic success coaches.


Dr. Katrina Hunter, director of another PBI grant-funded program called Project R.A.I.S.E., served on the team responsible for securing the new award and will serve as executive director of both PBI grants moving forward.


R.A.I.S.E. stands for Raising Achievement and Increasing Success in Education, and its accomplishments in student retention and graduation are a big reason GPC received the recent grant, according to Dr. Margaret Ehrlich, dean of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering at GPC.


“This is an opportunity to take the best practices used with Project R.A.I.S.E. and expand them so that we can raise retention and graduation rates for an even greater number of students,” Ehrlich says.


The chief goal of the multi-million dollar grant is to close the achievement gap between non-African-American and African-American students. The program uses evidence-based strategies—providing students with academic success coaching focused on strengthening non-cognitive skills, such as note taking, time management and work-life balance.


“So often, it’s these types of things that keep people from being successful college students,” says Glenn Pfeifer, director of Grants and Sponsored Programs at GPC. “The more resources we have to help students, the better.”


In addition, the project will recruit students from GPC’s teacher education program to serve as peer academic coaches.


The five-year program will impact all students in learning support mathematics at GPC and expects to increase the percentage of black students exiting math in two semesters to 55 percent—matching the rate of success for non-black students.

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