Investment Strategy for College Access and Completion
The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta engaged GSG to conduct extensive research to inform a $50 million investment by the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation in a multi-year strategy to improve post-secondary access and attainment for Atlanta Public Schools’ students. Based upon the research findings, GSG developed a strategy for improving post-secondary attainment outcomes through five specific initiatives.
The research phase included:
Stakeholder interviews including higher education and K-12 education leaders, and business and civic leaders
Community provider profiles and interviews
Research on state policies supporting post-secondary completion
Benchmarking of effective post-secondary access and completion programs across the United States
Focus groups with low-income and first-generation college students, and young adults who did not attend college
Focus groups with young adults who had completed a post-secondary credential (all of whom were first generation college students)
Focus groups with middle and high school counselors
Analysis of data on college enrollment and completion among Atlanta Public Schools' students.
Following the research for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Joseph P. Whitehead Foundation described above, GSG was subsequently engaged to support the implementation of the research recommendations, including design of a new nonprofit organization, Achieve Atlanta. GSG led the development of the initial implementation plan for the organization, designed performance metrics to monitor results, and prepared a successful proposal to the Lumina Foundation for implementation support.
Achieve Atlanta is now in its 4th year of operation, and supported 2,235 high school graduates in 2018 through college scholarships, and advising and support services. For more information, visit www.achieveatlanta.org.