• Georgia State University president considers school's future

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    ATLANTA (AP) - Georgia State University's president has been meeting with faculty, administrators and students to chart the institution's course for the future.

    President Mark Becker's goals include improving graduation rates; and increasing racial diversity among the faculty. Other goals include the completion of a student housing and retail project near the former Atlanta Braves' home, which is now the school's football stadium.

    Students, faculty and higher education experts would like to see more career counseling to undergraduate students, among other things. They'd also like to see Georgia State improve the financial aid process; and support a community plan that includes education programs and offers scholarships to students who live near the stadium, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

    Becker wants to improve graduate rates, particularly at its Perimeter College campuses. Those campuses were once part of a separate school - Georgia Perimeter College - before that institution merged with Georgia State about four years ago.

    "We're not there because if we admit a student, they should graduate," Becker said.

    Georgia State's overall six-year graduation rate ranks fifth within the state's University System, at 63%, the newspaper reported.

    With the merger of Georgia State and Georgia Perimeter, Georgia State is now one of the nation's largest institutions with more than 50,000 students.

    About 75% of Georgia State's students are nonwhite. However, about 70% of its full-time faculty is white, university data shows. Becker said the disparity has been a long-standing concern for him, and he is expected to announce a plan to address that issue next month, the newspaper reported.

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    Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, http://www.ajc.com

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