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An Innovative Approach to Launching and Sustaining Student Success


Navigating college for the first time can be daunting, especially when you’re the first from your family to do so.

This notion of firsts is what caught the Peyton Anderson Foundation’s attention when Middle Georgia State University presented plans for the Center to Launch and Sustain Student Success (CLASS).

The proposed 8,000-square-foot Macon campus center will be a key resource in helping prospective, incoming and current students navigate the process of applying to college, securing financial aid, meeting with academic advisors, registering for classes and transitioning into their professional careers, all within one central space.

Middle Georgia State University is Georgia’s most affordable public university. With diverse degree offerings, central locations (five campuses throughout Middle Georgia) and tuition and fees totaling approximately $4,600 a year, the university takes pride in its accessibility for students seeking postsecondary education, especially when they are the first in the family.

As part of their strategic plan, the university is developing academic pipelines to provide seamless pathways to progress from prospective student to engaged and employed alumnus.

According to the Georgia First Generation Foundation, 30 percent of college students today are the first in their family to attend college. Less than 20 percent of first-generation students overall earn their way to a bachelor’s degree, compared to 68 percent of their non-first-generation peers.

Middle Georgia State University is a crucial part of the economic future of Macon-Bibb County as it prepares students, who are often first generation, with CLASS’s innovative approach to higher education.

This summer, the Peyton Anderson Foundation announced its latest round of grant recipients, through which 18 community organizations will receive nearly $3.8 million toward place-based projects that benefit the needs of thousands of Central Georgians. The largest grant was $1.5 million to Middle Georgia State University for this exciting, necessary project.

“This extraordinary gift from the Peyton Anderson Foundation will enable Middle Georgia State University to create a first-rate facility, one focused on serving the needs of our most important stakeholders: students aspiring to achieve a college education,” said Middle Georgia State University President Christopher Blake, Ph.D. “We are committed to providing career-building, life-enriching degrees that allow and encourage graduates to strengthen both their families and communities. This gift allows the University to make significant progress toward providing a place and experience to ensure access to that opportunity.”

The Peyton Anderson Foundation is pleased to partner with Middle Georgia State University on this project. Having CLASS located on the Macon Campus further increases the importance our community already instills on Middle Georgia State University. After all, Macon grows stronger with each graduating class.

Karen Lambert is president of the Peyton Anderson Foundation.

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