Student Achievement

Georgia Tech identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. Georgia Tech uses multiple measures to document student success.

Georgia Tech is a science and technology-focused public research university and, according to its mission, is committed to developing leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. Together, the Institute’s leadership and the Complete College Georgia (CCG) Steering Committee identify measurable goals and outcomes for student achievement. Additionally, the Core Mission Statement for Research Universities of the University System of Georgia details “a commitment to a teaching/learning environment, both inside and outside the classroom, that sustains instructional excellence, serves a diverse and well-prepared student body, provides academic assistance, and promotes high levels of student achievement.”

To realize this mission, Georgia Tech is dedicated to preparing students to succeed academically and to prosper in a competitive global economy. Consequently, student achievement is evaluated through multiple measures at the Institute level. The criteria include first-year retention rate, IPEDS 6-year graduation rate, Master’s degree production, and Ph.D. degrees conferred. See the following table for a summary of Georgia Tech student achievement criteria, the associated threshold of acceptability, target performance, and rational for each criteria.


Undergraduate Education
Criteria Threshold of Acceptability Target
First-Year Retention Rate 93% 95%
Appropriateness
& Justification
This criteria was selected as it is in alignment with Georgia Tech mission to advance technology and improve the human condition. As student retention is important in this endeavor, the criteria provides key insights into the effectiveness of Georgia Tech programming. The threshold of acceptability is an average retention rate of ten public peer institutions. It is benchmarked based on the performance of peer institutions. The target is an average retention rate of five R-1, Association of American Universities (AAU) peers in the southern region. It is benchmarked based on the performance of peer institutions with very high research activities.
Calculation: The percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students who return to school the following fall.
IPEDS Six-Year Graduation Rate 84% 87%
Appropriateness
& Justification
With high enrollment in STEM programs, this criteria was selected as it is in alignment with Georgia Tech’s mission to advance technology and improve the human condition. For SACSCOC, Georgia Tech identified the IPEDS traditional overall graduation rate (150% standard time) as its key student completion indicator. This criteria also provides key insights into the effectiveness of Georgia Tech programming. The threshold of acceptability is the average IPEDS traditional overall graduation rate of five R-1 (non-AAU) peers in the southern region. It is benchmarked based on the performance of peer institutions. The target is the average IPEDS traditional overall graduation rate of five R-1, AAU peers in the southern region. It is benchmarked based on the performance of peer institutions with very high research activities.
Calculation: The percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students who complete their program within six years.
Graduate Education
Master's Degree Production Rate 93% 95%
Appropriateness
& Justification
This criteria is selected as Georgia Tech continues to define what it means to be a leading public technological university while the world is looking to research universities for solutions. This criteria is in alignment with Georgia Tech mission. The threshold of acceptability is purposefully set at the highest degree production rate among ten peers in the southern region. The target set at the highest degree production rate among five R-1, AAU peers in the southern region. It is benchmarked based on the performance of peer institutions with very high research activities.
Calculation: The average number of Master’s degrees awarded per student FTE at an institution.
Ph.D. Degrees Conferred 84% 87%
Appropriateness
& Justification
This criteria is in alignment with Georgia Tech’s mission. Maintaining a reasonable threshold of 500 PhDs ensures that Georgia Tech is contributing to the AAU’s goals for research and graduate education. This threshold of acceptability is set to meet AAU expectations. The target is set based on the internal trend data- the average of Ph.D. degrees conferred over the past six years to reflect students we served and programs we offered.
Calculation: A number of degrees awarded at Ph.D. level.
Note: SACSCOC: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges; AAU: Association of American Universities; IPEDS: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

Undergraduate Education

Retention Rates

First-Year retention rate is a metric used by institutions of higher education across the nation and is congruent with Georgia Tech’s mission, which is rooted in promoting high levels of student achievement as a way of developing leaders who advance technology and improve human condition. The retention rates measure the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students who return to Georgia Tech the following fall. The first-time, full-time student retention rate provides key insights with respect to whether or not students are struggling academically or socially, which generally results in student departure. It also indicates whether support systems are working as designed to impact student success.

First Year Retention Rate
Cohort Threshold of Acceptability Actual Target
2019 93% 97% 95%
2018 93% 97% 95%
2017 93% 97% 95%
2016 93% 97% 95%
2015 93% 97% 95%
Data Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) Fall Enrollment Survey

Six-Year Graduation Rate

As a science and technology-focused institution, Georgia Tech’s STEM activities are central to its mission. The sustained economic impact made possible through a better-prepared STEM workforce is significant, and graduating a larger number of STEM students to meet workforce needs is a high priority for Georgia Tech. Therefore, in addition to retention rate, student graduation rate is another critical metric as a measure of accountability used by institutions of higher education across the nation and is also congruent with Georgia Tech’s mission to promote high levels of student achievement. Consistent with SACSCOC expectations related to student completion indicators, Georgia Tech has selected the traditional IPEDS six-year graduation rate. The six-year graduation rate measures the percentage of first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students who complete their program at Georgia Tech within six years. Given the importance of an educated and skilled workforce to both the State of Georgia and to the national agenda, Georgia Tech adopted the traditional Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) six-year graduation rate as an essential student achievement criteria.

Six Year Graduation Rate
Fall Cohort Threshold of Acceptability Actual Target
2014 84% 91% 87%
2013 84% 90% 87%
2012 84% 85% 87%
2011 84% 84% 87%
2010 84% 86% 87%
Data Source: IPEDS Graduation Rate Survey

NCAA Graduation Rate

The NCAA developed the Graduation Success Rate to account for transfer in/out student-athletes, mid-year enrollees and recruited student-athletes at schools that do not offer athletics aid. See the following table for a summary of Georgia Tech student athlete graduation rate.

NCAA Graduation Rates 2014
Six-Year Athlete Federal Graduation Rate 76%
Men (Athlete) 74%
Women (Athlete) 79%
Six-Year NCAA Graduation Success Rate 88%
Men (Athlete) 84%
Women (Athlete) 94%
Data Source: NCAA

Pell Graduation Rate

Pell Graduation Rate 2014
Six-Year Pell Grant Eligible Graduation Rate 85%
Data Source: IPEDS Completions Survey

Graduate Education

The goals for graduate education at Georgia Tech are to establish an educational environment that will strengthen students’ personal and professional development; to encourage students and faculty to pursue the discovery and generation of new knowledge through research; to investigate ways of applying such knowledge for the benefit of society and humanity; and to foster the development of new tools, objects, and ideas. Georgia Tech’s graduate program enrollment continues to be strong.

Master's Degree Production Rate

As graduate education in Science and Engineering is critical to Georgia Tech’s role in fostering economic development for the State of Georgia and the nation, Georgia Tech has chosen to focus on the degree production rate for its Master’s students. To compare Georgia Tech to our peer institutions, which includes institutions of different sizes, we average degrees per student FTE to calculate a degree production rate. The average range of our 10 SACSCOC peers’ degree production ratio is 6.2%-6.4%. For this reason, the threshold of acceptability for Master’s degree production rate is set at 6.4%. The average of the 5 SACSCOC AAU peer institutions’ degree production rate is 6.6%-7.0%. As such, Georgia Tech has set the target for Master’s degree production rate at 7.0%. Given the growth in our graduate education over the last five years, Georgia Tech has consistently outperformed our peers over the last five years.

Degrees Conferred – Master's
Academic Year Threshold of Acceptability Degree Production Rate Target
2019-20 6.4% 10.9% (n = 4,073) 7.0%
2018-19 6.4% 10.8% (n = 3,042) 7.0%
2017-18 6.4% 9.4% (n = 2,524) 7.0%
2016-17 6.4% 9.2% (n = 2,296) 7.0%
2015-16 6.4% 7.9% (n = 1,882) 7.0%
Data Source: IPEDS Completions Survey

Ph.D. Degrees Conferred

Based on Georgia Tech’s performance, the AAU extended a membership invitation to Georgia Tech in 2010. As an R1 research university, Georgia Tech aims to maintain high quality graduate education. Compared to the Master's degree, PhD degrees require a significant investment of time and effort. The average number of PhDs awarded at AAU institutions is 486. Maintaining a reasonable threshold of 500 PhDs on average over three years will ensure that Georgia Tech is contributing to the AAU’s goals for research and graduate education.

Degrees Conferred – Ph.D.
Academic Year Threshold of Acceptability Actual Target
2019-20 500 527 529
2018-19 500 530 529
2017-18 500 508 529
2016-17 500 531 529
2015-16 500 526 529
2014-15 500 553 529
Data Source: IPEDS Completions Survey

Student Achievement Disclosure Policy and Requirements

As part of the disclosure requirements of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 2008 and the Policy on Institutional Obligations for Public Disclosure of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) that institutions publish "statements of its goals for student achievement and the success of students in achieving those goals.”

Higher Education Opportunity Act, 2008

Title I, Section 103, requires institutions eligible for Title IV funding to calculate completion or graduation rates of certificate- or degree-seeking, full-time students entering that institution, and to disclose these rates to all students and prospective students. The Student-Right-to-Know requires the six-year (150 percent of time) graduation rate. This information is updated prior to the beginning of each academic year.

Selected Public R-1 Peer Institutions in the Southern Region

AAU: Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Florida, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Virginia

Non-AAU: Clemson University, North Carolina State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, University of Georgia, Florida State University