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University System of Georgia sets record for degrees awarded despite COVID-19

The University System of Georgia (USG) awarded a record 72,929 degrees during the last fiscal year despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s 2,050 degrees more than the system awarded in fiscal 2020, representing a 3% increase.

“Students continue to show incredible fortitude despite the challenges of the pandemic, and I am incredibly grateful for their hard work and the support given to them by USG’s 26 public colleges and universities,” Acting Chancellor Teresa MacCartney said Tuesday. “Institutions understand how critical it is for Georgians to complete their degrees and join the state’s highly skilled workforce. As we look forward to a new academic year on campus, USG remains focused on fulfilling that mission and helping students succeed.”

The number of degrees awarded annually has increased every year since the university system joined the Complete College America program in 2011 and refocused efforts on raising educational attainment in Georgia.

As a result, the number of degrees awarded annually has increased nearly 33% during the last decade.

In her first report to the university system’s Board of Regents since taking on the role of acting chancellor last month, MacCartney supported Gov. Brian Kemp’s position of recommending that students and faculty wear masks to discourage the spread of COVID- 19 without imposing a government mandate.

MacCartney said wearing masks and getting vaccinated against the virus will help the system provide in-person instruction during the school year beginning this month, which she said is important “for the mental health of our students.” MacCartney said some campuses are doing their part to combat COVID-19 by setting up vaccine sites.

MacCartney took over as acting chancellor with the retirement of former Chancellor Steve Wrigley.

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