Antonio McGaha

Atlanta Metropolitan State College junior Antonio McGaha relaxes in the school’s lobby.

According to a news release, in the state college sector of the University System of Georgia, Atlanta Metropolitan State College has the highest associate degree graduation rates, the highest associate degree graduation rate for African-Americans and the highest associate degree graduation rate for African-American males.

“Lots of attention has been given to the use of predictive analytics in advising and its tremendous positive impact on graduation and retention rates,” college spokeswoman Sonja A. Roberts said in a statement. “The use of analytics in advising has helped many institutions close graduation and retention rates between races, while increasing overall graduation and retention rates.”

She said data give institutions a starting point and a certain kind of understanding into each student.

But it does not apply in the same way for some all institutions.

“Our students aren’t predictable,” Roberts said. “Social and psychological factors play heavily on our students’ ability to be successful in class, persist in college and complete their college degrees.”

She said the median income of the college’s neighborhood in south Fulton is lower than the city of Atlanta and of the entire Fulton County.

Many of the college’s students are underprepared and underfunded, she said, but the higher education institution provides support.

Among its success stories is Antonio McGaha, recognized on the school’s recent Honors Day for high-achieving students.

According to a news release, he is a junior social work major with a 4.0 grade point average, a member of the Kappa Delta Pi international honor society in education and a dean’s list scholar.

“Being a father, working full-time, and taking full-time courses has been a lot of hard work. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment,” McGaha said in a statement

McGaha, 39, also works with special needs students and volunteers teaching life skills to young men.

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