Campus News

UGA among nation’s top universities for graduation rate among Pell Grant recipients

UGA is 23rd among four-year public universities for graduation rates among students who receive federal Pell Grants. (Andrew Davis Tucker/UGA)

The University of Georgia’s commitment to providing students tailored support and an engaging learning environment has made it one of the nation’s top universities for student success.

In a list recently published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, UGA ranks 23rd among four-year public universities for its graduation rate among students who receive federal Pell Grants, which are awarded to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need.

UGA’s 79.5% six-year graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients (based on data from the cohort of first-year students who began in 2012) puts it just ahead of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Wisconsin­-Madison. UGA has since increased its graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients to 81% for the 2013 and the 2014 cohorts, according to data from the university’s Office of Institutional Research.

Among the four-year public universities ranked in the top 50 for graduation rates among Pell Grant recipients by the Chronicle, UGA has the 20th most Pell Grant recipients.

“The University of Georgia is committed to ensuring that students from all backgrounds can achieve their goals,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “We are proud to be among the nation’s best in helping Pell Grant recipients succeed, and we will continue working to expand the opportunities available to these deserving students.”

The graduation rate ranking for Pell Grant recipients comes on the heels of UGA’s No. 16 U.S. News and World Report ranking among the best public universities in the nation and UGA’s recognition as a recipient of INSIGHT Into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award for the eighth consecutive year.

“Seeing students thrive in their academic pursuits is immensely rewarding,” said S. Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I am grateful for the dedication of the faculty, staff and academic leaders who make such high levels of student success possible.”

Tailored support, engaging learning environment

UGA has made expansion of need-based scholarship aid a key priority. The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program, for example, established in 2017, has created more than 600 endowed, need-based scholarships. To date, donors have given over $90 million through the program for need-based aid. The UGA Foundation recently allocated another $1 million in matching funds to the program to encourage donors to create additional scholarships.

Besides funding, the Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program offers tutoring, academic coaching, tailored advising sessions, success workshops and more. There are currently more than 500 Georgia Commitment Scholarship recipients on campus, and they have a 96% retention rate.

UGA has long been a leader in providing students with hands-on learning experiences that are associated with greater engagement, higher graduation rates and career success. The Office of Experiential Learning offers scholarships to support experiential learning activities, as does the Office of Global Engagement and several additional campus units. An increasing number of Georgia Commitment Scholarships now include funding for experiential learning.

“We have been working hard to ensure that all students, regardless of their income levels, are able to succeed and graduate in a timely manner,” said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. “The Georgia Commitment Scholarship program is serving hundreds of students on campus, and experiential learning scholarships help students afford travel, technology, software or other costs associated with experiential learning activities. We’re constantly thinking of ways to enhance our academic environment while minimizing costs for students.”

For students with financial need who have one semester remaining to graduate, the Office of Student Financial Aid offers one-time completion grants. Other need-based scholarship programs include the Georgia Access Scholarship and REACH Georgia. To address food insecurity among students, the Division of Student Affairs offers the Let All the Big Dawgs Eat Food Scholarship.

For additional information on scholarships and grants available to UGA students, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid at To support need-based scholarships for UGA students, visit