Press Releases | General Education

Georgia Colleges Earn High Marks on Annual Liberal Arts Report Card

What Will They Learn? survey finds most Georgia colleges require a strong liberal arts foundation for undergrads
December 8, 2016 by ACTA

WASHINGTON, DC —Georgia institutions of higher education ranked above average in general education, according to the new What Will They Learn? report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). Of the 29 major Georgia colleges surveyed, twenty-one earned a “B” or higher for their core requirements.

The report highlighted several findings that reinforce the strong liberal arts curriculum required at many Georgia colleges and universities. At a time when STEM careers are projected to grow three times faster than jobs in non-STEM industries, all of the twenty-nine colleges surveyed require science and two-thirds require college-level mathematics. Impressively, all but one of Georgia’s colleges and universities require writing composition, and all except six require students to take U.S. history.

Now in its 8th edition, What Will They Learn? evaluates the strength of core curricula at every major undergraduate college and university in the U.S., based on the requirement of seven key subjects: Composition, Literature, Intermediate-level Foreign Language, U.S. History or Government, Economics, Mathematics, and Natural Science. Schools receive a grade on an “A” through “F” scale, with only 25 schools nationwide earning an “A” by requiring six or more of those core subjects.

Georgia boasts four “A” schools— Clark Atlanta University, Georgia Southern University, Kennesaw State University, Morehouse College, and the University of Georgia. No school received a grade lower than a C, according to ACTA’s liberal arts report card.

“Georgia’s colleges and universities deserve enormous praise for their commitment to traditional liberal arts and preparing students for 21st Century careers and citizenship,” Dr. Michael B. Poliakoff. “While universities in many other states throw out essential requirements for the flavor of the month, the study of American history and many other core subjects is alive and well in Georgia. We salute these schools for living up to the highest ideals of the liberal arts.”

While Georgia exceeds the national average, there still remains room for improvement: eight institutions received a grade of “C”, leaving large numbers of graduates with significant gaps in their knowledge and ill-prepared for their careers. Only two institutions require economics, and only five require foreign language at an intermediate-level.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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