Supporting students with outstanding balances to continue their studies at Georgia State University through retention grants


How might we allocate funds for emergency financial aid?


Developed Panther Retention Grants between $300-$2,500 to support students to continue their studies who would otherwise be dropped from classes because of small outstanding balances. Funds are allocated right before drop day, with priority given to juniors and seniors (often seniors who have exhausted their financial aid), followed by students with the smallest outstanding balances.


With more than 1,000 well qualified students being dropped each semester due to the state mandate to pay full balances by the first week of classes, GSU first piloted the grant program through a personal donation from the University President and his wife before launching the Panther Retention Grants program with $2M of funding sourced from student fees. Some highlights of the program’s impact include:

  • More than 80% of recipients are retained or graduate within two semesters
  • Freshmen offered the grant in Fall 2014 had 1-yr retention rate of 88%, versus the university average of 83%
  • From a financial perspective, the average grant is $900, however, GSU is able to recapture $4,400 in full-time tuition/semester that would have otherwise been lost
  • The rate of ‘returnees’ has been kept under 25%

Ready to take action?

Brainstorming prompts for you and your team to consider

Learn more about financial aid from our research




Pell Recipients


Students of Color


Net cost of Attendance

$30,357 (in-state)