What is GEO’s Role in Helping People Live Longer, Earn More, and be more Civically Engaged? Responding to Bill Gates



In Bill Gates’ latest GatesNotes, he discusses how Northern Arizona University is redefining the value of a college degree.

Gates argues that students earning a college degree live longer, earn more, and are more civically engaged. Ok, so how do we get more students to go to college and complete college?

The Gates Foundation landed on accessibility, affordability and economic mobility as a new way to define the value of a college education. Love it!

I’d like to think GEO is working hard in support of this goal by redefining the value of a high school diploma.

Mr. Gates, please take a look at GEO’s high schools. That’s right. Our high schools. We are focused on making college more accessible, affordable and improving the upward economic mobility of all our students–most of whom are in underserved communities in their cities including Gary, Indianapolis and Baton Rouge.

While our high schools are not colleges, our students frequently earn college degrees before graduating from our high schools. We make college accessibility a priority by enrolling our students as early as 9th grade in real college courses. And our students afford it because we pay for all college-related expenses–tuition, textbooks, transportation, and academic/social supports. And yes, our students are well on their way to improving their economic status in society–more degrees and no college debt.

Here are early results from our Class of 2023.

Before graduating from our open-enrollment GEO Next Generation High School in Baton Rouge, SIX (10%) of our students earned two years of college. This is a value of $20,000-$24,000 depending on where they choose to attend college in Louisiana next year. Three of the six students are headed to LSU saving $24,000 each in tuition, two are headed to Xavier and both of these students earned full ride scholarships (more than $200K) and one is headed to University of Louisiana Lafayette and she saved $20,000. That’s just savings in tuition. They also saved themselves two years of time. Four of these six are first generation college-bound students, too.

A total of 25 (nearly 40%) of our Baton Rouge seniors have earned at least one full year of college already. A value of at least $10,000 to each student. FYI, we are open enrollment, too. College accessibility? Check. College affordability? Check. Improving their place on the economic ladder of upward mobility? Yep!

In Indy, 21 students will graduate from GEO Next Gen High School Indy this year. This school opened during the pandemic three years ago yet five of our graduates already earned the Indiana College Core (a full year of college). These five students also participated in the Ivy Tech Community College graduation ceremony last week (see some pics above and below). Eight of our students earned academic honors, 17 of the 21 are already enrolled in college (not just accepted), one is headed to Boston University, two (twins) are headed to Howard University, three are headed to U Indy, others are headed to IUPUI, Ball State, Indiana State and U of South Florida. Eleven of our students are first generation college-going students. Of these 11, seven earned an average of 26 college credits already.

A year of tuition at IUPUI is $10,000, at Boston University it’s $61,000, $29,000 at Howard, $10,000 at Ball State and $9,500 at Indiana State. College accessibility? Check. College affordability? Check. Improving their place on the economic ladder of upward mobility? Yep!

In Gary, we see more of the same excellence. Seven seniors (10%) have earned their associate degree saving themselves two years of time and more than $20,000 depending on what college they choose next year. Six others have earned a full year of college saving themselves $10,000 each and a year of time in college after high school. Our Gary students are headed to Indiana University, Purdue University, IUPUI, Ball State, Indiana State, Central State, Kentucky State, and many others.

In Gary, we actually have two students working to earn a full bachelor’s degree at IUN and PNW while in our high school. They will achieve their goals and be college debt free in 2024.

College accessibility? Check. College affordability? Check. Improving their place on the economic ladder of upward mobility? Yep!

Of course, all our students have earned much more, too. In addition to saving time and money in college after high school, each of our students have earned real college experience. They know what college professors are like, what a syllabus is, what the registrar’s office is, how to navigate the college book store, etc. They’ve learned time management and self-discipline skills, as well as how to work with others who don’t look like them, too. In short, they are very well prepared to not just go to college but to complete college.

This is why we do what we do. This is why we design our schools the way we do. More students benefit from the real college experiences we provide. The data proves it.

Mr. Gates, please come visit one of our schools. Our students will amaze you!


Kevin Teasley
Founder & President
GEO Foundation

P.S.: GEO is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Next week, we will celebrate our 10th anniversary of working in Baton Rouge. If you want to join us on May 16th in Baton Rouge, please click this link 10th Anniversary Dinner Celebration to RSVP. Thank you.

Our Fab Five! These five GEO Next Gen High School Indy students participated in the Ivy Tech Community College graduation ceremony last week. It was a terrific ceremony and celebration of excellence. Four are pictured above including (from top left to right) Anthony, Esther, Kimberly and Clinton.