March 27, 2015
Report finds upward trend in college completion rates for Illinois’ African American and Hispanic students
Board will hold discussion on closing the academic gaps for college students who are underrepresented
SPRINGFIELD – On April 7, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) will examine the implications of the 2015 Underrepresented Student Groups Report, an annual examination of enrollment and completion rates, focused on students of color and students with disabilities at public universities. The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success, the state’s plan for assessing Illinois’ educational progress, has identified college success gaps for underrepresented groups a key impediment to achieving the goal of 60 percent of Illinois residents with a postsecondary degree or credential by 2025. The mid-point analysis of outcomes for the Illinois Public Agenda shows that in the last five years the gap continues to widen. In response, the Board has established an Action Team for Reducing Attainment Gaps. A group discussion will take place to examine the impact of the Report’s findings that even with a positive increase in graduation rates for African Americans and Hispanics, acceleration not only of enrollment, but also persistence to college completion for more underrepresented students is necessary.
The discussion with the Board will be led by a panel including Dr. Arthur Sutton, Deputy Director of Diversity and Outreach, IBHE; Dr. William Trent, Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Dr. Andrew Sund, President, Illinois Latino Council on Higher Education and President, St. Augustine College; Dr. Layla Suleiman Gonzalez, Executive Director, Illinois Latino Family Commission; and Mr. Michael Holmes, Executive Director, Illinois African American Family Commission.
“The Board is encouraged that college completions have increased for underrepresented citizens of Illinois,” said Lindsay Anderson, IBHE Chair. “We know that our state’s fastest growing and largest populations: low income, first generation, and adult students as well as students of color, especially Hispanics, require our attention and support, Improving the educational outcomes for these underrepresented groups in our colleges will help ensure brighter futures for them. Only with their successful participation will we reach the 2025 goal.”
The IBHE will meet at 1:00 p.m. on April 7 at the Trutter Center at Lincoln Land Community College, 5250 Shephard Road, Springfield.