| May 31, 2005
REPORT FINDS GAINS IN MINORITY ENROLLMENTS, GRADUATION
SPRINGFIELD - Minority students throughout Illinois higher
education continue to register progress in enrollments and degree
completions, according to a report to the Illinois Board of Higher
Education. There remains, however, room for improvement in sustaining
college opportunity for some minority groups.
The annual Underrepresented Groups Report headlines a noteworthy
array of informational reports to the Board at its regular meeting
scheduled for June 7 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In
addition to the survey of campus diversity, Dr. Jennifer Presley,
a noted researcher on trends in educational attainment, will address
Board members on a study of college readiness and retention. The
Board also will consider a report on progress in gender equity in
In fall 2004, there were 75,279 African American undergraduates
at Illinois colleges and universities, an increase of 2 percent
over a year earlier and of 17 percent since 1994. Enrollment of
Hispanic undergraduates totaled 48,023 in fall 2004, an increase
of 4 percent over fall 2003 and more than 63 percent over a decade
earlier. Enrollments of undergraduate Asian students rose nearly
22 percent over the 10-year period, and 14 percent for Native American
At community colleges, Native American students were the only minority
group to experience an enrollment decline (3.6 percent) between
1994 and 2004, while others posted increases, ranging from 8 percent
for Asian students to 61 percent for Hispanics. At public universities,
African American enrollment declined by 6 percent between 1994 and
2004. Both Hispanics (36 percent) and Asians (22 percent) gained
enrollment while Native Americans had no change.
Bachelor's degrees awarded to African American students in 2004
increased just over 1 percent while the 10-year increase was nearly
46 percent. Baccalaureate degrees declined for Hispanic students
in 2004, compared with a year earlier, but over the 10-year period
rose 95 percent. Asian students also experienced a decline in bachelor's
degrees in 2004, compared with 2003, but had a 48 percent increase
over the decade. Bachelor's degrees for Native American students
rose 51 percent in 2004, compared with 2003, and 127 percent over
the 10-year span.
The Underrepresented Groups Report also contains a census of students
with disabilities. In 2004, College of DuPage had the largest community
college enrollment of disabled students - 1,237, or 4 percent of
its total enrollment. Wright College in Chicago had the highest
percentage of students with disabilities, 8.2 percent of its enrollment.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign had the most students
with disabilities in 2004 - 1,063, or 2.6 percent of its enrollment.
Northeastern Illinois University had the highest percentage of disabled
students among public universities, 8.1 percent of its total enrollment.
The report also details a variety of university and community college
programs aimed at bolstering academic achievement and examines retention
rates for various groups of students and institutions.
Board members will hear a presentation by Dr. Presley, director
of the Illinois Education Research Institute at Southern Illinois
University-Edwardsville, about a longitudinal study of the freshman
class of 2002. Her report will focus on the students' academic readiness
for college and on retention rates.
The Board also will consider a report outlining policies at public
universities concerning the use of tuition waivers to promote gender
equity in intercollegiate sports. Since 1995, the year before the
gender equity waivers became available through state law, significant
growth has occurred in the participation of female students in intercollegiate
athletics and the resources devoted to women's sports. However,
while women comprise 52 percent of university enrollments, expenditures
on female athletic programs make up just 37 percent of athletic
The Board's action agenda includes program approvals for new associate
degree programs at Elgin Community College, Kaskaskia College, College
of Lake County, Southwestern Illinois College, and Waubonsee Community
College. Illinois State University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
also are seeking new degree programs, and ISU has asked for Board
approval of a Center for Adoption Studies, and the University of
Illinois at Chicago seeks endorsement for a new Center for Lung
and Vascular Biology. Nine private institutions - American College
of Education, Fox College, Lewis University, New York Institute
of Technology (Ellis College), Rasmussen College, Rockford College,
the University of St. Francis, Vatterott College, and Westwood College
- seek approval for operating and/or degree-granting authority.