LATINO VOICES
12/03/2012 10:36 am ET

Colleges With The Highest Hispanic Graduation Rates, Report

When it comes to Hispanics and higher education, few colleges in the nation have an acceptable graduation rate to show for, according to a new report by the Education Trust, Advancing to Completion: Increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for Hispanic students.

“Institutions can benchmark their progress toward producing more degrees in two ways: Some colleges can focus on making gains in graduation rates for their Hispanic students, while others can focus on closing gaps between Hispanic students and white students,” read the report.

Illinois State University is one of the few that ranked high for graduating Hispanic students.

“This report is a reflection of our efforts to create an inclusive environment at Illinois State, and our goal to enroll and retain high-achieving, diverse and motivated students,” Illinois State Provost Sheri Everts said in a statement.

The report places Illinois state in 19th place for closing the graduation gap between Hispanic students and others, and also positions the school 19th in the nation for universities making gains in Hispanic graduation rates.

Other school making the list included Virginia Commonwealth University, Stephen F. Austin, Southern University, and the University of Georgia.

At the top of the list, however, is Eastern Connecticut State University, followed by Georgia State University and East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

“The overall gap has modestly narrowed from 2004 to 2010, since graduation rates increased slightly more for Hispanic students at the schools that met these criteria than for white students,” stated the report. “Today, there is a 14-point gap between Hispanic and white students across study institutions.”

Closing the education gap is made possible through many programs offered by the top 25 colleges listed in The Education Trust report.

Among those programs is The Educational Opportunity Program offered at the New York school, Stony Brook. The program has helped Stony Brook top the list of Hispanic-friendly colleges, and the initiative helps approximately 600 low-income students attend and graduate from college.

“A main limitation of these programs, however, is that they have not yet achieved transformative potential,” explained Stony Brook’s David Ferguson, chair of the Department of Technology and Society, and director of the STEM Smart Programs. “There have been a lot of people doing a lot of great things, but the next step is to talk about institutional sustainability. Similar to how there is an infrastructure that supports the university’s research agenda, we need an infrastructure to support diversity to move our institution forward.”

Public institutions are not the only schools mentioned in the report, and The Education Trust also lists the top private colleges with high Hispanic graduation rates.

“On average, trends among private nonprofits are worse than those found in the public
sector,” explained the report.

Among the for profit colleges with high Hispanic graduation rates were Texas Wesleyan University, followed by Seattle University and Dowling College.

“Only when colleges institutionalize the policies and practices that make programs for underrepresented students successful will they bring about a transformative process that benefits all students, and Hispanic students in particular,” concluded the report.

Read the entire report and see the complete list of colleges here.

Originally published as "Report Identifies Nation Colleges With Highest Hispanic Graduation Rates," by Voxxi.

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