Minority student retention rates up

By Galvin Kennedy

A study conducted by the Board of Regents shows improved retention rates for black students at NIU, both those admitted as freshman and as transfer students.

The study divides the students into two groups, one of which is those admitted through regular procedures and the other being those admitted through the CHANCE program.

The report analyzed the retention rates for several NIU groups of regularly admitted black students, specifically those who enrolled together as freshman in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983. The results show five-year retention rates of those four years of 21, 28, 28 and 40 percent respectively, the most significant increase for the 1983 cohort group.

The Regents’ study says four-year data for the 1984 cohort group of regularly admitted black students shows a similarly improving “persistence rate,” referring to the number of those contining their educations at NIU.

A July 25 Chicago Tribune article reported that Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves said the report “is not a picture of dramatic breakthrough” in elevating the college education of black students, but “is moderately encouraging” because of modest gains.

The progress of regularly admitted Hispanic freshman at NIU also was studied for the same cohort groups—those enrolled together in 1980, 1981, 1982 and 1983. Their five-year persistence rates were 59, 40, 54 and 58 percent respectively.

According to the report, NIU also has witnessed a significant improvement in the two-year persistence rate for black students transferring from another college or university—54 percent for those admitted in 1986. The data indicates a similar upward trend for 1987 transfer students.

The higher persistence rates “suggest a graduation rate that may be 15 to 20 percent higher than the 1980 for future graduating classes,” the report states.

Persistence rates for regularly admitted black and Hispanic students have been significantly higher for those admitted through the CHANCE program, the report indicates.

The average retention rates for black CHANCE students over the four-year period 1980-83 was 17 percent, for Hispanic students, 18 percent.

Efforts to improve the retention rates for minority students will be in the form of increasing the number of counselors in the CHANCE office.

Tendaji Ganges, NIU director of educational services and programs, said, “We are also telling students that it will take longer than four years to complete their degree and that they’ve got to be less shy about taking advantage of our services. They also must be deadly serious about their studies.”

See Retention Page 8


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