Study shows NIU has low minority transfer retention

By Holly Schubert

A study focusing on minority transfer student retention found that only a small percentage of minority students in community colleges transfer to NIU, Illinois State University, or Sangamon State University to earn a baccalaureate degree.

The study, presented to the Board of Regents at their July 21 meeting, found that of the bulk of minority students in community colleges, most do not transfer to a four-year institution. However, when minority students do transfer into senior institutions, they do fairly well in comparison to new freshmen students starting at the senior institutions.

Because only a small number of minority students transfer to NIU, it is difficult to analyze trends. Of the minority transfer students entering NIU in 1980, 25 percent graduated. Thirty-six percent of the minority students entering NIU in 1981 graduated, an increase of 11 percent. Thirty-four percent of the minority students entering NIU in 1982 graduated, a slight decrease of two percent.

Of the transfer students entering NIU in 1987, 2.2 percent were black, 2.2 percent were hispanic and 2.2 percent were asian. The majority, 91 percent, of the transfer students were white. Although there has been some improvement in recruitment and retention of minorities, NIU officials want to increase the percentage of minority students from community colleges that transfer and graduate.

The study also found that students transferring from community colleges have a higher graduation rate than those transferring from four-year schools.

Lou Jean Moyer, NIU assistant provost, said, “We all recognize there is a problem, but it’s a hard one to correct. The majority of the minority pool come out of Chicago and when they go to a four-year institution, they don’t want to leave the Chicago area. So they tend to transfer to schools in and near the city.”

Moyer said she will get information from deans and the NIU Community College Relations Department regarding suggestions for improving NIU’s minority recruitment and retention.