NIU highlights efforts at recruitment, retainment

By Brian Slupski

NIU highlighted its efforts at minority recruitment and retainment at a Wednesday Board of Regents meeting.

Last year minority students made up 15.7 percent of NIU’s undergraduate population. The number of regularly-admitted African-American students increased by 15.6 percent, while the number of new Latino students jumped by 2.1 percent.

NIU officials said the university is increasing its minority enrollment through programs like Educational Services and Programs. The program is geared toward recruiting and retaining minority high school graduates who don’t meet NIU admission requirements but show academic promise.

The ESP freshman class of 1984 had a graduation rate of 21 percent. The rate has been steadily increasing since then, with a 25 percent graduation rate recorded for 1986 and 5 percent of the students still enrolled.

Another NIU program offers tuition waivers to new and continuing minority students. Every African-American or Latino student admitted to NIU who ranks in the top third of his or her class high school class and has an ACT score of at least 22 is eligible for the tuition waiver. Minority transfer students are also eligible for the program if they have a 3.0 GPA with at least 24 credit hours. All students holding a waiver must maintain a GPA of 2.75. The total number of waivers for the fall semester is 137.

NIU also has numerous campus visits for prospective minority students, as well as an extensive mailing list aimed at recruiting minority students out of high schools and community colleges.

Assistant Provost Lynne Waldeland said NIU has been working with high schools to better prepare students for college.

Waldeland said NIU is trying to recruit minority faculty. There are currently 122 minority faculty at NIU, up 5 percent from last year.

Competition from other schools makes minority faculty retention difficult. “It’s getting to be a bidding war,” she said.