Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

University Systems Commit to Closing Gap

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

University Systems Commit to Closing Gap

Article excerpt

Black college students earn bachelor's degrees at nearly half the rate--Hispanic students at nearly less than a third the rate--of White students. Low-income students get their undergraduate degrees at one-eighth the rate of more economically advantaged students.

Nineteen public higher education systems across the country have banded together to try to reverse those trends. They are participating in the Access to Success initiative, a National Association of Systems Heads (NASH) project aiming to shave by half the gaps in both college-going and degree-completion rates that separate low-income and minority students from others by 2015.

"This has the potential to be one of the most significant initiatives impacting the future of higher education in America," said Dr. Ralph Slaughter, president of Southern University System, the nation's only historically Black university system.

The project's 19 systems plan a four-pronged approach to address the problem:

* Increasing student access in remedial courses and other large-enrollment introductory courses;

* Managing costs and investing in student success;

* Improving preparation among entering students; and

* Maximizing financial aid for low-income students. …

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