Hispanic enrollment up; graduation rates rise
UIC’s Hispanic student population increased to 26.4 percent this fall, according to 10th-day enrollment statistics — enough for the university to seek Hispanic-Serving Institution designation.
UIC created a task force to apply for the designation, granted by the U.S. Department of Education to colleges and universities where Hispanic students comprise at least 25 percent of the total student population. UIC will submit its application in the spring, which includes information on affordability, graduation rates, financial aid and other factors.
“It’s an important milestone in that we’re providing access for a large number of Latino students in the Chicago metro area to get a higher education degree,” said Tyrone Forman, vice provost for diversity. “But more important than being designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution is that we make sure we support the students once they’re here.”
Hispanic-Serving Institutions can receive federal grants for student support services, teaching equipment, construction or renovation of instructional facilities, faculty development, tutoring and counseling and other academic offerings.
“These grants can help us support the work that helps students actually graduate,” Forman said. “We want to make sure that students walk out of here four, five, six years later with a degree in hand.”
UIC was designated an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution in 2010.
Enrollment similar to last fall
Overall, the 10th-day enrollment statistics show that total student population remained relatively unchanged with 27,563 students, a decrease of 26 students from a record-high enrollment in 2013.
This year’s student body includes 16,707 undergraduates, 7,975 graduate students and 2,881 professional students.
“It’s a great class,” said Kevin Browne, vice provost for academic and enrollment services. “We were up in applications, there’s more diversity and students are applying from further and further afield. Our numbers in Chicago continue to be very strong.”
UIC has increased its recruitment efforts at home and abroad, Browne said. Recruiters visited 600 high schools in Illinois last year, as well as state community colleges, college fairs and community events.
UIC also sent recruiters to target markets in California, Washington, Texas, Georgia, Florida, New York, Maryland and Puerto Rico, Browne said.
International recruitment efforts are up, with visits to Central and South America, East Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East and North Africa. “Increasing international student population is really about building long-term relationships,” Browne said.
UIC is making college more affordable for some out-of-state students with the UIC Chicago Grant, a pilot program for the 2014 and 2015 academic years. The grant pays half the difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition — $7,098 for 2014. The award is available for up to four years of undergraduate study.
“It makes UIC much more likely to attract students,” Browne said.
Graduation rates up
Other student data released this month shows that graduation rates are improving.
The 2014 six-year graduation rate for the cohort of full-time freshmen who entered UIC in fall 2008 is 60 percent, up 3 percentage points compared to 2013. The five-year graduation rate for the new transfer cohort that entered in fall 2009 also rose 3 percentage points, to 77 percent.
Within the new transfer cohort, African-American students had the larges increase — up 18 percentage points to 79 percent in 2014.