Study ranks UIC top in the state when it comes to ‘Return-on-Investment’

A study by the Illinois Education Research Council found that UIC leads the state when it came to catering to students from underserved communities.

The University of Illinois at Chicago is the top four-year, post-secondary institution in the state when it comes to helping students from traditionally underserved populations succeed, according to a study released Monday by the Illinois Education Research Council.

The study, “Cornerstones of Student Success: Institutions Yielding High Return on Investment for Underserved Students,” analyzed 55 four-year colleges or universities in Illinois, including private nonprofit and private for-profit schools.

The study focused on highlighting schools that fostered degree completion and job success with less debt for underrepresented minority students, first-generation students and low-income students, according to the study’s authors, Janet K. Holt and Daniel Q. Duffy.

The study found that “the University of Illinois at Chicago scored much higher on the overall component than any other institution,” according to the authors of the report.

“This report further emphasizes our continued commitment to helping students from traditionally underserved backgrounds have the opportunity to receive a stellar education,” said UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis.

Among its findings, the study ranked the following in order behind UIC: Illinois Institute of Technology, Elmhurst College, Saint Xavier University, Eastern Illinois University, DePaul University and Western Illinois University.

Among the highlights, UIC had the largest “Return-on-Investment” when compared with the seven schools when it came to degree completion, graduation and the cost of education for traditionally underserved groups.

While UIC scored much higher than the other schools, UIC also had the highest percentage of students in need of financial assistance through Pell Grants, with about 50 percent requiring the aid.

UIC tied with Saint Xavier University for the highest percentage of Hispanic students and second highest for the number of first-generation students among the top seven schools.

UIC had the lowest net price tuition of the seven schools for families with incomes between $0 and $30,000, and the lowest net price for families who make between $30,000 and $48,000. According to the authors, the low prices translate to the lowest median debt for graduates in the top seven schools at $18,750.

“In addition to low debt, UIC graduates reported the second-highest earnings in the top seven at $51,100, which was $9,000 higher than the average earning for all 55 institutions,” according to the study.

The study also found that schools with the highest proportion of students in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, had greater graduation rates and higher earnings after college.

When it came to STEM-related degrees completed, UIC issued the second-highest level of STEM related degrees at 30 percent, behind IIT with 89 percent.

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