Illinois Committee Suggests Access, Diversity Changes to Higher Ed Board
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. A new study suggests Illinois higher education officials should make changes to better serve a boom in college students and reverse a growing dropout rate. A nine-member committee appointed by the Illinois Board of Higher Education reported its findings on access and diversity from a two-year study at the board’s meeting last month at Triton College in River Grove, Ill. The committee found a more than 20 percent increase in the number of Illinois high school students going to college in the last 15 years, led by unprecedented growth in the number of disabled and minority students. Their study also found an increase in the number of students who drop out well before they get a degree. About one-third of entering freshmen drop out before finishing their first year. They recommended legislation that would require all high school students to complete a college preparatory curriculum. The committee wants more focus put on preparing high school seniors to go to college and helping college freshmen so they don’t drop out. It also would create new state grant programs to promote diversity on college campuses and improve services and access for the disabled. The committee condemned recent legislative attempts to reward students who have high grade point averages or graduating class rankings with guaranteed admission and free tuition to state colleges and universities. Those factors should instead be part of a comprehensive admissions plan, the group said. The board is expected to vote on the report at its June meeting in Normal, Ill.
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