Eastern Connecticut State University ranks number one in a national study of six-year graduation rates of Hispanic students among public universities and colleges, according to their report, “Advancing to completion: increasing degree attainment by improving graduation rates and closing gaps for Hispanic students.”
ESCU has long been admired for its innovative and effective linkages with public schools and programs to increase retention and success for non-traditional students.
According to ECSU's press release:
"The Education Trust study examined the graduation rates of 391 public and private colleges and universities in the United States, detailing the results for African American, Hispanic and white students, as well as the overall graduation rates of all students at those institutions.
"For the class of full-time, first-time students entering in fall 1998, the six-year graduation rate was barely 20 percent for Hispanic students at Eastern. However, for those Hispanic students entering in 2004, the proportion who had graduated by 2010 was 57.8 percent, representing almost a three-fold increase from the initial baseline class.
"This figure is actually above Eastern’s overall graduation rate of 52.4 percent for the entire entering class of 2004. In addition, Eastern’s improvement rate of 37.8 percent far exceeds the overall improvement rate among the study’s 391 institutions of 3.5 percent, as well as the 3.9 percent improvement rate among the study’s 228 public colleges and universities.
'While we know that there is much more work to be done on our campus in supporting Latino and other underrepresented students to achieve their educational goals and graduate from college, I am very pleased with today’s announcement,' said Eastern President Elsa Núñez. 'This is a tribute to the work of our faculty and staff in providing support to students who face a myriad of issues in enrolling in and succeeding at college — language barriers, cultural isolation, financial challenges and lack of family history as it relates to college attendance.'
'Raising the graduation rate for Hispanic students by nearly 40 percentage points in only six years is no small feat, and President Núñez and her team deserve an extraordinary amount of credit for relentlessly focusing on the success of all of the students at Eastern,' said Robert Kennedy, president of the Board of Regents for Higher Education of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities. 'This level of performance helps expose and shatter the myth that demographics are destiny in college completion and educational success. As we focus on encouraging and supporting more students to finish their degrees across our institutions, this news is a timely reminder that success isn’t bound by demographics.'
The release continues:
"The Eastern president also noted that in addition to students with academic challenges, higher-performing Hispanic students are also staying at Eastern for their entire college experience as they find the University’s liberal arts program and student leadership opportunities on campus to be challenging and rewarding.
" 'It is equally important for students of color to see familiar faces at the front of the classroom,' said Núñez, indicating that Eastern has the largest percentage of minority faculty of any college or university in Connecticut."
Congratulations to ECSU and its President, Dr. Elsa Nunez, who is also a member of CAHS's Board of Directors.