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ERIC Number: ED574360
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 4
Degrees with Less Debt: Effective Higher Education Strategies for Underrepresented Student Populations. Research Highlights. IERC 2017-2
Holt, Janet K.; White, Bradford R.; Terrell, Sarah K.
Illinois Education Research Council
The higher education landscape is becoming increasingly more adverse for students of color, first-generation students, and low-income students. Postsecondary enrollment and completion rates for traditionally underrepresented populations continue to be disproportionately lower than for their more advantaged peers (Chen & Carroll, 2005; Nunez & Cuccaro-Alamin, 1998; Yeado, 2013). Affordability, or lack thereof, is cited as the primary reason students are not able to complete their degrees (Davenport, 2013). A higher education task force of St. Louis Graduates (STLG), a collaborative network whose mission is to increase degree completion for low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color from St. Louis, commissioned this study from the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC). The following goals were established for this project: (1) identify those higher education institutions that are more successful in supporting and graduating underrepresented students from the St. Louis region; and (2) determine the strategies that institutions are using to graduate underrepresented students with less debt. With feedback from the STLG Task Force a Success Formula based on the median student debt at graduation and 6 year actual versus predicted graduation rates for similar institutions contexts was developed. The five highest ranking institutions based on the Success Formula (see Appendix in full report) identified as graduating underrepresented students with less debt in alphabetical order were: Maryville University, Missouri State University--Springfield (MSU), Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), University of Central Missouri (UCM), and Webster University. University leadership is key to the development and promotion of initiatives that support underrepresented students. Three sub-themes emerged within university leadership: (1) University investment; (2) Goal setting and strategy development; and (3) Engagement with multicultural students. Strategies are highlighted that if adopted, would further the persistence and completion of underrepresented students. [This study was funded from a grant from St. Louis Graduates through support from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, MOHELA. For the full report, "Degrees with Less Debt: Effective Higher Education Strategies for Underrepresented Student Populations. Policy Research. IERC 2017-2," see ED574359. For the executive summary, "Degrees with Less Debt: Effective Higher Education Strategies for Underrepresented Student Populations. Executive Summary. IERC 2017-2," see ED574361.
Illinois Education Research Council. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Campus Box 1064, Edwardsville, IL 62026. Tel: 866-799-4372; Tel: 618-650-2840; Fax: 618-650-2425; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Southern Illinois University, Illinois Education Research Council
Identifiers - Location: Missouri