26 Apr 2012

Minority rates lower than the overall BGSU graduation rates

Author: Justina Bucceri | Filed under: Enterprise Story

Bowling Green State University’s students of color graduation rates are dramatically lower than the overall rate. First time, full time students in the summer and fall are grouped into a cohort and that group determines the ratio of students graduating after four, five or six years at the university.

The student of color four-year graduation rate from 2006 to 2010 is less than 8.2 percent compared to the overall rate according to the BGSU Office of Institutional Research.

African Americans, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islander and American Indian make up the students of color grouping.

According to the Office of Institutional Research at BGSU, the overall four-year graduation rate from 2006 to 2010 is 36 percent, whereas the student of color graduation rate is 27.8 percent. The overall five- year graduation rate from 2005 to 2010 is 54.8 percent, and the student of color rate is 45.4 percent. In addition, the overall six-year graduation rate from 2004 to 2010 is 60.5 percent and the student of color is 48.6 percent.

The student of color graduation rate is lower than overall because of economic and financial reasons, said Gary Swegan, vice president for enrollment management and director of admissions.

Swegan said there is a lot of economic disadvantage of why students struggle to graduate.

“The lower rate is tied to economics,” Swegan said. “It is true that a larger percentage of families of color are first generation of college students now.”

He said the 2007 cohort will be interesting to see because the race based scholarship has not happened since 2006. The student of color graduation rates will be lower because several students rely on scholarships, Swegan said.

“It could go down because the students of color are not being supported from loans and scholarship,” Swegan said.

Conrad McRoberts, senior research associate at the BGSU Institutional Research Office, agrees that the lower minority graduation rates are from economic reasons. He said that there are fewer resources for students of color in the Bowling Green community.

“I suspect there is more than one factor that causes students of color to not graduate on time- or leave Bowling Green,” McRoberts said. “Students of color might not find the Bowling Green community as a whole as something that meets their needs.”

He said overall the graduation rates are good but that does not mean the university can do better.

The TRIO Programs is one curriculum that is designed to motivate and assist students to enter and succeed in higher education. It is for first-generation students who come from families with limited income.

Sidney Childs, executive director of the TRIO Programs said the program is about 60 percent of color students and the other 40 percent is Caucasian students.

“Higher rate of first year and lower income students do not have the proper resources,” said Childs. “They do not have the experiences and set of expectations to be successful in college.”

He said these students are impacted from fully engaging in the institution because they do not have the appropriate tools. Students thrive when they see an institution that is supportive and the faculty reflects the student body.

“Institutions must provide academic services to help students,” Childs said. “Students of color who run into academic difficulty must seek out help and not be stigmatized.”

Senior Alex Davis, who is half white and half black, is graduating this spring, after four-years at BGSU. Davis said he has been successful in college because his parents graduated from college and they raised him to excel and stay in school.

He received a historically underrepresented scholarship, which he said it was a factor of him going to BGSU but not staying here.

“I surround myself with a positive crowd in college,” Davis said. “With a positive crowd, students get that drive and personally grow.”

Ray Schuck, instructor in the department of communications is an alumnus of BGSU. He said the campus was very white when he went here in the early 1990’s but the university makes a conscious effort to bring in students of color since former President Sidney Ribeau.

He is apart of the multicultural overnight program where high school students of color that have been accepted to BGSU stay a night, get to know students that are similar to them and do educational activities.
Schuck did a mock classroom activity of his communication, race and power class and the students of color responded well because they want to learn issues that relate to them.

“Often look at students of color graduation and retention rates from a negative approach instead of what makes them successful,” said Childs. “To be able to survive and thrive in the university, students need to make a connection with the faculty and find a purpose and meaning from being at BGSU.”

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One thought on “Minority rates lower than the overall BGSU graduation rates

  1. Danae King Says:

    Nice chart! I think using Ray Schuck as a source gave your story good perspective.