A new report says Indiana is making progress to close achievement gaps in higher education, but also shows that some groups still lag behind.
The Commission For Higher Education aims for at least 60 percent of Hoosiers to have some kind of college credential by 2025. Part of that includes a push to close achievement gaps for low-income and minority students.
Commissioner Teresa Lubbers says the state’s 21st Century Scholars program, designed to offer low-income students free college tuition and support, is showing major progress.
“We are not where we need to be. But with the 21st Century Scholars population we are showing we would close the achievement gap by 2025,” she says.
Lubbers says changes to the program have helped those students close achievement gaps. Scholars have to meet requirements like enrolling and completing a certain number of credits each calendar year, and maintain a 2.5 grade point average.
“We are just now beginning to see the fruits of those changes in the increases that we’ve seen in college going and college completion,” she says.
On time completion rates for black and Hispanic students have increased across public colleges by five percent in five years as well, but gaps remain. Hispanic students still go to college less than white and black students, and only around 30 percent of black students from Indiana high schools’ 2015 cohort completed all of the coursework they attempted during their first year at a public college in the state.
Lubbers says enrolling more students in the 21st Century Scholars program would likely help close those gaps.