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Degree Completion Award Finalist Spotlight: University of Illinois Chicago

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase degree completion, APLU named Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Florida State University, and the University of Illinois Chicago as finalists for its 2021 Degree Completion Award. The annual prize works to identify, recognize, and reward institutions that employ innovative approaches to improve retention and degree completion. One of the three finalists will be named the 2021 Degree Completion Award winner during the APLU Annual Meeting. In this post, APLU profiles the University of Illinois Chicago’s efforts to improve retention and degree completion.

With gains in student success and equity plateauing in 2012, the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) launched its Student Success Initiative. The initiative, informed by a comprehensive report with more than 125 recommendations, aimed to reverse slowing progress.

After careful study of barriers to student success on campus, UIC invested in more robust first-year experiences; increased holistic student support and student success coaching; curriculum redesign and teaching reform; and financial support for students.

Following the investment, UIC’s graduation rate steadily improved to an all-time high last year. The four-year graduation rate increased nearly 10 percentage points from 2015 to 2020. What’s more, the graduation rate for Black students has increased by nearly 14 percentage points and 10 percentage points for Latino and Pell-eligible students.

  • Degree Completion & Student Success

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