CHICAGO – Harry S Truman College and Wilbur Wright College, two of the City Colleges of Chicago, one of the largest community college systems in the country, announced each college had a record number of graduates this year.
Wright College estimates more than 600 students graduated this year, up 60 from 2011 and nearly double the number six years ago. Truman College estimates nearly 500 graduates, a nearly 40 percent increase over last year’s graduation rate.
“We are so excited about the increase in graduates this year,” said Dr. Reagan Romali, president of Truman College. “We have been working hard all year to help our students complete their degrees. This includes offering additional tutors and tutoring sessions, re-vamping our schedule to drive completion, establishing a Wellness Center to help our students manage personal issues and increasing the number of advisors.”
“Wright College’s unique programs will help ensure that our graduates are prepared for the next step,” said Jim Palos, president of Wright College. “For some that means a four-year college, and we’ve given those students a solid educational foundation. Others came to us with an occupational focus, such as manufacturing or information technology which are industries driving Chicago’s economic growth. All of our students received a quality education at a fraction of what they might have paid elsewhere.”
City Colleges of Chicago forecasts it will grant nearly 3,300 associate degrees in 2012, up 800 from 2011 and double the number ten years ago. In addition, a recently released estimate indicates City Colleges’ graduation rate in 2011 was 10 percent, up two percent in just one year, three percent over two years, and the highest in ten years. The 2011 graduation rate estimate must be validated by the Illinois Community College Board and the U.S. Department of Education, a process that could last until 2012. The 2012 graduation rate estimate will not be available until early 2013.
One example of a successful graduate is Bridget Basan, 27, who graduated from Wright College with an associate degree in general studies and a 4.0 GPA. Basan plans to transfer to University of Illinois-Chicago in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. She realized her passion for science and specifically, alternative energy, through her experience in living abroad in the Middle East and Moscow and through independent research class projects. Basan has already begun work in this area as she was one of two students selected to participate in the NanoProfessor Nanoscience Education Internship Program.
City Colleges began its Reinvention shortly after Chancellor Hyman took over in April 2010, quickly laying out four clear Reinvention goals, which first and foremost included dramatically increasing the number of students who earn credentials of economic value.
The expected record number of graduates in 2012 is due in part to City Colleges’ new emphasis on encouraging timely completion of a degree. The number of advisors already has been doubled, bringing the advisor-student ratio from 920:1 to 450:1 and helping ensure students have clearly defined academic and professional goals.