UI looks to increase diversity of student body

Local News
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UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (WCIA) — School leaders say diversity in the student body plays a significant role. It’s why it’s sending out its annual survey of students who decided not to attend here.

They want to figure out what the younger generation is thinking in terms of schools and why more African-Americans are deciding against coming here. It could be due to money, where the UI is located or how technology impacts people.

Vice Provost of Enrollment Kevin Pitts says one theory could be scholarships. Students who get them feel honored and want to attend that school. It’s why the UI will have new scholarship programs for students next year.

Pitts also believes it could be because of phones and the internet. Students are more likely to go out of state because of better communication.

The biggest group with lower numbers is African-Americans.

“We’re disappointed that numbers for African-American students are down this year and we need to continue to work in that area. On the other hand, we continue to be first or second in the Big Ten in virtually every diversity category for student body overall, so we’re doing quite well, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to do better.”

Pitts says, in the next few years, the Illinois Board of Education predicts a decrease in college enrollment across the state. It’s because the population is getting older and people are moving out of state. They believe it could be down 10 – 15% in the next decade.

Last month, Governor Bruce Rauner signed two bills in Champaign. One creates a merit-based program for giving students scholarship money; the other creates a task force among high schools, colleges and universities designed to get them on the same page when it comes to students.

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