Illinois Higher Education Equity Symposium

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Reclaiming and Restoring our Stories: Reimagining Student Success

"Reclaiming Our Stories: Reimagining Student Success"

October 19 - 20, 2023

“The Illinois Higher Education Symposium will curate spaces for participants to gain new insights to reimagine student success by learning from peers, legal experts, education scholars, and legislators who will share their knowledge and experiences on equity in higher education. In addition to America, participants will hear stories from Germany and South Africa with the aim to learn about structural changes that have advanced equity in education and society.

The symposium aims to provide a platform for participants to engage in meaningful discussions and share their experiences on how to promote equity in higher education. The event will provide opportunities for participants to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by underrepresented groups in higher education and implement strategies to reduce harm and dismantle inequitable structures.

SIU defines equity as “act right, make right, and do right.”

One of the goals of equity at SIU and in higher education is to eliminate disparities in educational outcomes among diverse groups of students. This includes reducing the institutional achievement gap, increasing access to higher education by providing financial aid and support services, and creating a welcoming environment for underrepresented students. It is important to continue to address inequities in higher education to ensure that all students have access to a quality education.
Evoking the 2023 Symposium theme, “Reclaiming Our Stories: Reimagining Student Success”, Reverend Wheeler Parker, Jr. will provide the mid-day keynote address on day one. Reverend Parker, the last living eyewitness to Emmett Till’s kidnapping, will recall, reclaim, and restore the horror that happened to his cousin, Emmett, 67 years ago and HIStory that needs to be remembered.”

Symposium Data Points

  • According to the Illinois Board Higher Education (IBHE) 2019 Data Analysis Equity Gap Report:

  • College enrollment has dropped 34% for African American students in Illinois.

  • Rural high school students are more likely to enroll in a community college after high school graduation (66% compared to 47% of students from non-rural communities).

  • Only 53% of economically disadvantaged high school graduates go to college within 6 months compared to 74% of students who are not eligible for Pell funding.

  • African American, low-income, and rural students have less access to advanced placement (AP) programs than their White counterparts.

  • African American, Latino/Hispanic, and low-income students are more likely to be placed in developmental education in two-year and four-year colleges in the state of Illinois.

  • White college freshman advancement rates to sophomore class status are 70% compared to 53% for Latino/Hispanic students and 33% for African Americans students.

  • Advancement rates from freshman to sophomore class status are 71% for students who do not receive Pell funding compared to 49% for low-income students who are Pell eligible.

  • 2019 Public Universities' college completion rates were highest for White students at 70%, followed by equity gaps with Latino/Hispanic students' graduation rates at 52%, and African American students at 38%.

  • Graduation rates for low-income students are 50% compared to 74% for students who do not receive Pell funding.

  • Approximately 19% of rural county residents hold bachelor’s degrees compared to 37% of non-rural county residents.