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WIU Recognized by U.S. Department of Education

March 29, 2016

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MACOMB, IL -- In a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), Western Illinois University was identified as outperforming its peer institutions in enrolling and graduating Pell Grant recipients.

In a recent DOE report, "Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need," Western is one of two Illinois public universities recognized within the report. A Washington Post article referencing the report included WIU and select other institutions that are giving Pell Grant qualified students the opportunity to graduate. Those students comprise at least 40 percent of the population at the schools featured in the report, with at least 50 percent of those students graduating within six years.

"For our nation's colleges and universities to serve as gateways to social mobility and economic opportunity, they must succeed in helping all hard-working students enroll in college, graduate and go on to rewarding careers," noted the report's introduction. "This report outlines the significant work advanced by this administration and post-secondary institutions and leaders across the country to ensure that more students, especially low-income students, obtain an affordable, high quality post-secondary degree."

At the time of reporting, WIU's six-year graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients, who comprised 43 percent of the student population, was the same as that of all students at WIU (56 percent). Additionally, the report notes that two-thirds of Pell Grant recipients earn more than $25,000 within six years of enrolling at WIU. Western was recognized in the report, along with 12 other public universities in California, Florida, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia, North Carolina and New Jersey.

"The institutions identified in the table are some of those cited by the many organizations as ones that outperform their peer institutions in enrolling and graduating Pell Grant recipients," according to the report. "The Department is pleased to lend its voice to the others calling for greater recognition of institutions like these."

In November, The Economist, a weekly international newspaper owned by the Economist Group, ranked WIU third out of 11 ranked public universities in Illinois and in the top 25 percent nationwide in terms of increasing the earning potential of graduates.

"This latest report from the Department of Education not only confirms the value of a degree from Western Illinois University, but also highlights our commitment to educational opportunity, which is one of our four core values," said WIU President Jack Thomas.

In 2013, President Obama revealed plans to hold colleges accountable for controlling the cost of higher education and ensuring that students from all backgrounds have access to education and perform in the workforce following graduation.

"Western was ahead of the curve when President Obama discussed his initiatives three years ago," Thomas added. "This recent report from the U.S. Department of Education illustrates our University's commitment to ensuring our students' success and providing an accessible education to all citizens."

The full report can be found at

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations