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WIU Featured in Illinois Education Research Council Report

December 7, 2017

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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL -- Western Illinois University has been ranked among the top seven Illinois four-year institutions serving underserved students, and appears in the new report, "Cornerstones of Student Success: Institutions Yielding High Return on Investment of Underserved Students," recently released by the Illinois Education Research Council (IERC).

Western was one of three Illinois public four-year institutions included in the top seven and is the second highest ranked institution located outside of the Chicago metropolitan region.

"Our analysis of Illinois four-year postsecondary institutions highlights those institutions which fostered degree completion and job success with less debt for underrepresented minority students, first-generation students and low income students," noted report authors Janet Holt and Daniel Duffy, who created a tailored or personalized ranking formula to allow them to better identify those Illinois institutions that are leading the way by fostering success for underserved students.

Illinois four-year colleges and universities that primarily grant bachelor's degrees were included in the study. In total, 55 four-year colleges and universities were included in the analyses (11 public, 38 private nonprofit and six private for-profit). The complete report can be found at

"We have outstanding programs in place to provide essential support and opportunities for our students, many of whom are first-generation college students," WIU President Jack Thomas said. "Our mission is to educate and prepare a diverse student population to thrive in, and make positive contributions to, our global society. Diversity is an integral part of Western's Strategic Plan, and providing equal access and opportunity to all students is a priority. We are excited to be recognized by the Illinois Education Research Council for our efforts to provide an affordable and accessible education for all."

In early 2017, Western was one of 11 colleges and universities from across the United States selected to appear in the U.S. Department of Education's (DOE) College Completion Toolkit, "Promising Practices for Improving Student Degree Attainment." The toolkit features schools that are increasing college completion rates for students on their campuses through promising practices. In 2016, Western received the Minority Access, Inc. Commitment to Diversity Award and was also featured in the DOE report, "Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need," as outperforming its peer institutions in enrolling and graduating Pell Grant recipients. Western was one of two Illinois public universities recognized within the report.

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