Home » Rants & Raves » Diversity +/- Equitable Funding = Student Success

Diversity +/- Equitable Funding = Student Success

by admin on 4th-June-2015

Paulette Brown-Hinds, PHD

Paulette Brown-Hinds, PHD

Last week I attended the State Assembly Committee on Higher Education’s Hearing on UC Riverside’s Commitment to Diversity and Achievement held on the UCR campus. UCR, which ranks 12th in diversity according to US News & World Report, has become a national model for student success among American universities. Assembly member Jose Medina, chair of the committee is, like me, a proud UCR alumnus. He held the hearing to learn how other campuses can follow UCR’s model of growing a more diverse and successful student body, including reaching graduation rate parity.

“Regardless of our students’ ethnic background or income level, they graduate at the same rates as our overall student population,” Chancellor Kim Wilcox said in a press release before the event. “Few other universities in the country can stake this claim…” Both Chancellor Wilcox and Dr. Yolanda Moses, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Diversity, Excellence and Equity, remarked at the hearing that for over two decades UCR has intentionally focused on diversity with an attempt to better reflect the diverse population of California. The research and practices that have allowed UCR to begin to close the achievement gap were presented by other UCR faculty, researchers, and administrators.

The final segment of the hearing focused on undergraduate funding and equity across the entire UC system. Another participant at the meeting was Assembly member Mike Gipson, chair of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, who recently called for an audit to examine how the growth of nonresident enrollment throughout the UC system has affected enrollment for residents. The audit, scheduled to begin next month, will also review the progress of UC’s Rebenching Initiative implemented after a 2011 audit that uncovered significant inequities in per-student funding among UC campuses. Campuses like UCR, whose student enrollment is made-up of students of color and first generation college students, received up to $2,100 less per student than the older more established campuses, mainly UCLA and Berkeley.

For two consecutive years UCR has ranked 2nd on Washington Monthly’s list of universities when considering civic engagement, social mobility, and research. Last year Time Magazine ranked UCR the best college value based on the White House formula of graduation rates, affordability, and access to financial aid. These rankings make me wonder, if UCR can achieve comparable graduation rates across various ethnicities – 73% Asian Americans, 66% Latinos, 72% African Americans, 68% Whites – while receiving inequitable funding from the University of California, then what can be accomplished when the campus receives equal pay for every student? And what will that teach us about the tremendous role diversity plays in academic excellence, or general excellence for that matter?

Committee Chair Assembly Member Jose Medina and his colleagues listened to presentations about UCR’s initiatives to serve low-income, first-generation undergraduate students. Photo by Carrie Rosema

Committee Chair Assembly Member Jose Medina and his colleagues listened to presentations about UCR’s initiatives to serve low-income, first-generation undergraduate students. Photo by Carrie Rosema

Category: Rants & Raves.
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