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City Colleges of Chicago graduation rate highest in 10 years: chancellor

Updated: April 25, 2012 1:35AM

City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman announced Tuesday that the colleges will grant nearly 3,300 associate degrees in 2012 — up 32 percent from 2011 and double the number 10 years ago.

In addition, an estimate released Tuesday indicates city colleges’ graduation rate in 2011 was 10 percent, an increase of 2 percent from the year before and the highest rate in 10 years, a written statement from City Colleges said. The 2011 graduation rate estimate must still be validated by the Illinois Community College Board and the U.S. Department of Education, officials said.

Hyman also said her administration had centralized many operations and saved $41 million over the last two years. That money will be used to hire more advisers and tutors and upgrade technology and facilities, officials said.

“While much work remains to be done, there are clear signs we are improving outcomes and giving our students a better shot at relevant career and educational opportunities,” Hyman said. “We are ensuring our students receive credentials that are valued by both employers and four-year colleges, and at the same time we are living up to our promise to serve as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

Hyman took over City Colleges in April 2010 and launched a “Reinvention” initiative.

“Today, we are closer to realizing [Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s] vision of a community college system that can serve as an economic engine of Chicago,” said Paula Wolff, Chair, City Colleges’ Board of Trustees.

The expected record number of graduates in 2012 is due in part, the release said, to a “new emphasis on encouraging timely completion of a degree,” officials said. The number of advisors has been doubled, lowering the advisor-student ratio from 920 to 1 to 450 to 1.

In recent months staff has consulted with students with 45 credit hours or more — some who had more than the 60 credit hours needed to complete a degree — to ensure they took the classes necessary to meet degree requirements.

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