PROVIDENCE – A report released today by the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet (CYC) reveals sharp disparities in college degree attainment between white Rhode Islanders and Latino and black Rhode Islanders.
The report, titled Minding the Gap: Increasing College Persistence in Rhode Island, found that while the overall Rhode Island college completion rate is above the national average, the rate for Latinos lags behind and is also far below the completion rate for white Rhode Islanders in both Providence and Rhode Island as a whole. The report warns that Rhode Island risks a backslide in its percentage of higher education degree holders if it does not work to explicitly address the educational needs of its significant and growing Latino population.
“Minding the Gap reflects an essential part of CYC’s cradle-to-career approach of ensuring that all children and youth are able to transition from education to career armed with the skills and capacities they need to succeed,” said Rebecca Boxx, CYC’s director. “The report aims to catalyze the important work that needs to be done in Providence, and Rhode Island, around college persistence.”
In addition to providing local data on college completion rates, Minding the Gap gives an overview of systemic elements that lead to increased college persistence for all college-going students – and gives examples of promising strategies at Rhode Island’s institutions of higher education, as well as at local community-based organizations.
Finally, the report offers recommendations designed to help Rhode Island educators and policy-makers take a more strategic, proactive approach to increasing post secondary attainment levels, ensuring that more of the Ocean State’s working adults are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed for success.
The report, funded by Lumina Foundation, is part of the work of the CYC’s Postsecondary Completion Subcommittee, which collaborates with Rhode Island’s institutions of higher education, multiple community-based organizations, and the Providence Public Schools to increase college persistence in the state.
“Rhode Island College is focused on student success and intensely proud of the strides the college has made in closing the gap for Latino students,” said Rhode Island College president Dr. Nancy Carriuolo. “We are pleased to partner with the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet in these efforts and look forward to sharing this report with our community to highlight the importance of college persistence for all.”
CYC and its partners will use the report to increase awareness of college persistence disparities and to build on effective strategies to eliminate them. “We intend to use this report’s recommendations to strategize ways to collaborate with many of the key higher education stakeholders across institutions to close the gap in educational attainment in Providence,” said Dr. Carie Hertzberg, executive director of Rhode Island Campus Compact and co-chair of the CYC Post secondary Completion Committee. Minding the Gap is an important tool for forward thinking, decision making, and focusing on what matters as we aim to increase college attainment as a way to build stronger communities in Rhode Island.”
The CYC is a cross-sector coalition of 150 members and 60 children and youth serving organizations that is designed to ensure that all children and youth in the city of Providence, from cradle to career, will have access to a coordinated, collaborative, integrated system of educational, social, physical and behavioral health services. The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University is the anchor institution and home of the Children and Youth Cabinet. Visit us at www.cycprovidence.org. Follow us on Twitter @cycprovidence.
About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, visit: www.luminafoundation.org