UL System Addressing Low-Income and Minority Student Achievement Gaps

WASHINGTON – Today the National Association of System Heads (NASH) and The Education Trust (Ed Trust) released national and system-specific baseline data that shows too few low-income and minority students across the country are enrolling in college and graduating. The University of Louisiana System, along with 23 other public college and university systems participating in the Access to Success Initiative (A2S), has pledged that by 2015 it will halve the gaps in college-going and degree completion that separate low-income students and students of color from others.


“The data released today reinforces the decision of our university presidents to focus efforts on improving student access and success. As an undereducated state, Louisiana will prosper from our efforts to enroll and graduate more citizens, especially in these high need populations,” said UL System President Randy Moffett. 


“From the very beginning, the University of Louisiana System has been a leader in the Access to Success Initiative. They recognize that improving college-going and college completion rates for low-income and minority students is essential to restoring the promise of public higher education,” said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust. “The UL System is stepping up and taking responsibility for making their campuses work better for all of the students they serve.”   


Enrollment and graduation gaps for low-income and underrepresented minority students in the UL System range from six to 11 percent with no gap for graduating low-income transfer students.  


While the data does not lend itself towards direct comparisons between systems, the UL System’s report does show many areas in which it is keeping pace or outperforming other systems, such as:


  • enrolling low-income and underrepresented minority freshmen students as compared to the state’s high school graduates,
  • graduating low-income freshmen and transfers and underrepresented minority freshmen as compared to other student populations, and
  • graduating low-income freshmen as compared to the state’s high school graduates.


In a newsletter released this week, the UL System highlights programs undertaken at its universities to directly improve student access and success, a system priority since 2004. Campus strategies include redesigning barrier courses, providing financial incentives for students and faculty for better performance, infusing technology, providing hands-on and peer assistance, and giving more personalized attention.


“The University of Louisiana System not only stepped up early to the Access to Success Initiative, its universities have also implemented many programs to directly address goals of the initiative.  Their efforts are to be commended, and will, hopefully, succeed in closing achievement gaps between minority students and other populations in Louisiana,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Sally Clausen.


The national baseline report and the UL System’s report can be downloaded at http://www.edtrust.org/dc/resources/accesstosuccess.   For more information about the UL System’s Access to Success efforts, including student success stories, visit https://ulsystem.edu




 EIGHT UNIVERSITIES STRONG: The largest higher education system in the state, the UL System enrolls almost 82,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.