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Report shines light on Black, Latino college equity in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Equity in getting a college education isn’t quite where it needs to be.

A report by the the Commission for Higher Education shows that Black and Latino Hoosiers are trailing in several areas. But work is being done to change that.

The college equity report breaks down data by gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and geography. The data shows gaps in college completion rates have increased for Black and Latinos.

But, commission representatives said, they’ve laid out recommendations and made commitments to affect change. The 2020 Indiana College Equity report is out. It’s 26 pages outline so-called “achievement gaps” in college education.

“Some of this information was already desegregated by income as well as race and ethnicity, but what the equity report allowed us to do was to further spotlight what was happening in those different metrics. But also illuminate our progress in closing the achievement gap,” said Brittany Collins, postsecondary outreach and career transitions manager for the commission.

For educators who work closely with students the finding might not come as a shock. Black and Hispanic students are less likely to finish college on time. Low-income students still face difficulty paying for college. And women of color are least likely to enter science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“So a lot of folks say, ‘OK. here’s where we are.’ What we need to do about it, some of those things include outreach,” Collins said. “So for us really figuring out what we can do to better and further connect with Black and Latinx Hoosiers throughout the state.”

Instead of just finding the data, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education representatives said, they are taking that data and doing more with it. In part, increasing outreach to Black and Hispanic students to raise awareness about financial aid programs. Using ethnic data to provide feedback for program funding. Increasing diversity in teaching. Sustaining adequate funding for duel credit so students can receive high school and college credit for certain courses.

“We definitely have seen an impact the dual credit has on students not only continuing on to college after high school but also it just said them a better to complete their college journey,” Collins said.

The commission says 21st Century Scholarship participants continue to see higher college entry and completion rates.

While this report out lines college equity, there are options for those looking to enter trade school or go into the military.