Study lauds USC’s effort to close gap

USC received praise in its efforts to close the achievement gap between white and minority students, specifically black and Latino students, according to a report released by The Education Trust last week.

Though graduation rates for black and Latino students hovered in the low 70th percentile in 2002, these groups now have a graduation rate of about 88 percent. The graduation rate for white students is 89 percent, according to data from College Results Online. Nationwide, the graduation rates for black and Latino students are 40.6 percent and 47.2 percent, respectively. The overall graduation rate for college students is 63.7 percent.

The report lauded USC for its efforts to close the achievement gap. USC has made a conscious effort to raise the graduation and retention rates of all students, including hiring a staff member specifically dedicated to the effort, according to USC News.

A USC report titled “Enhancing USC’s Quality and Diversity” notes that USC’s Academic Information Office gathers extensive data about the student body to create a “predictive model of academic success at USC.” The university then uses this information to target at-risk students in a proactive manner.

Jared Brow, a freshman majoring in international relations and global business, said USC’s effort to close the achievement gap should be used at other universities.

“USC is really becoming a leader in providing equal access to education,” Brow said. “The model USC is using will encourage other universities to follow in our path.”

Katharine Harrington, vice president of admissions and planning, wrote the leadership of top USC officials has been essential for the school’s achievement.

“[They were] successful in creating a culture of shared accountability for student success that starts with the student but then extends out to faculty, academic advisers and even to the staff who review degree profiles in the registrar’s office,” Harrington wrote in the report.

Some students said USC’s work to narrow the achievement gap is indicative of its commitment to academic achievement.

“This [report] shows something important about the school,” said Steffi Chen, a freshman majoring in biochemistry. “USC’s effort to close the achievement gap is just one of the ways in which it is aiding all its students to obtain academic success.”