Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I was surprised to see this in Chicagoist yesterday...

They blogged about Chicago State University (based on an article in the Sun-Times). It seems that high school college counselors from the south and southwest suburbs are taking another look at that school. Chicago State University is even trying to get some of those kids from a suburb such as Oak Lawn to come to school there.

Chicago State lies on a campus lined with trees (it is a very nice campus, BTW) surrounded by King Drive, 95th street, the Illinois Central Railroad and then 99th Street (or the Calument or Bishop Ford Expressway which is parallel to 99th Street). They been building up too with a new convocation center and they're also building a new library as well.

From Oak Lawn to say 95th and King Drive is only a 20 minute drive away. Yet a high school senior from Oak Lawn would know nothing about Chicago State. Another thing that Chicago State is also using as an asset, low tuition....

At the breakfast, CSU President Elnora Daniel delivered the message: We're in your backyard, we offer a large variety of quality programs, and we're affordable. At $6,400, annual tuition is lower than that at all but two of the 11 four-year public schools in the state and far less than at any local private school.

Maloney, who chairs the Senate Higher Education Committee, said CSU shouldn't remain an "untapped resource'' for students from these nearby towns. Although many students would still rather go farther afield to attend college, skyrocketing costs have left many others in need of affordable options closer to home, he said. Some kids from Catholic high schools commute as far away as Loyola --and pay $26,000 in tuition -- instead of going to CSU, which costs less than some are paying for high school.
So why haven't students from say the suburb of Oak Law never went to school at Chicago State...

Part of the reason is race-related, says state Sen. Edward Maloney (D-Chicago), a CSU graduate and former faculty member at Oak Lawn.

CSU's student body is 86 percent African American, while Oak Lawn High School is 84 percent white, a makeup similar to that of other area suburban schools.

CSU admits it didn't recruit heavily in those suburbs, while high school counselors acknowledge they didn't encourage students to go to CSU.
While I can agree it's race related. I can probably say that when I was looking for colleges Chicago State wasn't seen as a good school. Indeed amongst my senior classmates many years ago, it could be seen as a school of last resort. Perhaps the current administration is trying to change that now.

And I hope so too. Why shouldn't this be a place where students want to come and learn? This school doesn't have to be nor should it remain a school of last resort.

So what did area counselors have to say about this school...

Counselors interviewed after the meeting said they were impressed with many things about CSU, including its small class sizes, Division I sports programs and new pharmacy program. And they were wowed by its facilities, including a sparkling new library.

The result? "I can't wait to get back and recommend [CSU] to my students,'' said Gina O'Brien, counselor at Shepard High School in Palos Heights. Others agreed.
Oh yeah, so let's dispell one myth right now...

Another counselor, Sharon Geinosky of Queen of Peace High School in Burbank, said some students had the "perception that the neighborhood is not safe.'' But at the meeting, counselors learned that the campus, in fact, is one of the safest in the state.

Cross posted at Illinoize

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