UD lauded for helping lower-income students graduate, get long-term success

University named national leader in lower-income student enrollment, model nationally



University of Dayton was recently named one of 28 higher education institutions who are leaders in college access and success for lower-income students.

UD received the distinction from Bloomberg Philanthropies for its steady gains in lower-income student enrollment since the fall of 2015, according to UD, as well as their comparatively high graduation rate.

UD will be able to network with other universities with the distinction to help other four-year higher education institutions across the country, the university said.

“Evidence shows that when lower-income students attend high-graduation colleges like the University of Dayton, they are more likely to graduate, and their lifetime earnings potential and opportunities increase as well,” said Eric Spina, president of University of Dayton. “They also enrich the UD campus community, leading student groups such as the Asian American Association, research fellows, and volunteers working to improve the common good.”

The university said in fall 2015, UD enrolled 835 Pell-eligible students, and in fall 2022, that figure increased to 1,273, a growth of 53%.

In comparison, in fall 2015, Wright State enrolled 4,435 Pell recipients, Wright State officials said. By fall 2022, the number of Pell recipients fell to 2,280, a drop of about 49%. During that time, the university also experienced a steep decline in the number of students who enrolled in the university.

Central State, a historically Black public university, enrolled 1,408 Pell recipients in 2015, and in fall 2022, the university enrolled 2,137, a 51% increase, CSU said.

Graduation rates also played a role in the designation. According to University of Dayton’s website, 81% of UD students who began in 2017 graduated with a degree within six years.

By comparison, Wright State University’s six-year graduation rate for the same 2016 cohort was 47% and Central State’s was 27%, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education.

UD said part of the reason for the increase in lower-income students is because of the partnership the university began with Sinclair Community College. Sinclair students can complete a two-year degree and then continue into a four-year degree at UD.

Antoine Harrison, set to graduate in 2026, is part of the UD Sinclair Academy. Research shows that students like Harrison who graduate with a college degree are more likely to have higher wages, pursue graduate degrees, become entrepreneurs and engage in their communities.

“The best piece of advice I could give to an incoming student would be to take your first step and make it happen,” Harrison said. “With all of the opportunities at Sinclair and UD, you can find success in everything you do.”

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