College recognized for high graduation rate

Members of the Monroe College’s class of 2013 celebrate their graduation. School was recently cited as having one of highest graduation rates in nation.
Photo courtesy of Monroe College

A local Bronx college is exceeding expectations on a national scale.

Monroe College was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the regional university with the largest difference between predicted and actual graduation rates.

The news magazine predicted that in 2012 Monroe would have a six-year graduation rate of 27%, based on such factors as the average ACT and SAT test scores of the entering class in the fall of 2006, the proportion of those students from the top quarter of their high school class, and the proportion of the student body receiving federal Pell Grants.

Monroe College’s 2012 graduation rate was 65%, over-performing by 38 percentage points. Eighty percent of the college’s U.S. students use Pell Grants.

College Vice President Anthony Allen said the 2012 graduation rate is consistent with past years, and points to the college’s history of serving urban students.

“We’ve been doing this for a very long time,” he said.

“We take great pride in the success of Monroe students,” added Monroe President Stephen Jerome. “They graduate at a high rate because of the comprehensive support system provided by the college. Their goals are our goals.” The college was founded in the Bronx in 1933 and opened its New Rochelle campus in 1983. It also has a small campus in St. Lucia and about 600 students enrolled online.

Of the low expectations, Allen said that people often view a low-income, urban population as one that “just doesn’t get through.”

“We don’t agree with that assumption.”

Allen credits the success with the school’s advising system. Personal counselors are assigned to students, he said, with different counselors serving new students and students nearing graduation.

“We try to give our students as much attention as we can possibly give,” he said.

Allen also said part of the success is because of the support and flexibility offered to adult students who are facing everyday challenges of juggling work and family.

Although the New Rochelle campus serves a more traditional student body, the average age of students at the Bronx campus is 27, while the average age of online students is 31.

Allen said the school offers classes from very early in the morning to late at night and on weekends. Students can combine taking classes at both campuses and online.

“I think for adults, we do have the flexibility they need,” Allen said.

The college is also relatively affordable for a private university, with a year’s tuition costing $13,236.

The college only started participating in the U.S. News & World Report rankings a few years ago, he said. The school ranks 116th overall in the Regional University North category.

“It’s such a competitive marketplace for students,” Allen said. “If you have a third party validating the institution, that’s helpful.”

College President Jerome added that the college is “grateful that U.S. News and World Report has recognized our excellence.”

Reach reporter Jaime Williams at (718) 742–3383. Email her at jwilliams@cnglocal.com.

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