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Income mobility greater for students at City College of Chicago

By David Struett
Managing Editor

Students of City Colleges of Chicago have a greater chance of earning more money later in life than students from most other two-year universities, according to data collected by the Equality of Opportunity Project.

CCC ranked 53 out of 690 two-year colleges in an “overall mobility index,” which measures “the likelihood that a student at City Colleges of Chicago moved up two or more income quintiles,” according to an assessment of the data by the New York Times.

The mobility index is a statistic developed by the report’s researchers that measures a school’s proportion of students that moved from the bottom 40 percent of income households to the top 40 percent.

The study also found that average family income of CCC students was $31,700 for students born in 1991. This was among the lowest median incomes compared to other schools. City Colleges ranked 696 out of 748 two-year universities.

Twenty-nine percent of CCC students came from families who made $20,000 a year or less, which placed the City Colleges at 48 out of 748 schools.

The study was based on anonymous tax data from students based on students born between 1980 and 1982, which corresponds roughly to the class of 2002.

Harold Washington College President Margie Martyn said that reinvention is a critical part in keeping students on a pathway to economic success.

“One thing I think is really important is that recently, under reinvention, we looked at our degrees and certificates to determine that when our students complete them they will become certificates of economic value,” said Martyn.

“We all know education is important to learn for education’s sake, and since, in the last four or five years, we have revamped all of our degrees to really make sure… when you get done you’ll be able to get a job,” she said.

Another school administrator sees the mission of CCC as something even more ambitious than future jobs.

“One of the reasons I chose to work here is that Harold Washington and City Colleges in general is, at least from my viewpoint, a place that can stop the cycle of poverty,” said Eric Crabtree-Nelson, Manager of HWC’s Wellness Center.

“So we have students out there who have been economically disadvantaged for years and years, and in some cases for generations. They can come here and receive a great education for low dollars and actually get out there and earn what they’re worth. I think that’s a huge benefit,” he said.

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