With rock-bottom graduation rates, Chicago junior college turns elsewhere for adulation
Chicago's Malcolm X College recently announced that its building architects have earned a prestigious award for the redeveloped campus' "green" design.
For Malcolm X College students, however, academic accolades from the school-- or even a basic, two-year associate's degree-- remain elusive.
In a press release, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted the U.S. Green Building Council's "Gold" certification for Malcolm X as "yet another example of the city's commitment" to "(making) sustainability part of the Chicago experience."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) reports that only 2 percent of entering Malcolm X students manage to finish its two-year program in two years.
That's the equivalent of 62 students per year out of a typical 3,092-student class.
The school spent $68 million in 2017, or about $1.1 million per graduate.
Tuition and expenses for former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students attending Malcolm X is $14,520 per year, according to the DOE.
Malcolm X's President David Sanders said that creating an energy-efficient and "sustainable" building was his priority in the school's redesign and development, which includes "green" rooftops and a "rainwater harvesting system."
The new school campus, which opened in January 2016, cost state and city taxpayers $251 million.
It has won its designer, Buffalo-based Cannon Design, previous recognition from Fast Company magazine.
“The college’s design serves to compliment the high-quality programs Malcolm X College offers to students seeking healthcare careers and planning to transfer to four-year colleges,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado, who oversees the city's seven junior colleges.
Malcolm X is one of six with graduation rates below 10 percent, according to DOE reports.
Salgado's city colleges spent half a billion dollars in 2017 and graduated 2 percent of students system-wide, or 1,134 total, approximately $462,000 per graduate.
Emanuel announced last year that he expects a 25 percent graduation rate at the city colleges by next year.
Chicago Junior College graduation rates
Malcolm X College is "green"-- but like all Chicago junior colleges, it struggles to graduate students.
|School||Enrollment||Grad. Rate||Annual Graduates||Annual Budget||$$ per Graduate|
|Richard J. Daley||7,407||9%||333||$74,768,190||$224,317|
Source: U.S. Department of Education College Navigator and Illinois Comptroller Data Warehouse; Graduation rates track latest published data, for entering freshmen in 2013 who finished two year programs in two years.