CINCINNATI — From both sides of the Ohio River, leaders from Miami University, Gateway Technical College, Cincinnati State and Northern Kentucky University came together with a common goal — educational equity across Greater Cincinnati.

The four colleges and universities are part of EAB’s Moon Shot for Equity, making Greater Cincinnati the seventh region in the country selected for the initiative.

What You Need To Know

  • Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky institutions are partnering for “Moon Shot for Equity”

  • The initiative seeks to make higher education more accessible and easier to navigate

  • Leaders want to make it easier to transfer between local two-year and four-year colleges

  • The program’s best practices aim to close racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps

EAB, a research firm focused on education, developed Moon Shot for Equity support to institutions in implementing 15 policies and best practices to improve educational outcomes for minority, low-income and nontraditional college students. 

The practices are meant to reduce and address systemic barriers students may face through leadership and campus climate, access and enrollment, student support and academic policies. The hope is that through these best practices, graduation rates for all students will rise and the region will see a stronger and more diverse workforce.

As president at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, Dr. Monica Posey said she was particularly interested in the strategies to make transferring from her school to a four-year institution, like Miami or Northern Kentucky, easier.

Posey said many students come to Cincinnati State planning to continue their education, but they don’t have time or money to waste on classes that won’t earn them the degree they want.

“How to maximize their credits, how to maximize their scholarship opportunities, and how to maximize completion and employment, that’s our particular goal,” she said.

Even at the four-year schools, NKU President Dr. Ashish Vaidya said the institutions need to be mindful of the needs of nontraditional students, such as those older than 25 or those working jobs or raising children outside of school. 

“Registration holds the barriers that keep students moving forward,” he said. “We need clear pathways moving forward in your college journey.”

The higher education leaders agreed the educational rigor of their institutions will not change, but that they will work to make their programs easier to navigate and their leaders more proactive when it comes to students who may not see all the opportunities available to them.

EAB will assist the institutions by providing technology, data and research as well as tracking student progress. 

Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky is the first region selected for “Moon Shot for Equity,” which includes schools from more than one state. The institutions believe that’s vital to their efforts because while their students cross state lines for employment and leisure, it’s often difficult for them to imagine ways to incorporate educational opportunities from both sides of the Ohio River.

“Our partnership with Cincinnati State, Miami being a part of the conversation, I think just adds value to the notion that we are just one region connected really with this idea that we all care about equity,” Dr. Vaidya said.

There are seven regions involved in the national initiative aiming to close and erase racial and ethnic equity gaps in higher education by 2030. The Greater Cincinnati partnership with EAB will last for the next five years.