Hartford Promise Scholars Shine as UCONN Graduates

by Dillon McDermott and Colin Leonard

Last updated on December 4 2023

for Data Visualization for All
with Prof. Jack Dougherty
Trinity College, Hartford CT, USA


Unveiling success from Hartford Promise scholars, UCONN graduation rates break barriers while exploring success rates, unraveling diversity, and comparing achievements by demographics at Connecticut’s flagship university.

Our class examined 254 Hartford Promise scholars from the 2016 and 2017 high school cohorts. Overall about 50% of these scholars earned a bachelor's degree, and the vast majority of those did so at the University of Connecticut, the state’s flagship public university. We decided to focus on the UCONN story because we wanted to know if it is a university where many of the Hartford Promise scholars were finding success. The success rate is important because if the majority of Hartford Promise scholars are attending UCONN, and receiving a bachelor’s degree, more so than other 4-year colleges, this is important for the program to recognize so that they can encourage more students in the program to apply to UCONN, for a predictably high chance of graduating with a bachelor’s degree. UCONN also partners with the Hartford Promise, fully matching up to $5,000 for students in the program that are admitted to the school. Through curious and thoughtful research, our Hartford Promise and UCONN story answers some very important topics. The overall Hartford Promise successful completion (receiving a Bachelor’s degree) at UCONN, followed by successful completion rates varied by gender, ethnicity, and type of public high school, the Hartford Promise completion rate at UCONN compared to the total completion rate for the overall student body at UCONN, and how these successful completion rates by gender and ethnicity for the overall student body at UCONN compare to Hartford Promise students (also by gender and ethnicity) who completed their Bachelor’s degrees at UCONN.

Getting into the numbers, there were more Hartford Promise students that graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from UCONN compared to every other 4-year college. It is especially important to analyze UCONN’s completion rates, as this was the biggest data set of Hartford Promise students at 4-year colleges, 65 of which attended UCONN, and 54 completed with a Bachelor’s degree. Compare this to a 4-year college like Yale, which only one Hartford Promise student attended, and completed with a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, while analyzing Hartford Promise and overall completion rates at UCONN, it is important to identify any disparities in the percentages among underlying characteristics like gender and ethnicity. Although the number of Hartford Promise students that graduated from UCONN with a Bachelor’s degree is a relatively small number, it is important to compute and compare their total completion percentage, and see if there is a disparity between the total UCONN completion percentage of those that attended UCONN. It is a comparison of a very small data set, to a fairly large one, but the comparison is still important for our partners at Hartford Promise to be made aware of. The academic achievements and successes of Hartford Promise scholars who earned their bachelor’s degree at UCONN serves as a testament to the transformative impact of scholarship programs on educational attainment, highlighting the pivotal role of financial support and community engagement. The Hartford Promise scholarship program fosters academic excellence for those that choose to attend UCONN.

What is Hartford Promise?

Hartford Promise is a large-scale college scholarship and success program for high school students in Hartford. The scholarship is for Hartford students attending any accredited, not-for-profit 4-year or 2-year college or university full time. Students receive up to $5,000 or $2,500 in scholarship aid for 4-year and 2-year institutions, respectively. There is a Promise Scholar criteria. Students must attend a Hartford public high school continuously since 9th grade, be a Hartford resident, have a 93% or better cumulative attendance record, and have a 3.0/4.0 GPA or better. The award helps pay for tuition, fees, room and board, and any other expenses the institution charges to the student. Visit our community partner's website at Hartford Promise.

Graduation Rate Findings

The initial key statistic to examine is the graduation rates of Hartford Promise students from UCONN when compared to the university's overall student body. As shown in Figure 1, the graduation rates showed remarkable similarity, differing by only one percent, with UCONN's general population achieving 84% and Hartford Promise reaching 83%. The overall insight into these statistics is that Hartford Promise students are graduating at merely the same rate as their general population. Undoubtedly, there are positive takeaways from that regarding their overall success at the University.

Figure 1: Explore the interactive chart.

Gender Findings

Now, let's explore potential variations in Gender and Graduation rates. Examining the latest data from 2021, as shown in Figure 2, UCONN reported a graduation rate of 79% for males and 87% for females. In contrast, Hartford Promise graduates comprised 79% females, 81% males, and an additional 0% whose gender was non-binary. Generally, statistically speaking, a higher percentage of females tend to graduate with bachelor's degrees, as reflected in UCONN's data. However, these trends seem somewhat more pronounced when considering the Hartford Promise cohort. To gain deeper insights, it would be intriguing to investigate how these gender-specific graduation rates differ from the overall Hartford Promise rates across various universities.

Figure 2: Explore the interactive chart.

Ethnicity Findings

Finally, when examining ethnicity, the most significant disparities arise when comparing the White graduates to Asian graduates in the Hartford Promise program. It's important to observe that the dataset reported only 2 Asian students attending UCONN, one of which graduated, and only 3 White students, all of which graduated, as shown in Figure 3. 20 scholars that attended UCONN during the 2016 and 2017 cohorts were Hispanic, and 16 were Black, much higher representations. More than half of UConn's student body is composed of white students, contrasting sharply with the less than 10% representation of Hartford students. This underscores the program's focus on supporting students in pursuing higher education and addressing disparities. Additionally, over 30% of students from Hartford Promise have unreported race/ethnicity. It's important to keep in mind that these statistics may change, potentially impacting the evidence presented.

Figure 3: Explore the interactive chart.

Methods and Sources

HP Public Data with HP at UCONN Pivot Tables: We had access to a Hartford Promise data source that will remain anonymous due to reasons of privacy. We were supplied this data through our partners at Hartford Promise. It contained de-identified data, and promised not to share the raw data with the public. Other researches who wish to examine the raw data should request it directly from Hartford Promise. We made pivot tables that represent Hartford Promise Bachelor’s from UCONN and relevant comparisons like gender, ethnicity, and type of public high school. We also looked at pivot tables analyzing Hartford Promise students that received a Master’s degree or an unknown degree at UCONN just for some extra insight into the total population of Hartford Promise students that attended UCONN. Some uncertainties about the data are those that did not include their race, ethnicity, or type of public highschool, and come up as either blank responses or “#N/A.”

Total UCONN Graduation with Bachelor’s Data in 2021: We analyzed UCONN’s 2021-2022 annual report on retention and graduation rates, finding some meaningful insights, which was displayed publicly by the university itself. Although it is a report laying out statistics from the years 2021 and 2022, it displays data from 2016 and 2017, which the cohorts of the Hartford Promise data are from. We used this source primarily for our insights into graduation rates at UCONN based on gender and ethnicity. This is a very reliable source due to the nature that it is publicly viewable to the entire world, and submitted to the internet by the Vice President of Enrollment Planning and Management.

Fuerst, Nathan. Report from the Division of Enrollment Planning & Management, University of Connecticut, 2 May 2022, pgs. 1-24. https://epm.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/2470/2022/06/2022-Retention-and-Graduation-Taskforce-Report.pdf.

Second UCONN Graduation Data Source: Collegescorecard was a datatset used mainly to find the overall graduation rates at UCONN. This data website was found and suggested by our instructor. Additionally, this data set uses IPEDS, a very reliable source of data collection, to gather graduation, retention, and other statistics on UCONN and other colleges and universities. It is a reliable source of data when looking at overall graduation rates at UCONN, and even breaks it down by gender and ethnicity, which provided us with an extra dataset to answer our questions.

College Scorecard. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023. https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/school/?129020-University-of-Connecticut