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EAB, a college consulting firm, this week announced the creation of a project to close equity gaps for students within regional cohorts of community colleges and four-year institutions. The first consortium is located in Wisconsin. EAB said six other groups of regional colleges are in the works.

"We'll have multiple regions across the country coming together," said Tom Sugar, EAB's vice president of partnerships. "This is a 10-year goal."

The first cohort of the Moon Shot for Equity program features the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin at Parkside. The institutions will work together to try to help more underrepresented students of color and other historically underserved populations graduate from college. They will get research, technology and advising from EAB, and guidance from experts at Georgia State University and Houston GPS. The colleges and universities also will partner with local high schools and community-based organizations to help more underserved students attend college and receive scholarships and other resources.

“More than one dozen schools in Houston decided just a few short years ago to work toward a similar shared goal,” Paula Short, senior vice chancellor of the University of Houston system and senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Houston, said in a written statement. “Much progress has been made at Houston GPS inaugural institutions toward improving student success outcomes. Across two-year and four-year institutions, graduation rates and retention rates have increased, first-year course completion has risen, and students are graduating with fewer excess credits."