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Carl Sandburg President Visits Cuba

T.J. Carson
Dr. Lori Sundberg says a student exchange program between the United States and Cuba could help relations with the two countries.

Eleven representatives from Carl Sandburg College, Illinois Central College, and other community colleges in Illinois traveled to Cuba last month.

Dr. Lori Sundberg, president of Carl Sandberg College, was part of the group. She said one of her objectives for the trip was to find Cuban universities interested in creating student exchange programs and partnerships.

Sundberg said one way Cuban students coming to the U.S. will benefit is by having access to technology.

“Right now, the average Cuban does not have internet,” Sundberg said.  “There’s just no access to the world wide web.  There’s no cable TV.  In many cases, there’s no TV.”

Sundberg is hopeful to begin an exchange program by next spring.

Sundberg said she was surprised to discover that though few Cubans attend college, those who do are more likely to graduate than Americans who pursue college degrees.

“In Cuba, only 5% of the population go on to get a university degree.  Which is lower than our number here.  But, 85% complete.  We don’t have that high of a completion rate,” Sundberg said.

The university's most recent numbers show that one in four students graduate from Carl Sandberg College.

The group of Illinois colleges would also like to bring in a professor from the University of Havana to speak at each school about Cuban and American history.