7 county region
Catalyzing and championing policies, systems and practices that ensure all students in and around Chicago - particularly low-income, first generation students - graduate from college and achieve their career aspirations.
Our technical support partnerships with two and four-year colleges enable a collaborative approach to provide resources and targeted supports around common goals of eliminating equity gaps and increasing graduation rates.
Our public policy efforts are informed by data, research, and direct engagement with colleges and other partners. We identify and pursue action at the state level in order for our work to have maximum impact on improving equity and college degree attainment in Illinois.
Senate Resolution 1647:
Acknowledging Illinois’ racial and socioeconomic college degree completion gaps and urging state action.
Unequal Opportunity in Illinois: A Look at Who Graduates College and Why It Matters
The report reveals persistent achievement gaps and highlights how college is becoming more unaffordable for low-income students and students of color in Illinois.
Completion rates across the state for all low-income students who begin college are
, compared to 75% for their wealthier peers.
In our community colleges, on average, only 21 % of all first-time, full-time students &
of low-income students will graduate
within 3 years.
How we accelerate action to close the graduation gap:
Expand and Scale implementation of evidence-based approaches to increasing graduation rates at colleges and universites throughtout the region and at public universities accross the state.
Lead, guide, and support local, state, and national legislative and administrative policy efforts to catalyze institutional reforms that accelerate and prioritize student success.
Increase understanding, elevate public discussion,and create a greater sense of urgency related to increasing graduation outcomes through public reporting of data and championing successful efforts.
Illinois In Context
Nationally, Illinois higher education achievement results are mixed. In 2013, Illinois' public universities ranked 13th in the nation with an average graduation rate of 62%. Community college graduation rates on the other hand ranked 19th with a completion rate of 22%.
Achievement gaps within many Illinois institutions range from 8% to 20% between Pell-eligible students and non-Pell eligible.
College completion crisis
Illinois, like the nation, faces a college completion crisis. In 2015, 64% of students were graduating high school and enrolling in college, while only 28% were completing their programs at any college after 6 years.
Underrepresented student groups
At the majority of Illinois’ public universities, completion rates for low-income, first-generation and other underrepresented student groups range from 16% to 56%.
College student loss
In 2015-2016, 16,461 residents left Illinois to attend other colleges, while only 2,117 residents of other states chose to attend Illinois’ public universities. Approximately 6,600 fewer students were enrolled in Illinois’ public universities this year than last.
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7 county region