Dear Partners in Equity,

As we bid farewell to another year at the Partnership for College Completion (PCC), we find immense pride in the strides, both big and small, that have been taken in the noble pursuit of higher education equity in Illinois. Reflecting on the events of 2023, we stand grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with each of you who generously contribute your time, talents and resources to advance the cause of racial and socioeconomic justice for all who aspire to attain a college degree in our state.

PCC is particularly proud of the significant progress being made at both the state policy and campus levels in the ongoing journey toward higher education equity in Illinois. As we embrace the spirit of reflection that naturally accompanies the conclusion of one year and the commencement of another, let’s take a moment to collectively appreciate and recognize the accomplishments of our dedicated group throughout 2023.

HB2898: A Step Toward Accountability

PCC worked alongside Representative Maurice West and Senator Celina Villanueva to get HB2898 passed. The bill requires for-profit colleges with a final judgment or determination against them for operating with unfair or deceptive practices toward students to reimburse the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding they received during the period of their deceptive practices. In the last 15 years, Illinois has given more than $255 million of MAP funding from taxpayers to these institutions. Four of the 10 for-profit institutions that received MAP in 2017 have since closed, leaving many former students with unmanageable debt and limited options to complete their college degrees. This bill will aim to prevent activities like this in the future.

The Illinois Equity in Attainment (ILEA) Initiative

PCC continues to work alongside its ILEA partners across the state, as institutions prepare to submit their new state-required equity plans in May 2024. This year, we’ve continued to support the equity champions on these campuses and worked together to change policies and revise practices to support students through to graduation. PCC proudly kicked off its new Illinois Developmental Education Equity in Action (IDEEA) network in December 2023 to assist participating institutions in implementing co-requisite models of support as they reform developmental education.

In November, PCC hosted the annual ILEA Summit, which is an opportunity for practitioners and leaders from our 25 partner institutions to connect and discuss how to serve students more equitably through a series of presentations and breakout sessions. Pascale Charlot, the Managing Director of the College Excellence Program at the Aspen Institute, kicked off this year’s event at College of Lake County with a keynote address that challenged more than 175 attendees to consider the value they are providing students throughout their time on campus and after they earn their degree.

Community Conversations

Throughout 2023, PCC led the Coalition for Transforming Higher Education Funding in hosting Community Conversations, a series of events that invited members of communities across the state to discuss the policies, changes and challenges impacting Illinois students and their families as they access quality higher education opportunities and degree completion. Topics for these conversations centered around equitable funding, higher education affordability and racial diversity on campus after affirmative action.

PCC Releases Equitable Funding Report

As Illinois attempts to go from being one of the only states without a system for determining the amount it appropriates to each of its public universities, to being the first state to do so by using an adequacy-based formula, PCC released a report that makes a case for funding innovation that can help turn around higher education in Illinois. In the report, Dr. Frank Fernandez and Dr. Xiaodan Hu analyze past approaches to public university funding (and their limitations), looking at Illinois’ context and data and diving deep into an adequacy-based alternative for distributing state appropriations.

PCC Responds to SCOTUS’s Affirmative Action Decision

The Supreme Court effectively ended affirmative action by making it unlawful for colleges to consider race directly in admissions decisions in June 2023. PCC released a set of recommendations to provide a path forward for institutions in the aftermath of this decision. The report focuses on race-conscious policymaking in Illinois and examines our state’s data while offering recommendations to expand access for students of color in higher education.

PCC In the News in 2023

PCC is building a new model for what can be achieved when an organization uses the twin levers of state policy and technical support to colleges and universities, driven by data and research, to change our education systems. Join us in our effort and make a year-end gift to support us in building a national model for higher education equity. Through the end of the calendar year, your contribution will be matched dollar for dollar by one of our generous supporters.

Donate Today

2024 is promising to be a big year across all of our mission priority areas. We look forward to continuing to work alongside you to advance equity in higher education access and attainment in the New Year.

In Partnership,

Lisa Castillo Richmond
PCC Executive Director