The Partnership for College Completion is the only organization that both provides support to colleges and universities for campus-based equity change and advances state policy for greater equity in higher education.

About PCC

The Partnership for College Completion (PCC) was launched in Illinois in 2016 to address disparities in college access by race and income, along with persistent and widening racial and socioeconomic disparities in college degree completion.

PCC’s 2017 report Unequal Opportunity, substantiated the need for a change agent from the outside to champion policies and practices that would increase equity in college access and success in Illinois.

A Snapshot of Illinois Outcome Data

  • Degree attainment by Black (7%) and Latinx (29.1%) students lags behind overall attainment rates (54.9%) and those of White students (61.9%).
  • The disparities are particularly troubling at the state’s community colleges where just 5% of Black students and 29.3% of Latinx students earn their Associates Degree compared with 40% of White students.
  • Meanwhile, The Education Trust has given Illinois’ 4-year institutions a C- minus for its efforts enrolling a proportional representation of Black and Latinx students.

In the time since its launch, PCC has helped usher in a new and urgent conversation on higher education equity. Today, there is greater awareness and more nuanced discussion about college completion in the state. A community of institutional leaders and practitioners committed to ensuring equitable student outcomes continues to grow. And increasingly, lawmakers are centering equity and the complex needs of college students in the policies they introduce and champion. These are exciting and needed developments but significant work remains ahead.

While the steps toward achieving an equitable future for Illinois through transformation of its higher education system are fewer than they were in 2016, entrenched interests that fail to prioritize students persist, but so too does the PCC and our partners. Also, this work is complex and requires a long-term commitment of all who work in and on behalf of our colleges and universities. With generous support from PCC’s funders, a supportive Board of Directors, and key institutional, legislative, and organizational partners critical to making PCC’s vision for equity actionable, we continue to press toward justice. At PCC, our focus is on solutions that ensure every Illinois student has equitable access to a college education at an institution supportive of their academic and career plans—regardless of their race, family income, or wealth.

Meet the PCC Team

Meet the PCC Board

Meet the Investors Council

Meet Our Students for Equity

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Vision

The Partnership for College Completion (PCC) envisions a state where equitable opportunities to access and complete a college education lead to greater degree attainment, racial equity, and socioeconomic mobility for Illinoisans. Read our Equity Statement.

Mission

We champion policies, practices and systems that increase college completion and eliminate degree completion disparities for low-income, first generation, and students of color in Illinois – particularly Black and Latinx students.

An Overview of PCC Milestones

DERA

SYSTEMWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF DERA

September 1, 2021

With financial support from Ascendium, PCC launches work to support the implementation of the Development Education Reform Act. In partnership with the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), the state-level coordinating body for the state’s 48 community colleges, this grant will aid in building the capacity of Illinois community colleges to implement corequisite remedial reform on their campuses. PCC hopes to accomplish this by educating institutions about the DERA legislation, cultivating a cohort of faculty reform champions, and supporting the creation of institution-wide developmental education reform plans.

PCC 5 Year Anniversary

5 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

August 3, 2021

PCC celebrates five years advocating for greater equity in Illinois’ higher education system.

Lisa New ED

PCC’S NEW LEADERSHIP

August 1, 2021

PCC’S Managing Director Lisa Castillo Richmond succeeds Dr. Kyle Westbrook, Founding Executive Director of the Partnership as its next Executive Director.

Image of PCC team in Equity shirt

2021 Catalyst Grants

July 14, 2021

PCC disburses $228,000 to 19 ILEA partner colleges. Each institution was awarded a $12,000 grant to advance an equity effort on their campus based on their recently released Equity Plans.

PCC Policy Newsletter Cover

Policy Quarterly Newsletter Launched

March 16, 2021

To drive home PCC’s belief that public policy plays a critical role in increasing equity and positively impacting the education outcomes of the tens of thousands of black, brown, and low-income college students in Illinois, PCC launched a new quarterly policy publication in the form of a newsletter to provide stakeholders with up-to-date information on state and federal higher education policy.

SB815

PASSAGE OF SB 815

June 1, 2021

PCC, in partnership with Advance Illinois, Women Employed, Young Invincibles and the Illinois Higher Education Network work with Leader Kimberly Lightford and Representative Carol Ammons to pass SB 815 in both chambers of the Illinois legislature. The bill creates the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding, and marks a critical step towards Illinois providing more equitable higher education funding of its public universities.

SAC Launches

STUDENT ADVOCATE BOARD LAUNCHES

January 22, 2021

PCC launches the Student Advocate Board to provide an opportunity for Illinois students to weigh in directly on advocacy efforts for an equitable funding model for Illinois’ public universities. The board is composed of Illinois college students that provide feedback and direction at key milestones of PCC’s equity funding campaign.

2025 Strategic Plan

2021-2025 STRATEGIC PLAN RELEASED

January 13, 2021

The PCC Board of Directors approves the organization’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. The plan calls for an expansion of PCC’s mission and a refresh of the organization’s three-pronged approach to addressing racial and socioeconomic equity in college degree completion in Illinois.

BH2170 Signing

PASSAGE OF HB 2170

January 11, 2021

HB 2170 aimed at reversing centuries of systemic racism in education, birth-to-career, passes both chambers of the Illinois legislature. PCC and policy partner Women Employed worked with Leader Kimberly Lightford and Representative Carol Ammons on the bill, considered the education pillar of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ (ILBC) historic racial justice centered policy agenda. HB 2170 includes several policies that dismantle barriers to Black student success in higher education including Article 100, which creates the Developmental Education Reform Act.

ILEA shares NSC PDP

All ILEA institutions are sharing data through the NSC PDP

January 2021

Through the Postsecondary Data Partnership, 26 ILEA institutions have access to dashboards that provide disaggregated data both historically and from year to year. These dashboards empower ILEA institutions with more comprehensive data, easier analysis and better visual representations to help understand, improve, and communicate student momentum, outcomes and equity. Building data capacity across ILEA institutions helps to ensure a continuous culture of improvement, redirecting resources as needed based on leading indicators of success and moving student equity strategies to scale.

Framework Report cover

PCC RELEASES REPORT: EQUITY IN APPROPRIATIONS

November 10, 2020

When the COVID-19 crisis struck, it swiftly exposed the inequities underlying higher education in Illinois, highlighting access and affordability as challenges that persist for low-income students and students of color. With the support of The Joyce Foundation, PCC releases Higher Education Appropriations: A Framework for Equity in Illinois to examine Illinois’ disinvestment and underfunding of higher education during past fiscal crises while offering lawmakers a set of recommendations for a  more equitable playbook for how they fund public colleges and universities.

ILEA goes virtual

ILEA FALL SUMMIT GOES VIRTUAL

October 21-23, 2020

Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, PCC transformed its one-day, in-person ILEA convening to a virtual three-day Summit. The multi-day online conference marked the highest participation of ILEA partners, with more than 350 faculty, staff, and administrators attending the Summit focused on “Engaging Faculty Champions in Equity Work.”

Equity Plans released

2020 ILEA EQUITY PLANS PUBLIC RELEASE

August 15, 2020

A years-long development process culminates with 22 ILEA member institutions publicly releasing campus-based plans to eliminate racial and socioeconomic completion disparities. The development of each plan was spearheaded by a dynamic group of cross-departmental and cross-functional campus leaders. ILEA partners will implement a wide range of institutional strategies found in their Equity Plans to eliminate inequities in degree completion.

Cover page for ILCF page

PCC LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE: ILLINOIS COLLEGES FORWARD (ILCF)

August 10, 2020

With financial support from the Steans Family Foundation & Origami Works Foundation, PCC develops and launches Illinois Colleges Forward (ILCF), an online information hub dedicated to providing regularly-updated content related to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on college-going across the state.

EAPC Launch

EQUITY ACADEMY FOR PRESIDENTS AND CABINETS LAUNCHES IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ASPEN INSTITUTE

July 15, 2020

PCC, together with the Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, launches a one-year Equity Academy in for college and university presidents and their cabinets to support the implementation of their Equity Plans and overall institutional reform efforts as part of ILEA. The inaugural Equity Academy included college presidents and cabinet members from 11 ILEA partner institutions.

HigherEd Matters

IL HIGHER ED MATTERS CAMPAIGN LAUNCHES

May 11-15, 2020

In light of the early and sweeping disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic across sectors including higher education, PCC launches its first and signature social media campaign highlighting the critical importance of Illinois’ higher education system to the state’s response to and recovery from the crisis.

Equity Institute

ILEA WINTER EQUITY INSTITUTE LAUNCHES

February 18-19, 2020

PCC holds the first convening of the ILEA Winter Equity Institute. Unlike the Fall Summit, the Institute brings together members from specific practice areas within ILEA institutions to dive deeper into equity within their work areas. During the inaugural Institute, student affairs administrators and staff providing frontline wraparound student services are introduced to speakers and practices that have yielded positive results in the realm of basic needs and student success.

Cover of 3 Priced Out Reports

RELEASE OF AFFORDABILITY STUDY

October 22, 2019

PCC releases its third and most ambitious study, Priced Out: On Illinois’ Disinvestment in Higher Education & What Can Be Done About It. The study has three companion reports: Priced Out: Black Students (published 10/22/2019); Priced Out: Latinx Students (published 10/29/2019); and Priced Out: Rural Students (published 10/29/2019). The reports provide insight into how disparities in access, cost, and ability to pay are creating barriers for Illinois students across the state and recommend policy action to start reversing these trends. PCC’s ambitious study received significant media coverage.

ROR Report Cover

RELEASE OF REGIONAL OUTCOMES REPORT 2019

July 17, 2019

PCC releases, College-Going and Completion in the Chicago Area: A Regional Analysis, a report that offers an examination of trends in enrollment, attainment, and completion in the seven-county metropolitan Chicago area. The report proposes bold equity-focused policy recommendations to address stagnation and increase degree completion rates.

ILEA Webinar Series

ILEA EQUITY WEBINAR SERIES KICKS OFF

May 30-31, 2019

PCC kicked off the ILEA Equity Webinar Series, a program offering one-hour sessions featuring subject matter experts from across the country discussing proven strategies to facilitate positive student outcomes. The webinar series was part of a host of programmatic supports developed for the Illinois Equity in Attainment initiative.

DERA

SJR 41 ESTABLISHES THE DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL

May 5, 2019

In its public policy efforts to reform Developmental Education, PCC and its partners reach a policy milestone with the passage of Senate Joint Resolution 41 (SJR 41). SJR 41 creates an advisory council led by the Illinois Board of Higher Education and Illinois Community College Board, charged with creating an inventory and analysis of all developmental education models offered in the state to identify reforms to improve student success in developmental education.

SAC Launches

STUDENT ADVISORY COUNCIL LAUNCHED

March 5, 2019

To incorporate student voice into its work in a sustained, systematic, and meaningful way, PCC launches the Student Advisory Council, a committee consisting of a diverse group of 20 undergraduate students currently enrolled in Illinois colleges and universities. The committee engages with and advises PCC’s work in public awareness, public policy, and practice efforts.

ILEA Summit

INAUGURAL ILEA FALL SUMMIT

November 3, 2018

PCC held its first ILEA in-person convening that brought together over 200+ university practitioners from 25 participating ILEA member institutions in a conference titled the ILEA Fall Summit. ILEA members participated in the all-day Summit, attending sessions focused on Institutional Capacity Assessment and Using Data to Drive Institutional Action.

ILEA Launches

LAUNCH OF THE ILLINOIS EQUITY IN ATTAINMENT (ILEA) INITIATIVE

October 2, 2018

Unequal Opportunity demonstrated a need for individual college and university commitments to drive efforts to eliminate disparities in institutional graduation rates for low-income students and students of color in Illinois. In response, PCC launches its signature initiative Illinois Equity in Attainment (ILEA), a statewide inaugural cohort of 25 colleges and universities publicly committing to PCC’s goal to eliminate racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps by 2025 and to prioritize increasing completion rates on their campuses by implementing evidence-based approaches.

Social Belonging Intervention

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SOCIAL BELONGING INTERVENTION & RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

August 14, 2018

In partnership with the College Transition Collaborative based out of Stanford University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and with the support of Reach Higher Campaign, PCC supports the development of a video-based intervention designed to increase persistence and completion rates of incoming freshmen by supporting the development of students’ sense of belonging on campus. Bringing on the UChicago Inclusive Economy Lab as the evaluation partner, this research initiative is taking place on four university campuses in and around Chicago and will impact nearly 6,000 students.

SR-1647 Cover photo

Illinois Senate Adopts SR 1647 (Lightford)

June 1, 2018

In partnership with Illinois Senator Kimberly Lightford, PCC achieves its first policy success through the passage of SR 1647 which acknowledges the unequal outcomes and disparities along racial and socioeconomic lines and calls upon the state P20 council to develop equity targets for the states 60X25 goal.

“Student Success” Trustee Training

PCC DELIVERS “STUDENT SUCCESS” TRUSTEE TRAINING

October 30, 2017

In October 2016 the Illinois legislature passed Public Act 099-0695 in an effort to formalize the training of public universities’ Board of Trustees. The office of Governor Rauner and the Illinois Board of Higher Education Chair Tom Cross partnered with PCC to provide a “Student Success” training for new and existing university Trustees focused on prioritizing college completion.

Unequal Opportunity Cover

RELEASE OF REPORT: UNEQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN ILLINOIS

September 26, 2017

PCC releases, Unequal Opportunity in Illinois: A Look at Who Graduates College and Why It Matters as part of its public launch events. The release of the report launched PCC’s Data and Research area of work. The continued release of original research and reporting has contributed to organizational and coalition building for increased support toward a more equitable higher education system in Illinois.

Presidents for Latino Student Success

PRESIDENTS FOR LATINO STUDENT SUCCESS BROUGHT TO ILLINOIS

August 31, 2017

PCC partners with Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit organization working to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. The joint efforts saw PCC co-implement an Illinois cohort of Excelencia’s Presidents for Latino Students Success. The initiative marked the Partnership’s inaugural effort to create a community of practice.

2017 Strategic Plan

2017 STRATEGIC PLAN RELEASED

July 12, 2017

The PCC Board of Directors approves the organization’s first Strategic Plan. The PCC Strategic Plan was the result of over 150 meetings with cross-sector stakeholders. The plan called for a three-pronged approach to solving the college completion crisis in Illinois, thus establishing PCC’s first version of its three areas of work: Technical Support, Public Policy, and Public Awareness.

2017 PCC Team

PCC IS FORMALLY ESTABLISHED

August 3, 2016

In May 2016, Forefront’s CCAPS announces the formation of the Partnership for College Completion (PCC) in light of their report Chicago’s College and Career Access, Persistence and Success. The PCC Board of Directors meets on August 3, 2016, formally launching the organization after a search and appointment of PCC’s founding Executive Director, Dr. Kyle Westbrook.