The Partnership for College Completion (PCC) champions policy and legislation that improves college access and affordability, increases college completion and eliminates degree completion disparities for students from low-income families, first-generation college students and students of color in Illinois, particularly Black and Latinx students. 

Below are PCC’s legislative priorities for 2024.

Invest an additional $50 million in the Monetary Award Program to help more students enroll and persist

Every year, more than 140,000 Illinois low-income students depend on the Monetary Award Program (MAP) state grants for the financial support they need to enroll and persist in college. In FY 2002, MAP grants covered 100 percent of tuition and fees for all eligible public university students. The Governor’s Office has made historic investments in MAP, increasing it by 77% since 2019. However, the grants will still only cover 50 percent of the tuition and fees for public university students in FY24. 

While PCC appreciates these past historic investments, the Governor’s proposed MAP increase of $10M is not enough to serve all students who qualify and does not keep up with inflation. To best serve all low-income students who rely on MAP, PCC is asking the state to invest an additional $50 million in MAP for FY25, giving hundreds of additional dollars to each student and bringing the average award above $3,500 for the first time. Smaller increases like the Governor has proposed are not enough and we need to continue to bring down the price of college and increase the number of students attending our state’s colleges and universities. 

Ensure adequate and equitable funding for Illinois’ colleges and universities in FY25

To revitalize our public university system, we must go beyond just investing in need-based grants for students and change the way we fund our institutions. The SB815 Commission on Equitable Public University Funding submitted recommendations to the General Assembly on March 1 on how to fund public universities adequately, equitably, and stably. Once recommendations are finalized, the Partnership will work with external partners and Commission Legislative Co-Chairs Senator Kimberly Lightford and Representative Carol Ammons to file a funding formula bill in the 103rd General Assembly. This would represent the first time that Illinois has a formula for distribution of state appropriations to public universities.

Increase access to higher education for justice-impacted students

Asking applicants about their criminal record during the college admissions process can expose justice-impacted students to discrimination or stop them from completing their application altogether. Although “the box” requiring students to disclose their criminal history does not improve campus safety and poses a barrier to prospective students, many colleges and universities in Illinois still ask for this information. 

Over the past 40 years, about 3.3 million adults in Illinois had an arrest or conviction on their record. For these residents, banning “the box” in college admissions would remove an unnecessary and inequitable barrier to pursuing a college degree and the life-changing opportunities that come with it.. We’re working closely with our partners at the Freedom to Learn Campaign to continue laying the groundwork for successful legislative action in the future. 

The Illinois Student Assistance Commission is pushing forward a bill to expand the recipients for the Grant Program for Exonerees (SB3771 Senator Ram Villivalam). The legislation will allow dependents of exonerees to receive a grant toward tuition and mandatory fees for up to two semesters per academic year for undergraduate or graduate study at Illinois public universities and community colleges.

Upcoming Events and More  

PCC’s policy team will have a heavy presence in Springfield this legislative session, monitoring bills, voicing positions on legislation and hosting events to drive momentum to efforts to prioritize urgent action on equity in higher education.. We look forward to sharing these priorities with legislators and advocates across the state this year and are excited to host our first in-person Advocacy Day in April. 

For more information, contact PCC Government Affairs Manager Danielle Stanley at