Despite improvements in high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates for Illinois students, differences in degree completion rates between Black and Latinx students, students from low-income households, white students, and wealthier students within a single institution are often at least 10-20 percentage points and sometimes as high as 30-35 percentage points. Our colleges and universities are not serving all students equitably.

What is the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA)?

In October 2018, the Partnership launched the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA), our signature effort to galvanize direct and urgent action with a group of two-year and four-year, public and private non-profit colleges and universities across the state. These 25 institutions publicly commit to the PCC’s goal to eliminate racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps by 2025 and aggressively prioritize increasing completion rates on their campuses.

ILEA Core Beliefs

Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA) member institutions subscribe to a core set of beliefs that are foundational to how PCC understands its role in addressing the college completion crisis on Illinois’ campuses. ILEA colleges and universities believe:

  • Colleges and universities are responsible for graduating all degree-seeking students efficiently, and consistent with supporting students’ short- and long-term goals
  • All college students can graduate with the right information, tools, and supports
  • Racial and socioeconomic completion disparities are unacceptable and should be eliminated with urgency
  • Solutions and resources exist to close the equity gaps in higher education
  • The actions that colleges take or fail to take as it relates to student persistence and completion matters to students’ overall trajectory in college

ILEA College & University Commitments

In order to build a strong learning community focused on ensuring all students are reaching their attainment goals, and that these efforts are happening comprehensively across ILEA institutions with a sense of urgency, ILEA partner institutions have made the following commitments to impact collective student success:

  • Publicly commit to eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in degree completion, thereby increasing overall graduation rates
  • Undertake these efforts in partnership with PCC without sacrificing quality and excellence or raising admissions standards
  • Dedicate a senior team of committed faculty and staff to this effort
  • Set annual growth targets & annually report progress to PCC
  • Work with PCC to develop a comprehensive, college-specific Equity Plan to achieve targets
  • Implement and scale effective, evidence-based practices
  • Share findings in communities of practice and other forums

Network of Partners

PCC continues to cultivate an evolving network of partners whose services, expertise, and insights are used to support the development and implementation of ILEA members’ equity plans in service of their goals and based on their campus needs.

  • Achieving the Dream
  • The Aspen Institute
  • Center for Urban Education
  • National Student Clearinghouse – Postsecondary Data Partnership

Latest ILEA Blog Posts

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Student-Centered Practices for Student Engagement and Success at Moraine Valley Community College

Serving the southwest suburbs of Chicago, Moraine Valley Community College is the fourth largest 2-year college in Illinois. The college offers over 130 academic programs along with dozens...

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Member Spotlight: Meet Eunice Heredia, City Colleges of Chicago

1. What is your current role/title?I have been working with City Colleges of Chicago for six years. My current role is Assistant Director of Financial Aid. Before working...

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Upcoming ILEA Events

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2022 ILEA Equity Institute

2nd annual Equity Institute, February 24-25, 2022!

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