Despite improvements in high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates for Illinois students, disparities in degree completion rates are often 10 to 20 percentage points and sometimes as high as 30 to 35 percentage points among students when disaggregating by race, household wealth or income. Our colleges and universities have not served all students equitably. However, Illinois and its institutions are increasingly prioritizing and investing in higher education equity.

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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Hundreds Gather Online for the 2024 Virtual ILEA Equity Institute

The Partnership for College Completion hosted its fourth annual Virtual ILEA Equity Institute on Friday, April 12, welcoming hundreds of like-minded higher education professionals to exchange best practices...

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The Full Agenda for the 2024 Virtual ILEA Equity Institute is Available

The Partnership for College Completion has announced the full agenda for its 2024 Virtual ILEA Equity Institute on Friday, April 12. The day-long, online event brings together hundreds...

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Upcoming ILEA Events

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