Partnership for College Completion Applauds the State Legislature for Increasing College Affordability
Looks Ahead to Commission Recommendation
May 31, 2023
Chief of Staff, Blanca Jara
CHICAGO, IL– The Partnership for College Completion (PCC) applauds the state legislature for making tremendous strides in supporting students this legislative session by committing $100M to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) for FY24 and passing legislation that supports and protects students. This new investment in MAP will make college significantly more affordable for our students, help them pay for tuition, and see a path to a viable future in higher education. In addition to the increase in MAP, the legislature also approved a historic 7% increase in institutional funding for our state’s universities, amounting to a total $100M increase in funding for public universities ($80.5 million) and community colleges ($19.4 million), continuing to show a renewed commitment to Illinois higher education after decades of disinvestment.
“We are grateful to the state legislature for prioritizing students this legislative session by passing the Governor’s proposed increase of $100M in MAP Funding. MAP is the most powerful tool to address college affordability and ensure more students are given direct funding to support their enrollment, continued persistence, and completion,” Executive Director Lisa Castillo Richmond said. “When we invest in MAP and financial aid, we’re not only making a direct investment in our students but also our collective future in Illinois.”
The legislature also approved a 7% increase in funding for public universities across the state. With affordability being top of mind for students With this increase to MAP and the approved 7% increase in funding for public universities across the state, the Governor’s Office has said that community college will effectively become tuition and fee-free for nearly all students at or below the median income level in Illinois. With affordability being top of mind for students when it comes to affording higher education, the legislature and the Governor have made a path to a degree all the more possible for Illinois students.
As the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding continues its work to make recommendations to the state legislature on a new funding model for our state’s public universities, this investment is even more crucial for our students and their access to higher education. While this year’s increase in institutional funding is critical, we must also ensure we take steps toward equitably distributed funding in the future.
“This is a great step forward for our students while the Commission presses toward making its recommendations in the coming months,” Castillo Richmond said. “The road forward will not be quick or easy, but continued investments in our students and institutions, through MAP and state appropriations to our colleges and universities are crucial as we work to develop a funding formula that will prioritize students and equity.”
The Partnership recently released its latest report Exploring Equitable Public Higher Education Funding Models in Illinois Toward Adequately Funding Universities and Supporting Students, which hopes to help chart a path forward for an adequacy-based and equity-centered approach to public university funding. The report can be found here.
PCC also celebrates the passage of its bill HB2898, chief-sponsored by Representative Maurice West II and Senator Celina Villanueva, which creates the MAP Refund Fund and requires for-profit colleges who have been found to have engaged in unfair or deceptive practices to students to pay back the MAP funding they received that time.
The bill now heads to Governor Pritzker’s desk to await his signature. Read our complete statement on HB2898 here.
PCC is grateful for the tremendous steps forward for students this legislative session and will continue to fight for students across the state through its work on the Commission and beyond.
About the Partnership for College Completion
The Partnership for College Completion (PCC) champions 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.