CHICAGO, March 24, 2022—The Partnership for College Completion (PCC) has been awarded a $200,000 grant from Lumina Foundation to educate the public by raising awareness about the critical need for an adequate, stable, and equity-centered funding distribution model for Illinois’ 12 public universities.

Over the last twenty years, Illinois has gone from a national leader in providing meaningful, affordable access to higher education to being the most expensive state in the Midwest and among the most expensive nationally for students from low-income households. The result of this downward trajectory has had the notable effect of making Illinois’ public universities more costly and less accessible along racial and socioeconomic lines. As state investments overall have declined, public universities serving high proportions of Illinois’ Black and Latinx students and students from low-income households have been affected the most. The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus’ successful push in 2021 for the creation of a commission to study more equitable approaches to funding public universities represented a step forward to greater college affordability and access for more of Illinois’ students.

“Ultimately, the work of the Commission and their recommendations will need to inform state policy in order to ensure that vision is made reality,” PCC Executive Director Lisa Castillo Richmond said.

This March, Lumina awarded a total of $1.4 million in grants to support eight organizations nationwide, including PCC, in using bipartisan education and awareness building activities to inform state policies that increase college completion and improve outcomes for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students.  

“We are proud to support the Partnership for College Completion’s work to educate the public by raising awareness of funding models that address long-standing inequities affecting students of color,” said Paola Santana, strategy officer for state policy at Lumina. “We look forward to partnering with PCC to inform an equity-centered funding approach in Illinois.”

Supported by the one-year Lumina grant, PCC will collaborate with another grantee, Advance Illinois, to inform state policymakers about the need for substantial and equitable reinvestment in Illinois’ public university system. Activities include the cultivation of an independent coalition; deployment of a  public awareness campaign; independent analysis, modeling, and proposal of an equitable funding approach; and nonpartisan policy education.

“We believe that equity-driven, evidence-based information about state policy is a critical piece of our work to accelerate racial and socioeconomic equity on every college and university campus in this state,” Castillo Richmond said. “That is our entire focus as an organization and why this work in Illinois is so important.”

For more information, email PCC Senior Communications Manager Bravetta Hassell at


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.

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Our goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.