Join the Partnership for College Completion in raising awareness about the systemic barriers that have gotten in the way of Black, Latinx, low-income, and first generation students accessing college, persisting, and completing their degree. Help us urge our elected officials to create policies that remove systemic barriers to college completion and ensure every Illinoisan who desires to earn a degree has equitable access to do so!
Download our Advocacy Toolkit
This advocacy resource is designed for students, college and university faculty and staff, organizational advocates—anyone who is interested in fighting for more equitable outcomes in higher education.Download
Share Your Story, Help Drive Change – Elevating Student Voices
Are you a student who is Black, Latinx, first generation and/or from a low-income household and enrolled at a college or university in Illinois? Have you been affected by the issues PCC focuses on? Share your experience.
By sharing your story, you’ll be helping inform the work we do and helping make the case for a more equitable higher education system in our state. Please note, we may follow-up with you via email to learn about your experience and with your permission, we may share your story with lawmakers, supporters, and advocates to help advance equity in Illinois higher education!
Tell us your story by filling out the form below!
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Get In Touch With A Policy Maker
Your voice and experiences matter! Check out these ways to contact your lawmaker, urging them to vote for legislation that supports the enhancement of equitable opportunities in Higher Education in Illinois.
Policy Victory: Developmental Education Reform Act (DERA)
In January of 2021, the Illinois legislature passed a bill requiring colleges to place students in college-level courses using more expansive and evidence-based measures like high school GPA, and to only implement developmental education courses that are backed by evidence of success. Equity-minded legislators and organizations partnered on this legislation, but advocates were instrumental in getting this passed, creating dozens of witness slips to help pass the bill through the Illinois House and Senate.
The Scoop: Every year, tens of thousands of community college students are made to take traditional developmental education courses, which cost students additional time and money, but fail to count as credit toward degree completion. Low-income students and students of color are disproportionately placed into these courses, and are less likely to graduate — for example, 71% of Black community college students are placed into developmental education courses and only 9% will graduate. The issue is two-fold: unpredictive measures (like standardized tests) are misplacing students who can succeed in college courses into developmental education classes, and we have not implemented better models for teaching students who do need extra help.
Policy Victory: Equitable Funding for Public Universities (SB815)
SB815 creates the Commission on Equitable Public University Funding, which will research, model, and ultimately recommend specific criteria and approaches for an equity-based higher education funding system for public universities. PCC and its partner organizations supported SB815 and worked with Senator Lightford and Representative Ammons to pass the bill. We continue to move forward in this policy area by researching potential funding formulas that meet such requirements. Advocates have been and will continue to be key to turning the commission’s work into equity for students by participating in social media campaigns, sharing their priorities with SB815 commission members, writing their legislators, and ultimately advocating for an equity-centered approach to higher education funding.
The Scoop: In Illinois, insufficient state funding has exacerbated the historic difficulties of attaining a college degree, for low-income students and Black and Latinx students in particular. Illinois may be the only state in the nation without a funding formula for its public universities, and more than half of state appropriations currently go to the two most resourced of its 12 universities.
Policy Victory: Equity Targets Resolution
In 2018 PCC worked with legislators to help pass SR 1647 and HR 1017. These two resolutions urged the P20 council to adopt equity targets for its 60×25 goal, while reinforcing the state’s commitment to improving equity in college degree completion. This was made possible by the 60 witness slips filed in favor of these resolutions, showing the support that individuals and organizations had for systemic change toward equity.
The Scoop: In 2009 Illinois set a “60×25” goal, which aims for 60% of all adults to have a college or career credential by 2025. However, this goal didn’t acknowledge the disparities in college access and completion for low-income students and students of color, which the state needs to close in order to not only achieve this goal, but to do so equitably.