Dear PCC Policy Partners,
Thank you for your ongoing, active investment in equity in Illinois higher education. I consider myself fortunate to be on this journey with you. Before joining PCC as Managing Director in November 2021, I described my work in access and success programs for historically underserved college students as two-fold–helping students navigate the rocky terrain of their college experience while working to eliminate institutional and systemic barriers to their success. While the setting has changed, my commitment to aligning with others committed to that same work remains consistent. It has been said many times that change is the only constant, but we must remain rooted in our convictions regardless of the shifts taking place around us.
September is a month of preparing for change. We observe the change from summer to autumn that is usually marked by the start of a new school year, swapping shorts and sundresses for sweaters and hoodies, unpredictable weather, the first orange leaves on the trees, and the return of pumpkin spice everything. This year as we prepare for the fall, we also brace ourselves for change at every level of state and local government. The November gubernatorial and state house elections may change the faces of some of our state’s leaders, but PCC’s commitment to bold policy action driven by data and research and centering the stories and needs of Illinois students will not change. As we continue to understand the ongoing impact of two decades of state disinvestment, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the infringement on the rights of women and communities of color, PCC invites you to double down on your active commitment to work toward a state where all have access to a high-quality, affordable post-secondary education that will serve as a vehicle for a better life for so many, as well as economic advancement for our state as a whole.
We look forward to deepening partnerships with continuing leaders and introducing our work to new policymakers as we advocate for bold policies that eliminate racial and socioeconomic disparities in college access and completion. So join us as we continue our work to move toward legislation for an equitable funding formula for Illinois public universities and consider solutions to advance equitable and adequate funding for Illinois community colleges; find ways to use policy and advocacy to advance accountability and enhance student protections, and identify additional opportunities to use policy and advocacy to eliminate barriers to equitable college completion and support students from low-income backgrounds, Black, Latinx, first-generation, and other minoritized student populations.