Allocating targeted support for underserved students has been shown to have a positive impact on student persistence and college completion rates.

Photo by Keira Burton from Pexels

BY Jonathan Lopez, PCC Communications and Operations Manager

Institutions of higher education in Illinois continue to be confronted with the question of how to best serve the growing number of undocumented and DACA-eligible students on campus. Undocumented students contribute immensely to Illinois’ institutions of higher education and to the communities…

This spring, members of the Partnership for College Completion’s Student Advocate Board shared personal impact stories about MAP and sounded off about the pivotal role these grants play in students’ ability to start, continue, and finish college.

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Created in 1967, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) was designed to cover the full cost of tuition at public colleges and universities for all eligible students in Illinois — but the state pulled back its investment as college costs rose, which has led to an affordability crisis.

Without additional funding…

Graduating DePaul University Senior Jane Andrews shares her experience navigating college during COVID-19 and shares why greater investment in MAP grants will benefit many more student journeys—especially after a year like the one we’ve had.


BY Jane Andrews, Graduating Senior at DePaul University

To begin with, education has always been a great foundation for my life. As I’ve always been a go-getter, education was another way to identify myself and break away from stereotypes surrounding young adults. …

MAP has the potential to play a crucial role in the growth and sustainability of Illinois’ economy and can be a gateway to financial stability for communities that are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

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BY Mike Abrahamson, PCC Public Policy Manager

Illinois college students are facing unprecedented financial barriers to getting a degree — barriers which disproportionately fall on low-income families and students of color. The Monetary Award Program (MAP) is a state aid grant that used to cover the full cost of tuition…

Josh Wyner, Executive Director of the College Excellence Program at The Aspen Institute, and Lisa Castillo Richmond, PCC’s Managing Director, discuss their collaboration through the Aspen/PCC Equity Academy for ILEA Presidents & Cabinets and the state of higher education equity in 2021.


The first collaboration between the Partnership for College Completion (PCC) and The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program, the Equity Academy for ILEA Presidents & Cabinets, kicked off in July 2020, with 11 ILEA college and university presidents and their cabinet members*. …

In his 2021 budget address, Governor Pritzker continued to break from his predecessors in ensuring that our state’s higher education system does not sink further into a quagmire of disinvestment, fiscal uncertainty, and public skepticism.


BY Lisa Castillo Richmond, PCC Managing Director &
Kyle Westbrook, Ph.D., PCC Executive Director

If state budgets passed under Governors Blagojevich and Ryan provided the kindling, Governor Rauner lit the flame to create a path of destruction in Illinois public higher education, from which the sector still has not recovered…

We estimate that public colleges and universities could have enrolled 30,000 additional students throughout the past two recessions alone had it just maintained funding for colleges and student aid at pre-recession levels.

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BY Mike Abrahamson, PCC Public Policy Manager

Tens of thousands of additional college graduates, particularly from low-income families and families of color — that’s what Illinois lost out on by cutting state funding in recent recessions. We estimate in our recent report, Higher Education Appropriations: A Framework for Equity in…

Partnership for College Completion

We champion policies, practices & systems that increase college completion & eliminate attainment disparities for low-income, 1st generation & students of color

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