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Illinois Brief 2011

In the mid- and late-1990s, Illinois was a top-performing state in preparing students for college, enrolling residents in college, and keeping college affordable:

  • Compared with residents of other states, large percentages of Illinoisans earned a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) diploma by age 24; earned high scores on college entrance exams; and enrolled in college immediately after high school.
  • Illinois led the nation in the proportion of young adults (ages 18 to 24) and working-age adults (ages 25 to 44) who were enrolled in college.
  • Illinois was a leader in keeping higher education affordable for families, as measured by (1) the share of family income required to attend the state's public two-year and four-year institutions and (2) the availability of state need-based financial aid.

During the past decade, however, the state has experienced substantial declines in higher education performance. At the same time, the state has made no progress toward ameliorating a persistent pattern of inequity in higher education.

Press Coverage 

Chicago Tribune (8/27/18): After years of watching top students leave for other states, U. of I. and lawmakers begin to respond

NPR Illinois (5/30/18): Higher Ed Gets A Bipartisan Push

Education Week (4/17/17): Can Requiring a Post-Graduation Plan Motivate Students? Chicago Thinks So.

Chicago Tribune (4/7/17): Governor, start fixing higher ed in Illinois: How to pour more spending into classrooms and labs

Chicago Tribune (2/13/17): How Illinois pols enable failure at Chicago State

NPR (3/28/12): In Illinois, College can be a legislative favor 

Penn Current (1/19/12): Public Higher Ed Troubles in Illinois

Chicago Tribune (12/15/11): Improving Higher Education

Naperville Sun (12/10/11): Illinois Governors Have Harmed Higher Education

Online Degrees Direct (12/6/11): Illinois Higher Education Floundering, Government Corruption Part of the Problem

Chicago Tribune (12/5/11): Study: Quality of Illinois Universities Suffers

The Huffington Post (12/5/11): Illinois Higher Education Floundering, Government Corruption Part of the Problem

Newswire (12/5/11): Illinois Higher Education Floundering

One News Page (12/5/11): Illinois Higher Education Floundering

Chicago Sun-Times (12/4/11)Study Gives Low Marks for Higher Ed's Direction in Illinois 

Yahoo News (12/4/11): Report: Illinois Higher Education System Less Affordable, Successful (12/1/11): State Affairs: Higher Education Decline Calls for New Options

First Electric Newspaper (11/23/11): Study: Illinois Is No Longer a Model for Higher Education  

Illinois Issues Blog (11/22/11):Study: Illinois Is No Longer a Model for Higher Education

University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100 (11/16/11): Study Documents "Decline in Illinois Higher Education" 

Finney and Perna presented at the Association for the Study of Higher Education's Public Policy Pre-Conference Forum, 11/16/11

Inside Higher Ed (11/15/11): Study Documents Decline in Illinois Higher Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education Ticker (11/15/11): Researchers Link Policy Shift in Illinois with Decline in Higher-Education Performance

My Science (11/14/11): Decline of Higher Education Opportunity and Affordability in Illinois

The Performance and State Policies of Higher Education in Illinois: Laura Perna presents at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, 10/13/11 

The Chicago Tribune (10/30/11): Student Debt Looms Large for a Generation 


This report was part of the State Review Project, a project commissioned by the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation for Education. Read more about the State Review Project.