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 Release

In New Study, Penn Researchers Unveil Decline of Higher Education Opportunity and Affordability in Illinois

Executive Summary

  Performance and Policy in Illinois Higher Education: Key Points

Full Report

  A Story of Decline: Performance and Policy in Illinois Higher Education

Slide Show

  The Performance and State Policies of Higher Education in Illinois: Insights from a Five-State Policy Review Project

Press Coverage

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