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 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Naperville Sun (12/10/11): Illinois Governers Have Harmed Higher Education READ MORE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 READ MORE

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

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

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

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