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Gov. Pritzker Shares Proposed Higher Education Investments at Malcolm X College in Chicago

Press Release - Friday, March 17, 2023

With Increased Funding, Virtually All Community College Students at or Below the Median Income Level Can Attend School for Free

CHICAGO — On the final day of his Community College Tour, Governor JB Pritzker was joined by Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, state officials, and community leaders at Malcolm X College to highlight proposed investments in higher education. The Governor's FY24 budget calls for the largest increase for community colleges in over two decades and historic investments in financial aid, putting Illinois on track to guarantee every student has access to the education and training they need to thrive.

"Since I took office in 2019, Illinois has increased our MAP grant program by 50%, creating over $200 million more for college scholarships every year," said Governor JB Pritzker. "And when the General Assembly passes the FY24 budget proposal, every working-class resident of Illinois will be able to get a degree from any community college in our state - tuition free and fee free. That means people across our state can get a good education and graduate with no student loans."

"There is nothing more powerful than to help someone learn and find their voice. I watched my late mother give her all to teach students at Malcolm X College and saw the joy it inspired in both her and her students," said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton. "That's why I am especially proud of the historic investments our state is making in community colleges and state universities. We know the struggle that many first-generation and working-class students face, and we are easing their financial burdens to help their dreams come true."

The proposed FY24 investments in day-to-day operations and state financial aid would make attending a higher education institution easier and more affordable. The Governor's proposed budget also calls for a $100 million investment in Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants, making it the highest in state history and a 75% increase in the program since he took office.

"Money and lack of resources should not be reasons why students are missing out on the opportunity to pursue a higher education," said State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago). "It is imperative that we continue fighting to ensure that students in Illinois have a fair chance at succeeding in life with sustainable and affordable college options."

At today's event, Governor Pritzker stood alongside Community College President David Sanders to highlight the above proposed investments.

Malcolm X College was founded in 1911, making it the oldest City College in Chicago. Last fall, the institution served 7,312 students demonstrating an 11.5% increase since the 2021-2022 school year. Notably, year over year (21-22 vs 22-23) preliminary data shows that City Colleges saw an 8 percent increase in credit enrollment for Black students and a 6 percent increase in credit enrollment for Latino students. City Colleges' enrollment has outperformed state and national averages.

Increased enrollment is due in part to a variety of programs the colleges offer, including:

• Future Ready, which offers students the opportunity to receive short-term credentials at no additional cost
• Fresh Start - a debt forgiveness program allowing students who left City Colleges with debt to return and continue their studies
• The Chicago Roadmap - an unprecedented partnership with Chicago Public Schools that creates a clear path for CPS students to attend and complete college

Malcolm X College has evolved over the years in response to student needs. Tuition at City Colleges has not increased since 2016, and the administration has ensured that every student has a pathway to career or to transfer to a four-year institution. The College has raised more than $20 million in grant funding to execute its equity plan and remove barriers for students, which would alleviate the cost of tuition, uniforms, transportation, food, housing, mental health services and personal hygiene.

These initiatives, alongside the proposed investments by Governor Pritzker's administration, would allow all community college students at or below median income to attend school tuition and fee free.


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