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

To read Governor Pritzker’s full press release, click here. Watch the full press conference on WGN TV’s website here.  

On March 17, the final day of his Community College Tour, Illinois 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 hopes 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. 

Pictured from the left: IL State Rep. Cyril Nichols; City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado; Malcolm X College student Tyler Cannon; Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton; Malcolm X College student Jeffrey Haggins; Malcolm X College President David Sanders

“I’m grateful to Governor Pritzker for his work to increase funding for community colleges and MAP grants. Students like me are benefiting from his support as we chase our dreams. I’m so grateful to be a voice today for the countless other students who have been and will be supported by Illinois MAP grants. Thank you,” said Tyler Cannon, a future nurse studying at Malcolm X College’s West Side Learning Center.

“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.

At today’s event, Governor Pritzker stood alongside Malcolm X 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 a career or to transfer to a four-year institution.