Why a College Readiness and Completion Initiative?
The Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success reports Illinois has one of the nation's worst educational attainment gaps.
The Associated Colleges of Illinois seeks to change this dismal picture by pursuing one of the Agenda's key recommended strategies: improving college readiness through post-secondary and high school partnerships. In partnership with select inner-city high schools, ACI's College Readiness and Completion Initiative (CRCI) provides a comprehensive and coordinated response to the compelling need to improve high school graduation, college enrollment, and degree completion rates among low-income, minority, and first-generation students.
A Track Record of Success
CRCI evolves from ACI's 15 years of experience meeting the college readiness needs of more than 2,000 students. When ACI introduced its College Readiness Program (1996) and its College Success Network (2006), these initiatives were among Illinois' first efforts to promote college access and completion among low-income, minority, and first-generation degree seekers.
Annual assessments of these ACI initiatives show impressive outcomes. During the past 12 years, ACI's College Readiness Program reported consistently high graduation and college enrollment rates: On average, 99% of participants finished high school, and 95% enrolled in college immediately thereafter. Nationwide, only 26% of low-income students and 41% of minority students who enroll in college ultimately earn a degree. However, among ACI's College Success Network students who enrolled in member colleges in 2006, 65% had earned a degree four years later.
ACI's new College Readiness and Completion Initiative builds on these successes to create a seamless continuum of supports that follows students from high school through college and beyond.
CRCI Program Overview
ACIs CRCI partners the Associated Colleges of Illinois, its member colleges, and select inner-city high schools to:
To accomplish these goals, ACI provides:
Maribel dreamed of graduating high school and entering college, but she faced seemingly insurmountable barriers. Confined to a wheelchair, this young Hispanic woman was told she would never do well, that everything would be harder for her. "But as strong as the negative and unjust views of the world can be," says Maribel, "there are things that are stronger and drive me to go on with my education."
ACI's College Readiness Program, a four-year, year-round program of academic enrichment and college access information, has helped Maribel graduate from high school and map the road to college. Maribel says: "ACI has given me new hope. I always thought that my options were very limited because of not having the money to pay for it. ACI taught me to look at things differently and gave me the opportunity to experience college. All of these things have helped me be less afraid of things to come."
ACI's College Readiness team helped Maribel connect to Trinity Christian College, which awarded her the scholarship she needed to make her college dreams come true. Maribel is set to graduate from Trinity Christian College soon.