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HyeJin (Tina) Yeo and Dr. William Trent at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign trace unequal funding to inequitable student outcomes in the education pipeline.

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Published by Office of Community College Research and Leadership, 2019-10-04 14:03:16

Inequities in Educational Opportunities and Funding

HyeJin (Tina) Yeo and Dr. William Trent at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign trace unequal funding to inequitable student outcomes in the education pipeline.

Keywords: inequities in educational opportunities and funding,HyeJin Tina Yeo,Dr. William Trent,race,socioeconomic status,OCCRL,Office of Community College Research and Leadership,educational inequality,school funding,UPDATE Fall 2019 issue,funding inequalities,community colleges,educational funding challenges in Illinois

UPDATE - FALL 2019

INEQUITIES IN EDUCATIONAL
OPPORTUNITIES AND FUNDING

by HyeJin (Tina) Yeo and Dr. William Trent

“Education, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of
men, the balance wheel of the social machinery.” – Horace Mann

In the “land of opportunity,” many Americans are taught to believe in success through education. However, educational access and quality
are unevenly resourced producing and perpetuating inequality across diverse groups. Today’s educational pipeline arguably has broadened
participation however arguably more prevalent are inequitable experiences and outcomes for scores of students – especially those from
low-income and racially minoritized communities.
Educational inequality as we define it, is the unequal distribution of academic resources such as limited access to qualified and experienced
teachers, lesser-quality educational materials curriculum, and information resources. By contrast, educational inequity results from the
everyday and cumulative effects of inequalities in P-20 education. Additionally, lacking school facilities and environments, inadequate
funding, fewer human resources, lagging educational technologies that support learning in and out of school.
Our children’s learning process begins early and starts before a child enters formal schooling. Likewise, educational inequities are a consequence
of the lacking early education. Two conditions related to educational inequity and systemic disadvantages are poverty and race. Poverty
involves complicated historical, social, and political issues regarding neighborhood and residential patterns, educational system, financial
structures, and political and civic engagement. As such, educational inequality persists across generations and minoritized status, namely
by race and ethnicity. This article describes how educational funding inequality manifests in the P-20 pipeline and describes its impact on
students’ quality of education producing inequitable student outcomes as well as highlights funding issues in Illinois.
Inequality by Race and Socioeconomic Status
Studies show that the poverty rate of individuals is highly related to race and ethnicity. Racially minoritized children are more likely to
experience poverty and face many barriers to attaining a higher level of education. In 2016 there were 40.6 million (12.7%) Americans living
in poverty. Specifically, 22% of Blacks/African Americans, 19.4% Hispanics/Latinxs, 10.1% Asians, and 8.8% White non-Hispanics were
poor (Semega, Fontenot, & Kollar, 2017). During the 2015-16 school year, 17.3% public high schools were classified as high-poverty schools
where at least three-quarters of the students were poor as indicated by eligibility for free or reduced-price lunch. Additionally, 14.3% (nearly
1.8 million students) attended high-poverty high schools.
Public high schools with a relatively large proportion of students experiencing poverty tend to have a higher proportion of minoritized
students (e.g., racial/ethnic minority, English learners, and students with disabilities); high-poverty high schools were largely made up of
Black/African American and Hispanic students, whereas low-poverty schools predominantly consisted of White students (GAO, 2018).
Studies also reveal that the effects of socioeconomic status (SES) are cumulative and long-lasting on developing cognitive and non-cognitive
skills. Identified skills include social skills, motivation, and attitudes. Studies identify these factors as the main determinants of differences
in educational opportunities and outcomes (Boocock, 1980; Bowen, Kurzweil, & Tobin, 2005; Darling-Hammond, 2010). It is not an
exaggeration to say that life opportunities of young people are shaped by their parents’ income and education. For example, children who fail
in school are more likely to have parents with lower education levels and to be from a family with a lower SES or an under-resourced home
environment. They are less likely to become involved in activities that would lead to success in school (Boocock, 1980).
In addition, readiness for advanced educational levels (e.g., going to college) may be an issue for disadvantaged and minoritized students
because they are oftentimes not encouraged to think about college, to take college preparatory courses, or to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test
(SAT) or American College Test (ACT) tests for college admission. According to Bowen et al. (2005), students’ test scores are also related
to family SES and parental education. For example, in terms of testing patterns and SAT scores, 55% of students whose parents had lower
education levels (having no more than a high school diploma) took the SAT. By comparison, 77% of students whose parents had higher
education levels took the SAT. Moreover, students of parents with no more than a high school diploma scored 200 points lower than students
of parents with college degrees (Bowen et al., 2005).
Students lacking financial support are eight times less likely to graduate from college than other students without heavy financial burdens
(Levine, 1995). Moreover, 75% of students within the top income quartile completed a college degree. By comparison, 8.6% of students

1Following Harper’s (2012) principle, I use “minoritized” instead of “minority” throughout this paper to “signify the social construction of underrepresentation and subordination in U.S. social
institutions, including colleges and universities” (p.9).

UPDATE - FALL 2019
within the lowest income quartile completed a college degree (c.f., 28% from the third quartile and about 13% from the second quartile).
Many people in the lowest-income quartile identify as racial minority students (Ballantine & Hammack, 2011).
Educational Inequality in School Funding
The percentage of all K-12 public schools with high percentages of poor and Black or Hispanic students has grown to 16% in 2013-2014
from 9% in 2000-2001. Those schools have 75% to 100% of Black or Hispanic students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches
(GAO, 2016, 2018). Figure 1 illustrates the rate of children under age 18 who were in families living in poverty based on the official poverty
measure by race/ethnicity from 2000 to 2014. In 2014, approximately 15 million(21%) children under the age of 18 were in families living
in poverty, which was an increase compared to 2000 (16%). The increased percentages of children living in poverty were higher for Black
(37%) and Hispanic children (31%).

Figure 1. Percentage of children under age 18 in families living in poverty based on the official poverty measure by race/ethnicity:
2000 through 2014.
Note. In 2000 and 2001, Asian includes Pacific Islanders as well as Asians. Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutional
population. Total includes other racial/ethnic groups not separately shown, including Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, and
two or more races. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. The official poverty measure consists of a set of thresholds for
families of different sizes and compositions that are compared to before-tax cash income to determine a family’s poverty status.
Source: Status and trends in the education of racial and ethnic groups 2017 (NCES2017-051).

Figure 2. Student demographics in public high schools across poverty levels for the 2015-16 school year.

UPDATE - FALL 2019
Note. High schools are divided into four quartiles based on the percent of students in a school that was eligible for free or reduced-price
lunch as follows: schools with 0 to 24.9 percent of students in poverty (low-poverty), schools with 25 to 49.9 percent of students in poverty,
schools with 50 to 74.9 percent of students in poverty, and schools with 75 to 100 percent of students in poverty (high-poverty). Source:
GAO analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data and the Civil Rights Data Collection for school year
2015-2016 (GAO-19-8).
These students with different race and socioeconomic backgrounds appear to attend different schools with disparate resources. Educational
resources include school facilities, the quality of teachers, diverse curriculum, curricular and extra-curricular programs, and forms of college
and career counseling. Access to such resources are determined by school funding based on state and local funding formulas and local property
taxes, which has long been a tradition of funding in American public schools (The Education Trust, 2018; Verstegen, 2011). In fact, schools
in the highest poverty districts and that serve the most students of color received less resources and less money than districts serving the fewest
students living in poverty and students of color (GAO, 2018; The Education Trust, 2018). For example, the highest-poverty districts receive
about $1,000, or 7%, less per student than the lowest-poverty districts. The differences are almost twice as large between districts serving the
most students of color and those serving the fewest (The Education Trust, 2018). These missing funds could be used for improving crucial
factors that influence students’ performance and outcomes such as early childhood care, smaller class sizes, college readiness programs, addi-
tional school counselors, and higher-quality teachers (Darling-Hammond, 2010).
Such funding gaps can best be termed a fundamental opportunity gap. Research provides substantial evidence that levels of income and
race are generally associated with student educational outcomes. Figures below show disparities in academic curricular of STEM courses,
Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs between schools with high poverty and students
of color and schools with low poverty and students of color (Figure 3-1). The greatest differences in math courses are shown in seventh- or
eighth-grade algebra and calculus, which are critical to preparing students for college (Figure 3-2). Similarly, in science courses, schools with
high poverty and Black or Hispanic students offered a lot fewer physics courses than counterpart schools. The lower percentage of schools
with high poverty and Black or Hispanic students offered more physics courses (Figure 3-3).

Figure 3-1. Math and science courses offered in public high schools by school poverty level for school year 2015-16. Source: GAO analysis of data from the U.S.
Department of Education’s Common Core of Data and the Civil Rights Data Collection for school year 2015-2016 (GAO-19-8).
Regarding AP courses offered, the big disparities concurrently grew with school poverty level as well (Figure 4-1). Differences in AP courses offered between
schools with high poverty and Black or Hispanic students and schools with low poverty and Black or Hispanic students were greatest (Figure 4-2). Although
the percentage of high-poverty schools offering STEM and AP courses have generally increased since 2011, the gap between low- and high-poverty schools
was still widened to nearly 35% differences (GAO, 2016, 2018). In addition, high-poverty schools with a larger proportion of Black or Hispanic students
offered fewer of the courses that prepare students for colleges and universities (GAO, 2016, 2018).

UPDATE - FALL 2019

Figure 3-2. Percentage of middle and high schools offering selected math courses for school year 2011-12. Note. 7th or 8th Alg.= 7th or 8th grade Algebra, Alg.II =
Algebra II, Geom.= Geometry, Calc.= Calculus.
Source: GAO analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data and the Civil Rights Data Collection for school year 2011-
2012 (GAO-16-345).

Figure 3-3. Percentage of middle and high schools offering selected sciences courses for school year 2011-12. Source: GAO analysis of data from the U.S. Department
of Education’s Common Core of Data and the Civil Rights Data Collection for school year 2011-2012 (GAO-16-345).

UPDATE - FALL 2019

Figure 4-1. Number of different advanced placement (AP) courses offered in public high schools by school poverty level for school year 2015-16. Source: GAO analysis
of data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data and the Civil Rights Data Collection for school year 2015-2016 (GAO-19-8).

Figure 4-2. Percentage of schools offering advanced placement (AP) courses and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs for school year 2011-12. Source:
GAO analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data and the Civil Rights Data Collection for school year 2011-2012 (GAO-16-
345).

UPDATE - FALL 2019

It is true that the academic excellence of low-income, first-generation, and minoritized college students has improved substantially since the
1960s (Bowen et al., 2005). However, inequitable school- funding practices hinder full engagement in the P-20 educational pipeline for
racially minoritized and economically disadvantaged students. Indeed, the pathways to higher education are polarized and separated between
SES strata (Bastedo & Jaquette, 2011). Bastedo and Jaquette (2011) found that students from higher SES made stronger gains in academic
achievement over the same period while the proportion of low SES students in selective institutions remained constant since 1972. Specifi-
cally, postsecondary attendance rates for low SES students increased, but it is highly concentrated in community colleges and noncompetitive
four-year institutions. This finding has been replicated in other studies. Across all achievement levels, students from the lowest SES groups are
less likely to apply for or to attend college. They are also much less likely to apply to selective institutions than students from the highest SES
groups (Ballantine & Hammack, 2011; Perna & Titus, 2004).
Funding Inequality and Community College
The highly differentiated and stratified U.S. higher education system, comprised of nearly 1,050 public community colleges (941 public, 35
tribal, and 75 independent institutions; American Association of Community Colleges, 2019), as an extension of the K-12 system, provide
both academic and vocational programs. Community colleges, many operating as open-access postsecondary organizations, contribute to
individual mobility by enhancing workforce preparation and educational attainment through college transfer and economic development
(Cohen, 2014; Dougherty, 2014, printed in Zamani-Gallaher, 2014). Community colleges facilitate access to and success in postsecondary
education, especially for Black and Hispanic students who are their majority student population. From the G.I. Bill and the Higher Education
Act of 1965, the enrollment in public community colleges has grown to approximately seven million in the fall of 2017 (American Associ-
ation of Community Colleges, 2019). There is a tendency to think that most underserved, minoritized students start their postsecondary
education at community colleges, and the statistics prove this to be true. About 44% of low-income students with family incomes of less than
$25,000 per year are first-time college students who enrolled in a community college in 2010; 20% were students with disabilities (National
Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2011). Demographically, 56% of Hispanic students, 44% of Black students, and 40% of
Asian students enrolled in the public two-year sector in 2014 (Ma & Baum, 2016).
In the American systems of higher education, however, community colleges command the lowest level of prestige. Also, students are stratified
by race/ethnicity, or SES, in stratified education systems (Ballantine & Hammack, 2011; Bowen et al., 2005). Moreover, lower graduation
rates at community colleges are a major concern. About 20% of full-time students in a public community college earn an associate degree or
a certificate within three years, compared to about 60% of students at four-year colleges and universities who earned a bachelor degree within
six years (Hosansky, 2015). Further, there is a strong correlation between graduation and completion rates and the likelihood of employment,
which in turn perpetuates the large socioeconomic divide (Carnevale & Strohl, 2013; Hosansky, 2015). In this regard, lowering the barriers
that prevent students from continuing their education is significant in order to raise completion and graduation rates in community colleges
(Kotamraju & Blackman, 2011). One of the biggest barriers would be the costs.
The educational costs for postsecondary education have increased dramatically and federal loan limits are too low to fully cover expensive
tuition and fees and living costs, particularly for underserved minoritized students. The majority of lower-income students who enroll in
public community colleges receive benefits from the federal and state direct student aid resources, but only marginally so. (Alexander, 2002).
Arguably, it is because of shifting from student grants to loans, a pattern of cost escalation , and inequitable distribution of the resources. In
spite of these issues, most low-income students attend public community colleges.
Only 12% of lower-income students at public community colleges received state grant aid. In contrast, 42% of lower-income students from
comparable economic backgrounds attending private non-profit two-year institutions and 24% of students attending proprietary two-year
institutions received state grant student aid and received disproportionately larger average aid awards (Alexander, 2002). In 2016-17, public
two-year college students received 34% of the available Pell Grant funds, and students received less than their proportionate share of funds
from all other federal student-aid programs (The College Board, 2018).
Goldrick-Rab and Kelly (2016) argued “tuition and fees are the price of access — living costs are the price of success (p. 56).” According to
a nationwide survey conducted by the Hope Center in 2018, one in three students at community colleges experiences hunger, while 48% of
survey respondents in community colleges reported having food insecurity. Sixty percent of the respondents reported experiencing housing
insecurity (The Hope Center, 2019). Worse still, 13 to 14% of community college students are homeless and half of the students reported
having food insecurity in 2015 (Brown, 2017; College Promise Campaign, 2017). Demographic disparities revealing such basic needs were
shown as well. For example, the overall rate of food insecurity among participants identifying as Black/African American was 59%. It was
62% among American Indian or Alaskan Natives, and 51% for Hispanic/Latinx students. These rates are approximately 15 to 20% higher
than the overall rate of White students (43%) (The Hope Center, 2019). Given these disparities, more aggressive and equitable policies and
programs of financial aid for minoritized students are necessary. The educational opportunity lost by minoritized students are taken into
account as the lost of social benefits from higher education (e.g., economic development, job security, lower poverty rate, reduction in crime,
etc.) (McMahon, 2009; Trostel & Smith, 2015).
Educational Funding Challenges in Illinois
Under the previous funding formula, Illinois public schools relied heavily on the revenue from local property taxes (approximately 60%),
28% from the state and 12% from the federal government (Houston, 2018). Despite increased education for education during the past 10
years, “Illinois ranked lowest among states in the percentage of revenues from state sources” (Fritts, 2012, p. 1). Such a decentralized funding
structure has led to substantial regional disparities and stratification in school funding and educational outcomes (Greene, Huerta, & Rich-

UPDATE - FALL 2019
ards, 2007; Lewis & Nakagawa, 1995). In turn, educational funding matters for educational upward mobility (Houston, 2018). A report
published by The Education Trust, Funding Gaps 2018, examined funding equity by race and poverty. The report compares the state and local
funding for different districts by the percentage of students in poverty and by the percentage of students of color. According to the report,
funding inequities continue to be large nationally, and a great deal of variation in allocating educational funding by states was revealed. Illinois
was noted as being among the lowest ranked in funding equity with regard to poverty and students of color (see Figure 5 and 6).

-29%

Figure 5. Gaps in state and local revenues per student between districts serving the most and the fewest students in poverty.
Note. The term progressive means states allocated more funding to the highest poverty districts. In states shaded in dark green, the highest
poverty districts received at least 15% more state and local funds than the lowest poverty districts; light green shading indicates that the
highest poverty districts received between 5% and 15% more. In states shaded in dark red, the highest poverty districts received at least 15%
less state and local funds than the lowest poverty districts; light red shading indicates that the highest poverty districts received between 5%
and 15% less. Gray shading indicates similar levels of funding for the highest and lowest poverty districts. States are ordered and classified
as providing more or less funding to their highest poverty districts based on unrounded percentages. Source: Funding gaps 2018 from the
Education Trust.
Compared to other states, the highest poverty districts in Utah received 15% more in state and local funds, while in Illinois the highest
poverty districts received 29% less in state and local funds per student than the lowest poverty districts (Figure 5). Districts serving the most
students of color in Illinois received 18% less in state and local funds per student than districts serving the fewest students of color (Figure 6).
In other words, the districts with the highest percentages of students from low-income families and students of color received considerably
less funding. Considering nearly half of Illinois students are students of color and qualified for free and reduced-price lunches, these findings
clearly show inequitable funding practices in the state and a strong need for a more equitable approach for distributing state education dollars.

-18%

Figure 6. Gaps in state and local revenues per student between districts serving the most and the fewest students of color.
2 Cost escalation means that overall spending in higher education has grown faster than the cost of living or the national income (p. 198, Kimbal & Luke,
2016).

UPDATE - FALL 2019
Note. The term progressive means states allocated more funding to the highest poverty districts. In states shaded in dark green, the districts
serving the most students of color received at least 15% more state and local funds than districts serving the fewest students of color; light
green shading indicates that districts serving the most students of color received between 5% and 15% more. In states shaded in dark red, dis-
tricts serving the most students of color received at least 15% less state and local funds than districts serving the fewest students of color; light
red shading indicates that the districts serving the most students of color received between 5% and 15% less. Gray shading indicates similar
levelsof funding for the districts serving the most and fewest students of color. States are ordered and classified as providing more or less fund-
ing to their districts with the most students of color based on unrounded percentages. Source: Funding gaps 2018 from the Education Trust.

Figure 7. Student demographics in Illinois. Source: Funding gaps 2018 from the Education Trust.
Figure 8 illustrates the differences in funding between the highest and lowest poverty districts in Illinois. The highest poverty districts received
$3,380 less (22% less) per student than the lowest poverty districts. When adjusting for the additional needs of low-income students, the
gaps are even bigger: $4,281, or 29% less per student, is allocated in the highest poverty districts. Districts serving the most students of color
received $ 2,573, or 18% less per student, than districts serving the fewest students of color (Figure 9).

Figure 9. The amount of funding among Illinois districts serving the most and fewest UPDATE - FALL 2019
students of color. Source: Funding gaps 2018 from the Education Trust. Inequitable school funding is associated with educational
pathways and upward social mobility. For example, Houston
(2018) found a positive relationship between funding and
student outcomes, meaning the district per-pupil revenue
was a statistically significant explanatory and predictive factor
in education outcomes. More dollars spent in schools with
wealthier students and with fewer students of color in Illinois
may explain lower ACT composite and math scores as well as
the likelihood of lower postsecondary enrollment and degree
attainment in schools with larger numbers of students of color
compared to White students (Houston, 2018). In addition,
such gaps in resources in K-12 education are likely to impact
postsecondary outcomes. Students with higher ACT scores are
more likely to enroll in a postsecondary institution, especially
in a four-year institution (Houston, 2018). Other studies
show that school factors (e.g., a college-prep curriculum
and the average quality of teachers) and student factors
(such as parental income and education, GPA, and student
aspirations) are positively associated with students’ educational
achievement and attainment (Bowen et al., 2005; Dixon-
Roma, Everson, & McArdle, 2013; Palardy, 2013). Therefore,
school funding disparities can be an indicator used to estimate
the extent to which students may lose or have fewer educational
opportunities to advance their learning.

Furthermore, students with strong postsecondary credentials are more likely to be viewed as greater assets to the state (McMahon, 2009).
However, the recent state budget crisis has increased the unpredictability in higher education funding in Illinois. In 2016, 60% of students
who were eligible students for the Monetary Awards Program (MAP), one of the oldest need-based aid programs in Illinois, did not receive
funding due to the recent state budget crisis. A potentially greater problem is the substantial increase in tuition levels in Illinois. Low-income
students can only cover a small portion of tuition with MAP awards (Partnership for College Completion, 2017). Nevertheless, more than
half of first-generation, low-income students and Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino students who were awarded MAP grants are
more likely to earn a college degree at public institutions (Partnership for College Completion, 2017). Considering financial burdens are one
of the biggest barriers to persist in enrolling and completing postsecondary education (Levine, 1995), it is no exaggeration to say that MAP
grants play a significant role in educational and social mobility for low-income students in Illinois.

Under the tight state appropriations, most public higher education institutions, including community colleges, have increasingly relied
on tuition and fees as a revenue source (Baime & Baum, 2016). Such widening gaps in school funding and decreasing funding in higher
education are not Illinois’ only issues. A recent report from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (Mugglestone, Dancy, & Voight,
2019) illustrates that students from wealthier families are far more likely to get benefits from financial aid than lower-income students due
to systemic inequities in the educational funding (e.g., poor aid prioritization). Public flagship institutions nationwide are less affordable for
lower-income students. Nearly one-third of financial aid in many state or public flagship institutions goes to typically high-income students
whose family income is more than $167,000 per year (Mugglestone et al., 2019).

Changing Methods for Equitable Funding in Illinois
Inequities in school funding based on local property taxes have been pervasive in funding American public education and have been a
persisting source of inequity in the funding of Illinois public education. The soaring tuition and fees of higher education and decreasing
financial aid in Illinois are the main factors for the increasing out-migration of young adults who are opting to attend college out of state.
The enrollment of potential Illinois college students in out-of-state colleges and universities has increased by 73% since 2000 (The Illinois
Chronicle, 2018). This brain-drain issue has been caused by the volatility in state funding for higher education and inequitable school funding
in Illinois, both issues that should be catalysts for urging lawmakers to improve educational funding policies in Illinois.

In order to address these funding inequities, Illinois adopted a new funding formula in 2017, a research-based school funding formula
that offers a more equitable distribution of state dollars to the neediest districts by explicitly addressing funding inequities. Following the
evidence-based funding formula, the majority of new school funding in the 2018 state budget went to the neediest districts first: 89% of
the new school funding allocated at tier one schools that were furthest from their Adequacy Target and more than 85% of all dollars went to
districts with greater than 50% low-income students (Finke, 2018). Institutions of higher education in Illinois are taking steps to ensure more
affordable access. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign initiated Illinois Commitment, a program that provides financial aid for
in-state students from families with annual household incomes of less than $61,000, along with institutional, federal, and state aids such as
Pell Grants and MAP grants (Illinois News Bureau, 2018). Thus, Illinois Commitment expects to contribute to reducing students’ debt and
the brain-drain issue (Illinois News Bureau, 2018; The Illinois Chronicle, 2018).

UPDATE - FALL 2019

Conclusion
Although the educational funding system has been revised to address inequity in education, it needs to do much more to decrease the funding
inequities in education. Having a deeper understanding of the history of disparities and an intentional commitment to addressing the ways
in which racially minoritized and economically disadvantaged groups have been historically, politically, and socio-culturally marginalized is
a significant foundation for ensuring an equitable funding structure going forward. By doing so, policymakers and institutional leaders can
highlight contextual factors such as race and poverty, and initiate and legislate a more equitable funding system. All states should increase
appropriations to better fund public education and allocate educational funding commensurate with school districts’ needs based on student
demographics and resources. States and institutions should design and provide needs-based aid programs so that the lowest-income students
can get help from federal, state, and institutional dollars to cover the real cost of college, not just tuition.
To the state’s credit, Illinois has taken multiple meaningful initial steps to improve equity and establish an important accomplishment in
education. The new school-funding formulas Illinois Promise and Illinois Comminitment for instance, have the potential to improve access
to higher education for a broader segment of Illinois residents. While it is too soon to determine the benefits of the new allocation formula
and financial-aid program results, the preliminary evidence shows promise.

Dr. William Trent can be reached at [email protected]
HyeJin (Tina) Yeo can be reached at [email protected]

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