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December 3, 2008

HIGHTMAN SAYS HIGHER ED REPORT CARD UNDERSCORES NEED FOR PUBLIC AGENDA

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois’ GPA slipped in the latest national report card on higher education, and the state continues to flunk college affordability – evidence of the urgency to implement a Public Agenda for College and Career Success, Carrie J. Hightman, Chairwoman of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, said today.

“While disappointed that the state has not made greater progress, we welcome the challenge to move Illinois forward so its residents can compete with residents of other states and nations in the global marketplace,” said Hightman of Measuring Up 2008, the biennial national higher education report card. “The good news is that Illinois now has a plan to address the issues raised by the national report card through development of the Public Agenda for higher education.”

The Public Agenda, a year in the making, will be considered by the Board of Higher Education at its December 9 th meeting at National-Louis University in Chicago.

Hightman said the report card reinforces the findings and conclusions of the Public Agenda, and should be an impetus for action on its recommendations. “The Public Agenda will get us moving more swiftly to put us back among the top-performing states.”

“We know there is an achievement gap that must be closed. We know we must increase the number of people with a college degree or credential,” the Chairwoman said. “We know that we are losing the battle on affordability for low- and middle-income families. But, pending action by the Board of Higher Education, we have a plan to meet those challenges. The Public Agenda for College and Career Success is an action agenda designed to meet the pressing education and workforce needs of Illinois.

“Members of the General Assembly should be applauded for their foresight in mandating development of the Public Agenda planning process through a joint legislative resolution last year,” Hightman said. “The Measuring Up 2008 report demonstrates both the wisdom of that action and the urgency to act swiftly to implement the recommendations and strategies of the Public Agenda.”

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