2015 College Changes Everything Conference

Tinley Park Convention Center, Tinley Park, Illinois
July 16, 2015 - 8 am - 4 pm

The fifth annual College Changes Everything conference was another successful event. The state's premier college access and success event focused on effective practices and showcased resources available to help with increasing college access and college completion for students in support of the state's Goal 2025 - to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by the year 2025.

One of the strengths of this conference is that it brings together a diverse audience from across the state: high school leaders, counselors, and case managers; college and university leaders and administrators; business leaders; elected officials and policymakers interested in higher education; leaders from state agencies, non-profits, foundations, and community-based organizations focused on educational opportunity and attainment and career pathways. Sessions presented by state and national leaders provide purposeful information and engage the audience in thoughtful discussions on the serious issues we face in reaching Goal 2025.

The conference was kicked off with a welcome by Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti. Conference attendees also heard key remarks from Dr. Elizabeth Purvis, Secretary of Education, Office of Governor Bruce Rauner.

CCE 2015: The Impact and Influence of Volunteers

In Illinois, 2015 is the Year of the Volunteer and brings an opportunity to applaud the contributions of volunteers while at the same time highlighting the issues related to students and their success. Volunteers can make a difference in helping keep students motivated and on a pathway to complete their education goals. Volunteers represent a wide variety of individuals providing diverse services in support of students throughout the P-20 pipeline, including, but not limited to, community volunteers, faculty and student/peer mentors, and service learning by students themselves. To highlight 2015 as the Year of the Volunteer and the importance and impact volunteers have on student access and success, attendees heard from: Dr. John Holton, Director, Illinois Department on Aging; Scott McFarland, Executive Director, Serve Illinois Commission; Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, DuPage Regional Superintendent of Schools; and Dr. Shawn Healy, Civic Learning Scholar, Robert R. McCormick Foundation and Chair, Illinois Civic Mission Coalition.

Agenda and Conference Session Presentations

Conference agenda information and presentations from interest sessions are found below. Breakout sessions were presented by state and national leaders and provided purposeful information and engage the audience in the critical issues we face, such as: student support services, retention, remediation, college readiness, career development, after school programs, support systems for undocumented students, veteran students, and more.


General Session Presentations

Interest Session Presentations

College Changes Everything Champion Awards

The College Changes Everything Champion Award was established to recognize significant contributions to help the state improve college access and completion efforts for Illinois students. The award is made on behalf of Illinois students and the entire Illinois Higher Education Community. The first Champion Award went to State Senator Edward Maloney at the second statewide College Changes Everything conference in July 2012. Other recipients have included:

  • Elena R. Herrera – Women Employed’s Student Organizer
  • Lt. Governor Sheila Simon
  • The Alliance for College Readiness - a partnership between Elgin Community College and the public schools in the college’s district
  • Former State Senator and ISAC Commissioner Miguel del Valle

The 2015 College Changes Everything Champions Awards recipients are:

  • Aurora Regional Pathways to Prosperity
  • East Side Aligned
  • Health Professions Education Consortium of Lake County
  • Northwest Educational Council for Student Success (NECSS)
  • Peoria Pathways to Prosperity

The recipients are Leadership Communities of the Illinois 60 by 25 Network. The Illinois 60 by 2025 Network is an ever-emerging network of communities in Illinois that are committed to the statewide goal of ensuring that 60% of all Illinois adults have a college or career credential by 2025. The Network is designed to help meet the needs of communities that are working together to provide rigorous, real world learning in and out of the classroom—creating successful education to employment systems available to all students. Formed and led by Advance Illinois, the Illinois Student Assistance Commission, and the Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University, Network organizers are building a platform for action that connects state and local agendas so that more students have access to the education they need to improve both their lives and their communities.

2015 College Changes Everything Champion Awards Presentation

2015 College Changes Everything Champion Awards Media Release

2015 College Changes Everything Champion Awards Photos

The College Changes Everything Conference is sponsored by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

2015 College Changes Everything Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • Voices for Illinois Children
  • Women Employed