Pictured (left to right): Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth, President of Olive-Harvey College; Z Scott, President of Chicago State University; U.S. Senator Dick Durbin; Dr. Katonja Walker, President of Kennedy-King College; and Dr. Michael Anthony, President of President of Prairie State College.

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) met with the presidents of four Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) in Illinois last week to discuss federal support for PBI colleges and students. During their meeting, the Senators spoke with the college presidents about ensuring that PBIs receive adequate federal funding, which would help PBIs address capacity buildings, enrollment declines, and student success outcomes.

“Illinois is home to many colleges and universities, including eight Predominantly Black Institutions, that offer a high-quality education and financial support to students,” said Durbin. “I enjoyed meeting with college presidents to discuss how the federal government can continue to work alongside PBIs to provide the best education possible to Illinoisans by removing obstacles to learning for students.”

U.S. Tammy Duckworth speaking with two out four president from Illinois’ Predominantly Black Institutions.

“Predominantly Black Institutions are places to educate America’s students and so much more,” said Duckworth. “They’re reminders of the resilience of African Americans through years of discrimination in education, and they’re places of community, culture and history. Today’s meeting with leaders from Illinois’s coalition of Predominantly Black Institutions was a great opportunity to discuss my support for eliminating barriers and discrimination in higher education and the federal resources these institutions need in the future.”

PBIs are a distinct designation of Minority-Serving Institutions, and they serve high proportions of Black students, first-generation college students, and students from low-income backgrounds. PBIs account for three percent of postsecondary institutions, but enroll nine percent of Black college students. Illinois has eight PBIs that enroll nearly 200,000 students.

Participating presidents in the meeting include:
1. Z Scott, President of Chicago State University
2. Dr. Michael Anthony, President of Prairie State College
3. Dr. Katonja Walker, President of Kennedy-King College
4. Dr. Kimberly Hollingsworth, President of Olive-Harvey College


Chicago State University’s entrance sign.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced $587,729 in federal funding to Chicago State University. The funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Predominately Black Institutions Program will assist the university in implementing their Resiliency and Capacity Expansion for Student Success in the Health Professions (RECESS-HP) Program. Chicago State, located on Chicago’s South Side, is Illinois’ only four-year U.S. Department of Education-designated Predominately Black Institution.

“Those of us who weren’t always sure we’d be able to go to college or faced barriers upon entry understand the power of a diploma,” said Duckworth. “I’ll keep working with Senator Durbin to ensure federal support for higher education, especially for Illinois schools like Chicago State University and for working class communities and communities of color, so that every American has the opportunity to enroll in college and complete a degree.”

“Higher education should be accessible to every American, no matter who they are or where they live. Today’s federal funding will help recruit and enroll students at Chicago State University to study health and science at an affordable cost. I will continue to work with Senator Duckworth to secure these kind of investments in communities of color and Predominately Black Institutions,” said Durbin.

“This funding, part of a 5-year, $2.9 million commitment, will help ensure Chicago State University’s continued excellence in the health sciences, where our graduate experience 100 percent job placement. Health sciences in an area of growth in the Illinois workforce, and we know that increasing access into the healthcare workforce for communities of color is key to addressing health inequities, so we will continue our innovative student success strategies with this federal funding,” said Chicago State University President Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott, Esq.

Through RECESS-HP, Chicago State plans to prioritize outreach to Black men, develop programs in health education and sciences and improve and expand hybrid and remote learning for students at the university. The U.S. Department of Education’s Predominately Black Institutions Program awards grant to eligible colleges to make higher education more accessible for low-and middle income Black students.