In 1965, the Illinois General Assembly established the Illinois Community College Board to create a system of public community colleges that would be within easy reach of every resident. Fifty years later, the Illinois Community College System covers the entire state with 48 colleges and one multi-community college center in 39 community college districts. Community colleges serve nearly one million Illinois residents each year in credit and noncredit courses and many more through their public service programs.
Community colleges are similar to each other and yet each college is unique. While this may appear to be a contradiction, it is not. Illinois community colleges share a common mission. They prepare people for college, for transfer to other colleges or universities, and for good paying jobs that demand high skills. Community colleges also provide adult, literacy, and continuing education and services. What makes each college unique is how the college responds to the communities it serves. The Illinois Community College System is coordinated by the Illinois Community College Board comprised of citizens appointed by the Governor. Locally elected boards of trustees* set policies that guide their colleges in achieving local and statewide goals. Within the System, organized groups represent students, faculty, trustees, staff, administrators, and college presidents, and all of these groups are actively involved in the decision-making process for the System. Colleges meet both local and statewide needs for education and workforce development through high-quality, affordable, accessible, and cost-effective programs and services.
*The Board of Trustees of the City Colleges of Chicago is appointed by the Mayor of Chicago.