Chicago City Wire

Chicago City Wire

Saturday, February 22, 2020

With taxpayers already paying $319,476 per graduate, City Colleges of Chicago seeks another tuition hike


By LGIS News Service | Feb 21, 2019

City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado | City Colleges of Chicago

City Colleges of Chicago, which has a taxpayer-funded annual budget of more than $523 million, is considering a 2 percent annual tuition increase over the next four years despite tumbling enrollment and questions surrounding its graduation numbers. 

Tuition at the seven-school community college already has gone up 9 percent over the last four years, climbing from $4,970 in the 2014-15 academic year to $5,406 in 2017-18. 

All the while, enrollment has plummeted 32 percent since 2010, and critics claim the community college has been inflating graduation numbers.

A 2017 Better Government Association report cautioned that the community college system had “watered down its curriculum, violated its own rules on what constitutes a degree, changed the way it counts statistics and bestowed thousands of degrees — sometimes in multiples to the same person — to current and former students who in many cases neither requested nor wanted them… .”

In July 2018, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges Chancellor Juan Salgado insisted the graduation rate was up to 22.9 percent, climbing from a low of 7 percent in 2011. 

Their assessment, however, didn’t concur with “normal time” graduation rates, which assumes a full-time student at a two-year school normally would graduate in two years. 

Of the 47,454 students who enrolled at City Colleges of Chicago as freshmen in 2014-2015, the U.S. Department of Education said only 7 percent graduated within two years. 

That equates to an annual taxpayer subsidy of $319,476 per graduate, according to an analysis of data from the Illinois State Comptroller Warehouse. 


City Colleges of Chicago Graduation Rates & Taxpayer Subsidies 2016-17

SchoolEnrollmentGraduation Rate

Total # of GraduatesAnnual Taxpayer Subsidy

Annual Subsidy Per Graduate

Harold Washington 8,8695%

Harry S. Truman8,1863%

Kennedy King3,39513%

Malcolm X6,7133%


Richard J. Daley7,18219%

Wilbur Wright10,2274%


Source: U.S. Department of Education based on  2014-15 college entrants and their graduation rates in "normal" time, or two years for a two-year program. Tax subsidy data from the  Illinois State Comptroller Data Warehouse based on fiscal year ending 6/30/2017 with central office cost allocated across all seven schools.

Want to get notified whenever we write about any of these organizations ?

Sign-up Next time we write about any of these organizations, we'll email you a link to the story. You may edit your settings or unsubscribe at any time.

Organizations in this Story

City Colleges of ChicagoChicago Mayor Rahm EmanuelBetter Government Association

More News