The Federation Institute

The Illinois Institute of Independent Colleges and Universities was established in 1982 as a 501 (c) (3) organization with a broad mandate to strengthen private higher education in Illinois through research, fundraising and other collaborative activities. In this endeavor, the Institute works closely with the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities, the oldest college association in the nation, which represents the interests of private higher education in the policy sphere.

Independent colleges and universities are a major force in the United States. They gave birth to education in this country and nurtured it through centuries of growth. In Illinois — by dozens of measures — independent colleges are equal partners, or better, in educating the citizens of the state.

With 53 private colleges and universities educating 225,000 students, the educational output is enviable: 42 percent of all baccalaureate degrees, 64 percent of the master’s degrees, 67 percent of first professional degrees, and 50 percent of the doctoral degrees.

The private colleges serve as an economic engine for the state of Illinois, generating annually $16.5 billion in job-creating economic activity at the state and local levels.

Looking to the future, seismic changes wrought in recent years by technology, as well a growing trend toward globalism in educational delivery, pose new challenges and opportunities for the Institute.

One of the primary missions of the Institute is to strengthen private colleges through collaborative action, with special focus on boosting educational quality while reducing expenses. The following are examples of recent Institute initiatives:

  • Project Connect — multi-year projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education designed to help Illinois private colleges and universities improve teaching and learning through use of the Illinois Century Network, a high-speed telecommunications artery and program of network services dedicated to improving educational opportunity at all levels.
  • Project Health Professions — an initiative funded by the Small Business Administration to provide training to address workforce shortages in nursing and allied health professionals in the state of Illinois.
  • Project K-12 Workforce — a demonstration project funded by the Small Business Administration to strengthen the capacity of the K-12 education community to retain and support new teachers qualified to meet the demands of the Twenty-First Century. To achieve this goal, the project expanded the Living Library, an innovative web-based resource launched by the retired teacher and student programs of the Illinois Education Association.
  • Crossing the Finish Line — a demonstration project funded by AT&T. Designed to test a college completion program that provides financial assistance to underserved adults who are within 30 credit hours of earning their degree but were unable to finish the program due to financial hardships.
  • Teaching with Primary Sources — A project undertaken in collaboration with the Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities and funded by the Library of Congress to help K-12 teachers better utilize the Library’s vast collection of digitized primary sources to enrich classroom instruction. With a special focus on visual literacy, the project is designed to meet the needs of all learners across the curriculum — including history and social studies, language arts/English, science, English-language learners, and those with special needs.

For more information please contact:

David Tretter
President of The Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges & Universities