Public School Funding and Postsecondary Outcomes in Illinois: What is Reasonable to Expect from Illinois’ School Funding Reforms?

Derek A. Houston, University of Oklahoma

This paper explores the relationships between differential public school funding across Illinois high schools and six educational outcomes: ACT composite scores, ACT math scores, enrollment in any postsecondary education, enrollment in four-year institutions, attainment of any postsecondary degree, and attainment of four-year degrees. It reviews the Illinois school funding policies that were in place at the time of data collection and their regressive structure. Using a unique longitudinal dataset for the Illinois public high school junior class of 2002, it finds significant and positive relationships between higher public school funding and each of the six postsecondary-related outcomes through both hierarchical linear and logistic regression modeling. These findings highlight how funding policies may have affected educational mobility of Illinois public school students.