Illinois was once a national leader on higher education accessibility and affordability. For a time the state led the country in providing need-based aid to students and in making sure that all students, regardless of income, could afford a quality degree.3 Illinois was also one of the first states to make aid available to part-time and non-traditional students. Today, however, young adults in Illinois face a particularly dire higher education landscape. With instate tuition currently the fifth-highest in the country,6 and with substantial higher education cuts looming, undergraduate education is becoming hard to afford for many Illinois families. These budget cuts will hit the students who need the most help affording college– such as first generation students and students of color – hardest. This issue brief outlines the current state of disinvestment in Illinois and the devastating effects the proposed budget cuts would have on the state’s higher education system.