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Illinois PaCE

Illinois PaCE: Postsecondary and
Career Expectations

The Illinois PaCE Framework was developed with extensive input gathered from stakeholders and subject matter experts to provide guidance to students, families, and educators on what types of experiences and information a student should have in order to make the most informed decision about college and career planning beginning in 8th grade and through high school. The framework is organized around three key areas:

  • Career Exploration and Development
  • Postsecondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection
  • Financial Aid and Literacy

It's recognized that high schools and communities provide a broad array of college and career readiness activities for students, but they are not always well documented and/or connected to other initiatives within a school, district, or community. The intent of the PaCE Framework is for it to be an organizing tool to help acknowledge and connect areas of success and identify those that may need additional attention or resources.

While the PaCE Framework has been adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission for benchmarking college and readiness for students, there is no state mandate to use the PaCE Framework. For more information on the background on PaCE, please see the section below under History.


ISAC is offering a professional development training module on the Framework for counselors, administrators, educators, and other college access professional. This interactive session will walk participants through the PaCE Framework and how to implement key college and career readiness activities essential for students in schools, districts, classrooms, or communities. The training is free and can be provided in a manner that best fits your schedule and needs — an hour long overview, half-day or full-day experience. Participants can walk away from the session with a plan to support students in meeting benchmarks and in preparing for their futures after high school.

To schedule a session, please complete the PaCE Training Request Form, and for more information about the PaCE Framework, contact


For Educators, Counselors, and Advisors

The PaCE Framework is a tool for counselors, advisors, teachers and other educators to see on one document what types of experiences and information a student should have in order to make the most informed decisions about college and career planning. Organized by 8th through 12th grade, the document explains what students should be supported to do and what they should know at the end of each grade relative to the three categories outlined above.

For Students, Parents and Educators

Organized around the same categories as the Framework, the PaCE Student Checklist is designed to be a simple tool to help guide students in 8th through 12th grade through the college and career planning process.  Educators, parents and students can use the checklist to see the kinds of things they can do at each grade level to better prepare for life after high school, including a list of experiences and information a student can use to explore and prepare for college and career opportunities.

For Communities

The On PaCE to Thrive Community Guide offers a process and activities for communities to cultivate college and career readiness using the PaCE Framework.

PaCE Framework History

In the Spring of 2015, the Illinois House adopted House Resolution (HR) 477, a resolution calling for the agencies participating in the Illinois Pathways Interagency Committee, which included the State Board of Education, Community College Board, Board of Higher Education, Student Assistance Commission, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and Department of Employment Security, to study methods to better prepare high school graduates for success in college and/or career. That resolution led to the formation of four advisory committees focused on distinct strategy areas for improving student outcomes. More than 120 stakeholders participated in the study and consensus building work and recommendations were presented to the Illinois P-20 Council. The College and Career Readiness Committee of the P-20 council adopted the recommendations. In 2016, HB 5729 was introduced, a bill that incorporated the work of the HR477 committees and community feedback. The bill was passed and signed into law in July of 2016, and Public Act 99-0674 established the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act.