Promoting Project 500
As the summer of 1968 approached, administrators at the university were optimistic about Project 500. Chancellor Jack W. Peltason painted the program as a facet of “educational reform,” positing that educating disadvantaged or underprivileged students would benefit the school. "As we figure out better ways to teach them we will figure out ways to teach all of us," Peltason said during an event in May 1968. Peltason also connected Project 500 to other successful and recognized parts of the university, notably its programs for physically handicapped students, maintaining that admittance of underprivileged students would enhance and not diminish the standards of the university.
Despite the university’s optimism over SEOP, questions existed about the program among the public. In May 1968, the Daily Illini spoke with graduate student David Eisenman, a member of the committee charged with implementing Project 500, about the program. Eisenman noted that the program was not just for black students and that it targeted students who have the “capacity and will to acquire higher education,” but not the means. Eisenman, like Peltason, also asserted that educating the disadvantaged would assist the university in educating all students.