New legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly aims to equalize credit transfers between community colleges and the state’s public four-year colleges and universities, making student transitions smoother between institution types. Supporters of the bill state that it will ensure students have low-cost pathways to a four-year degree and that it will help address critical workforce shortages, especially in education fields.
The legislation will ensure that course credits across 18 majors will directly transfer from community colleges to four-year public institutions.
The majors included in the bill are:
- Biological Sciences
- Computer Science
- Criminal Justice
- Early Childhood Education
- Media and Communication Arts
- Political Science
- Theatre Arts
Under the current system, four-year schools can deem a community college credit as not equivalent to its own offerings, meaning that those courses would only count as electives and that students would have to retake similar classes to meet their major’s course requirements. As part of the legislation, the Illinois Articulation Initiative is required to create equivalency plans for early childhood, elementary, and secondary education majors. The bill, which is soon expected to be signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker (D), received full bipartisan support, passing unanimously in both chambers of the legislature.
“Equalizing the value for certain credits earned at community colleges will also help reduce the stigma that work done at a community college is less valuable than at a four-year college or university,” Illinois Community College Board Director Brian Durham wrote in a statement.