Daily Herald opinion: Move to reduce do-overs in college would save students time and money


This editorial is a consensus opinion of the Daily Herald Editorial Board.

It’s hard to imagine putting a child through college these days. Harder still to imagine that child putting him or herself through college without benefit of parental or scholarship support, seeing a tidal wave of debt looming for years to come.

But there is new hope.

In the mid-1950s when college was — adjusted for inflation — a lot more affordable, Advanced Placement classes were introduced. Today, AP courses are almost an expectation for someone who wants to go to college.

The types of AP classes have blossomed since then, giving serious students a chance to leapfrog over some of the freshman-level classes and the costs — both in time and money — associated with them.

State Sen. Cristina Castro of Elgin introduced legislation to ensure that those students who go on to college can transfer from a community college to a university or from one university to another without losing ground.

Her bill, which the Senate approved this week, would require all public colleges and universities within Illinois to accept all major transfer courses for major credit from other public Illinois institutions.

It doesn’t guarantee you that courseload in English you’re taking at Harper College will transfer to an English degree at Yale, but it’s a move in the right direction for Illinois.

“Students who earn major coursework credit at a community college should not have to spend more precious time and money to re-earn the same credit at a four-year university,” Castro said in a news release. “This legislation will reduce the burden on our students and accelerate the time it takes them to earn a degree and start a meaningful career.”

Existing legislation requires general education courses to be transferable, but it’s at the institution’s discretion to accept previous classes as credit toward a major or merely as electives.

Castro’s new bill would prevent the class-repeating nonsense that bogs down a student’s education.

The Illinois Community College Board is thrilled with this.

“The two biggest hurdles for students today are time and money,” said Illinois Community College Board Executive Director Brian Durham in a news release. “If we find ways to reduce that burden and equalize the value for the hard work they put in, we are putting them in a better position for long-term success.”

This could effectively cut down on the enthusiasm drain of having to essentially start over when transferring to a new school, result in fewer gap years and ensure greater graduation rates.

Our high-performing local community colleges, which by and large have weathered the storm of COVID-19 better than others, are such an important resource.

This bill makes them that much more valuable. State Rep. Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn is the lead sponsor in the House. We urge all of our state reps to support it.

Ino Saves New

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April 7, 2023 at 07:25AM

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