Legislation to help shine light on Illinoisâ€™ higher education institutions
SPRINGFIELD, IL â€“ Lt. Governor Sheila Simon submitted written testimony to the Senate Higher Education Committee in support of House Bill 5248, Amendment 2. The legislation, approved 7-0, will require public and private colleges and universities to publish annual â€œCollege Choice Reportsâ€ with key student and institutional data.
The College Choice Reports could contain information such as degree and certificate completion rates, net costs, debt loads and job placement outcomes. Much of the suggested data is already collected by the Illinois Community College Board and Illinois Board of Higher Education, but HB 5248 will ensure it is published in an easy to find and digestible format.
â€œFuture undergraduates will be able to access College Choice Reports online to comparison-shop among institutions,â€ said Simon, who helped draft the legislation following her Complete College Tour of the stateâ€™s 48 community colleges. â€œThink of this new tool as a consumer report, guiding parents and students toward high-quality, affordable higher education investments.â€
Upon passage of HB 5248, Amendment 2, higher education stakeholders will convene a committee to determine the style and content of the reports by January 1, 2014. Public and private degree-granting institutions will publish their first College Choice Report by January 1, 2015. Simon, as chair of the Joint Education Leadership Committee of the P-20 Council, will monitor the committeeâ€™s progress.
The General Assembly, with guidance from the P-20 Council, recently revamped the elementary and high school report cards which have been required for more than a decade. The College Choice Reports will build on these resources, Simon said.
HB 5248, sponsored by Sen. Kimberly Lightford, now moves to the Senate for a vote.