Wheeler Bill Offers College Bound High Schoolers’ Chance to Earn Credit and Save on Costs

State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has advanced legislation in the Illinois House of Representatives that would improve the acceptance chances for college bound high school students in Illinois and provide an opportunity to earn credit at the same time. Students applying to one of Illinois’ many public universities are currently required to complete two years of foreign language to be considered for admission. House Bill 4330 would allow students to qualify based on a proficiency exam and those who earn high makes can earn college credit for their skills.

“Every hardworking student deserves the chance to pursue a quality college education, but the heavy cost of paying for college puts it out of reach for many today,” said Wheeler. “This bill gives students who have shown they have strong foreign language skills the ability to earn credit and save on costs through earning the State Seal of Biliteracy. When you consider that the cost for one class at U of I averages out to be more than $5,000, students and parents could save a lot of money.”

House Bill 4330 was passed out of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee in the House with unanimous consent and will now be taken up by the full House for consideration. If passed into law, the bill allows a student who earns a score of “intermediate high” on the State Seal of Biliteracy test to meet foreign language admission requirements at any public community college or university in Illinois. Once accepted, the student may then request that their State Seal of Biliteracy be used to earn credit, potentially saving thousands on the overall cost of attendance.

According to data from CollegeCalc.org, which compares and calculates college costs across the country, using the State Seal of Biliteracy to earn credit for one foreign language class at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign could have saved $5,553 during the 2014/15 academic year.

“We have college bound students leaving Illinois every day because they can get a more affordable education out of state,” said Wheeler. “This legislation could be a positive step to encourage students stay in Illinois, use their knowledge to save money and lead them to pursue their career here after they graduate.”

The State Seal of Biliteracy score is similar to Advance Placement (AP) scores, but open to students who didn’t have the chance to take the AP test through their high school classes. To learn more about House Bill 4330, click here.