Wheeler Bill to Create “State Seal of Biliteracy” Signed into Law in Illinois

Legislation sponsored by State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) that offers college-bound high school students an opportunity to earn college credit while saving on college tuition costs was signed into law on Friday by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Students applying to some Illinois public universities are required to complete two years of foreign language studies to be considered for admission. HB 4330 would allow students to meet that admissions requirement based on a proficiency exam, and those who earn high marks on the test would receive college credit for their proficiency. “The cost of a college education is out of reach for a growing number of Illinois families, and to help combat those costs this legislation offers significant savings to students who have shown proficiency in a foreign language,” said Wheeler. “The cost of the average foreign language class at the University of Illinois last year was $5,553. Those are real dollars that can be saved when students do well in their high school foreign language studies.”

According to Wheeler, the college credit obtained through the foreign language proficiency exam would be similar to credit earned through success on an Advanced Placement test for college level high school classes.

“In addition to providing an opportunity to save on tuition costs, the Seal of Biliteracy is an impressive achievement that can be listed on college applications,” Wheeler said. “With admissions becoming more and more selective, this type of accomplishment will look very good to admissions counselors.”