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Uniform Admission Act bill faces opposition

Source%3A+Department+of+Management+Information
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Uniform Admission Act bill faces opposition

Source: Department of Management Information

Source: Department of Management Information

Alayna Nulty

Source: Department of Management Information

Alayna Nulty

Alayna Nulty

Source: Department of Management Information

By Alex Sardjev, Staff Writer

The University has been a large source of opposition to the Uniform Admission Act, which would automatically admit students who meet certain standards into any public Illinois college or university.

The bill, proposed by André Thapedi, member of the Illinois House of Representatives, would automatically admit students who graduate within the top 10 percent of their class and meet certain test score requirements into any public university in Illinois. These requirements would vary among universities and programs.

The bill, which has been introduced in previous years, aims to prevent emigration of Illinois students and to further diversify the student body, said Kevin Pitts, vice provost for undergraduate education.

“Illinois is the No. 2 net exporter of high school graduates to other states, with New Jersey being number one,” Pitts said.

Pitts said the bill considers all public Illinois institutions, but it was written primarily with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in mind. The University of Illinois system is currently the only set of schools openly opposing the bill. The regional universities have remained neutral.

While University officials share the goals of increased enrollment and diversification, they are not in agreement on the steps that need to be taken to achieve those goals, Pitts said.

Thapedi said the bill would allow more qualified students to attend the University, according to an article by the State Journal-Register.

However, University officials are concerned that because high schools throughout Illinois differ greatly in size and curriculum, the bill may lead to the admission of students who are not prepared to succeed at the University.

“We want to avoid bringing students to campus, saddling them with debt, and then sending them home with no degree,” Pitts said.

Andy Borst, director of undergraduate admissions, said the bill is approaching the problem from the wrong angle.

“The best and brightest leave the state primarily because of cost, not because they were not admitted to the flagship university,” he said.

Borst said several things have recently been done to remedy the high tuition costs, including a fifth-straight annual tuition freeze, additional MAP Grant funding and the creation of the Aim High scholarship.

“As the University has gotten more expensive and student debt has gone up, emphasis on student success has gone up,” Pitts said.

The bill is based off a system that has been in place in Texas since 1997, Borst said. Since its enactment, the University of Texas at Austin has seen minimal gains in diverse student enrollment, Borst said.

Proponents of the bill will likely continue to revise and reintroduce it to legislature in future years, Pitts said.

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