- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An Illinois House committee has cleared a proposal that would require public universities to admit first-time freshman applicants who finish with a GPA in the top 10 percent of their high school’s graduating class.

The House Higher Education Committee passed the bill Wednesday despite opposition from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Board of Higher Education, The News-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2lXlTzc ) reported.

Democratic Rep. Andre Thapedi of Chicago sponsored the bill, noting that the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus has 5.4 percent black enrollment. Higher percentages are reported at the school’s Chicago and Springfield campuses.

“Clearly, our universities are not diverse,” he said. “And I think it’s important to recognize we’re talking about our best and our brightest students.

“We’re not just talking about kids who are looking to just get over to get into the university. These are kids who are performing in their high schools, but for one reason or another, the universities opt not to admit them. So now we want to give them that opportunity.”

Thapedi said the bill seeks to ensure that the state’s workers, especially minority students, are properly educated to compete in the world economy.

University of Illinois director of state relations Jennifer Creasey said the university doesn’t believe admission criteria should be in the law.

“One of the biggest problems is by going off a class ranking, there are a lot of disparities throughout the state. Every school district does their class ranking differently,” she said. “So to automatically say that the top 10 percent is admitted is difficult.”


Information from: The News-Gazette, https://www.news-gazette.com

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