SPRINGFIELD – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon commended the Illinois Senate today for voting to help students make informed choices about Illinois’ higher education options through publication of College Choice Reports. House Bill 5248, Amendment 2, passed the Senate 56-0 and now moves back to the House for concurrence.
Under the Simon-backed legislation, College Choice Reports will be published annually and provide students, parents and taxpayers with key institutional data for Illinois’ community colleges and universities. Data included on the reports could include degree and certificate completion rates, net costs, average student debt, and student demographics. The goal is to help students make informed choices about educational paths so they can graduate on time and with less debt.
“Parents and students should think of this new resource as a consumer report, guiding them toward high-quality, affordable higher education investments,” Simon said. “This new tool will help students comparison-shop between institutions so they can select schools that meet their educational and career needs.”
Upon House approval of HB 5248, Amendment 2, Simon will convene a committee of higher education stakeholders to determine the style and content of the reports. Public and private degree-granting institutions will publish their first College Choice Report by January 1, 2015.
Simon serves as Governor Quinn’s point person on education reform and helped draft two bills this session that aim to improve college completion and career readiness. The first bill to pass both chambers, SB 3244, authorizes the Illinois State Board of Education to design curriculum models that detail content and teaching techniques for middle and high school math standards. SB 3244 currently awaits Quinn’s signature.
Simon is a former professor and serves as the chair of the Joint Education Leadership Committee of the P-20 Council.