Cunningham in committeeSPRINGFIELD – Illinois community college students with a B-average or better will automatically qualify to transfer to the University of Illinois under a new law State Senator Bill Cunningham shepherded through the General Assembly.

“This law accomplishes two important goals: helping students attain a quality education and helping keep talented young people in Illinois,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs.

Under the law, the U of I will create a four-year uniform admission system pilot program, guaranteeing qualified students admission to one of the U of I system universities. In order to qualify, a student must have:

  • Graduated from an Illinois high school.
  • Earned at least 36 transferable credits at an Illinois community college.
  • Maintained a 3.0 or better grade point average for all transferable coursework.
  • Satisfied the university system’s English language proficiency requirement.

The universities will prioritize current state residents and cannot turn any qualified applicant aside unless the university’s enrollment capacity is 100% full with state residents.

“Knowing that you can automatically qualify to study at the U of I if you maintain a B average at an Illinois community college is a great incentive for in-state students,” Cunningham said. “It encourages them to stay in state and gives them the peace of mind to know they can start their university career at a less expensive community college.”

The U of I system encompasses three universities, including the primary campus in Urbana-Champaign, as well as institutions in Chicago and Springfield.

The law, originally House Bill 796, takes effect Jan. 1, 2022.