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Illinois public universities are currently at liberty, in general, to select whom to admit based on the relative merit of the applicants. Under this system, homeschool graduates have usually received fair treatment. HB 230 radically changes this and turns university admission into an entitlement for the top 10% of students (based on grade point average) in each graduating class of public and accredited private schools. The great majority of Illinois brick-and-mortar private schools are accredited.
Since homeschools are not accredited, homeschool graduates would never qualify for guaranteed admission. The entitled applicants would rapidly fill open slots. Few, if any, spots in an entering class would be available for homeschool graduates. This is discriminatory and unacceptable.
The bill says the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is only required to fill 75% of its slots with the entitled applicants. The bill requires the other eleven public universities to offer admission to every entitled applicant, and acknowledges (see section 50 of the bill) that entitled applicants might take 100% of those slots.
Sadly, a grade point average from a public high school may have no reflection on a student’s readiness for college.
The bill even acknowledges that some entitled students will need to take remedial classes. (See section 35 of the bill)
Colleges rarely, if ever, explain why they reject a student. A rejected homeschool student will not even know why he or she was rejected. In fact, the bill puts a gag on the mouths of officials: it forbids universities from telling applicants the truth—that they were rejected because entitled but less qualified applicants took so many slots—unless the entitled applicants took all the slots! (See Section 50 of the bill.)
The bill requires that a top 10% student have either: (1) completed the minimum high school coursework required for college admission as set by the Board of Higher Education or (2) have earned a specified score on an SAT or ACT test (a little above average). This is a low bar. Very few of the top 10% students will fail to meet one of those two requirements.
Could Guaranteed Admission Crowd Out Homeschool Grads? by Atty. Scott Woodruff
Summary of House Amendment 2 Version of HB 230
The House Amendment 2 version of HB 230 clearly helps out graduates of very small schools by creating another way to establish class rank other than through comparison to other students in a class. HOWEVER, it does not clearly excuse students of those small schools from the requirement of having graduated from an accredited school.
The requirement of graduating from an accredited school is located in Section 15 of the bill, subsection (a)(1). The House Amendment 2 version of the bill, subsection (c) of Section 15, excuses graduates of small schools from “subsection (a)” but does not explicitly excuse them from (a)(1), where the accredited school mandate is located.
While it’s possible that a judge would conclude that being excused from (a) is tantamount to being excused from absolutely all of (a)’s components, including (a)(1), it’s just as likely that a judge would conclude that the legislature intended to offer a helping hand ONLY to graduates of small accredited schools. In fact, other language in subsection (c) makes it clear that these small school graduates are NOT excused from some of the components of (a).
In other words, the language of House Amendment 2 is built on the premise that small school graduates are not comprehensively excused from all of the components of (a). A judge could quite easily conclude that if the legislature had intended to excuse small school graduates from having graduated from an accredited school, they would have said so clearly.
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