June 23, 2006
GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO ENHANCE VOICE OF ADULT COLLEGE STUDENTS IN POLICY-MAKINGSPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich has signed legislation to broaden student representation on the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) to strengthen the voice of nontraditional students, those who mix college attendance with full-time jobs and family responsibilities. Senate Bill 2312 adds a second student to the IBHE who will be chosen from the large pool of nontraditional students attending Illinois colleges and universities.
James L. Kaplan, Chairman of the Board of Higher Education, commended the Governor’s action. “We welcome the addition of a nontraditional student to our Board,” Kaplan said. “Students who don’t fit the traditional mold of college enrollments are a growing presence on our campuses. This new law will expand the representation of students and ensure that the Board understands the views and issues important to this segment of the higher education mosaic.”
The legislation, sponsored by Senator Edward Maloney and Representative Kevin Joyce, specifies that the Board of Higher Education will have two student members, one of whom must be at least 24 years old and represent the views of nontraditional students, such as a person who is employed or is a parent. Student members are elected by the IBHE Student Advisory Committee.
According to the Board of Higher Education, approximately 163,000 undergraduates are 25 or older – about a quarter of Illinois’ undergraduate population. In most cases, these adult students enroll in college part time so they can accommodate full-time employment or parental responsibilities. Senator Maloney proposed the legislation after a hearing of the Senate Higher Education Committee last summer underscored that nontraditional students make up a significant proportion of college and university enrollments.
The bill takes effect on January 1, 2007.