August 11, 2005
HIGHER EDUCATION LEADERS HAIL GOVERNOR'S ACTION ON COURSE-TRANSFER
SPRINGFIELD - Legislation designed to help students plan
their academic futures, from their first college course through
their requirements for a bachelor's degree, has been signed into
law by Governor Rod Blagojevich.
"This is a milestone achievement for students, and we applaud
Governor Blagojevich for his endorsement of House Bill 2515,"
Thomas R. Lamont, Executive Director of the Illinois Board of Higher
Education, said. "This bill will create a statewide, up-to-date,
comprehensive catalog of academic programs and requirements that
shows students what courses will transfer and how they'll count
toward a bachelor's
The legislation, sponsored by Representative Aaron Schock of Peoria
and Senator Susan Garrett of Lake Forest, directs the Board of Higher
Education to establish a web-based information network that, when
fully implemented, will allow students to plan an entire academic
course of study from a community college to a bachelor's degree
at a senior institution. The system - known as CAS, for Course Applicability
System - will help students avoid taking courses that won't transfer
for credit or won't count toward a degree at a four-year college
More than 46,000 students transferred from one school to another
in fall 2004, predominantly from community colleges to public or
private four-year institutions.
When fully operational, the CAS network will link students to an
inventory of an institution's academic degree programs and requirements,
its course listings, guides to show course equivalencies between
institutions, degree-specific planning guides to assist in constructing
a course of study, and student services such as financial aid. Most
usefully, CAS planning guides are individualized, letting students
develop plans that will best take advantage of the coursework they
have completed, as well as conduct "what-if?" experiments
to see how potential coursework would apply toward different degrees
and at different senior institutions.
Presently, two universities - Northern Illinois University and the
University of Illinois at Chicago - are fully functional with CAS,
with the U. of I.'s Urbana-Champaign campus close to having all
CAS functions in place. Other public universities are at various
stages of developing CAS operations. All community colleges have
loaded course offerings into the CAS system so their students can
determine which courses will transfer and count toward a bachelor's
degree. The College of DuPage, which experiences heavy transfer
traffic in as well as out, will be implementing CAS as a receiving
institution this year. In addition, the system is being expanded
to include several large private institutions this year.
Stuart I. Fagan, President of Governors State University, also hailed
approval of HB2515. "Students need accurate data to make informed
decisions concerning their academic future. This legislation will
be an invaluable tool for students in making wise choices that will
enable them to progress through their academic studies in an efficient
and economical way."
John Peters, President of Northern Illinois University, also praised
the new law. "As the Midwest's number one recipient of community
college transfer students, NIU strongly supports the new course-transfer
system," said Peters. "Although future state funding will
be necessary to make CAS a statewide system, passage of this bill
is a great step in that direction."