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2020 Joint Report on Student Transfer in Illinois

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Four-Year Report on Progress in Meeting the Goals of the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (STAR Act)

Review of Progress in Meeting the Goals of the Illinois Articulation Initiative Act, Responding to Senate Joint Resolution 22.

Submitted by

Illinois Board of Higher Education

Illinois Board of Higher Education

Illinois Community College Board

Illinois Community College Board

As part of an ongoing review of transfer student success in Illinois, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) developed a joint report on progress in meeting the goals of the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (STAR Act) (P.A. 99-316 effective January 1, 2016; amended P.A. 100-0824 effective August 13, 2018) as well as a review of progress in meeting the goals of the Illinois Articulation Initiative Act (099-0636) in response to Senate Joint Resolution 22.

Illinois is recognized nationally as a model for transfer student success. Illinois now leads the nation in bachelor's degree completion rates among community college students who transfer to four-year colleges, significantly exceeding the national average.

The Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI), created in 1993, is a mature, coordinated, well-functioning state system that serves an average of 45,000-50,000 transfer students annually and includes 110 participating public and private institutions. The IAI is designed to support students who have not necessarily determined the specific majors they want to pursue or the particular institutions to which they would like to transfer. It is a model for transfer initiatives in other states, including Indiana, Missouri, and California. Over 6,800 general education courses are included in IAI across 194 course categories. Those courses are reviewed regularly by 21 statewide panels comprised of over 400 two- and four-year faculty, thereby ensuring that IAI-approved courses remain relevant and adhere to IAI policies. This state system is further supplemented by a robust set of intra-institutional and programmatic transfer agreements.

While there is much Illinois can be proud of, the STAR Act and SJR 22 provide the impetus for a broad, statewide review of transferability in order to advance the state's 60x25 attainment goal. Consequently, the activities reported in this document represent key steps in a process, led by the IBHE and ICCB in partnership with academic leaders and faculty across Illinois, to advance solutions to issues identified. IBHE and ICCB staff are closely collaborating on that review and have jointly convened a statewide transfer working group charged with identifying shortcomings in existing practices, new conditions that affect student transfer in Illinois, and solutions.

In fall 2019, the transfer working group conducted a survey of all public universities in response to mandates included in the STAR Act and SJR 22. The responses, combined with information gathered by the ICCB from all public community colleges, are summarized in this report.

Notable findings include:

The report also identifies fifteen specific opportunities for improvement in four areas:

The transfer working group, in collaboration with IBHE and ICCB staff, will convene frequently in the spring and summer of 2020 to discuss those opportunities and make specific recommendations for action, including best practices, policies, and procedures.

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