Amendment to the Illinois Board of Higher Education Act Requires Illinois Colleges and Universities to Develop and Report on Student Equity Plans and Practices
Jun 21, 2022
On June 7, 2022, Governor Pritzker signed into law, effective immediately, HB 5464 (P.A. 102-1046), which amends the Illinois Board of Higher Education Act (“Act”) in a couple of significant ways. The Act now requires all public institutions of higher education in Illinois to develop and submit to the Illinois Board of Higher Education (“IBHE”) an equity plan and practices to increase the access, retention, completion, and student loan repayment rates of minorities, rural students, adult students, women, and individuals with disabilities who are traditionally underrepresented in education programs and activities. The amended law also requires IBHE, in collaboration with the Illinois Community College Board (“ICCB”) to: (1) require each covered institution to submit an equity plan and implement practices that, “at a minimum, close gaps in enrollment, retention, completion and student loan repayment rates for underrepresented groups and encourage all private institutions of higher education to develop and submit such equity plans and implement such practices” (2) conduct studies of the effectiveness and outcomes of the institution’s methods and strategies outlined in an institution’s equity plan, (3) require components of an institution’s equity plan to include strategies to increase minority students student loan repayment rates, (4) require institutions to “establish campus climate and culture surveys”, and (5) continue to mandate all public institutions of higher education “and encourage all private institutions of higher education”, to submit data and information to determine compliance with these requirements. Additionally, IBHE and ICCB will annually report to the General Assembly and Governor a description of each institution’s equity plan along with the degree of compliance by each public and private institution of higher education.
Institutions of higher education should be mindful of the new requirements of the Board of Higher Education Act regarding student equity plans and practices and take steps to come into compliance with these new requirements.