House passes bill to retain option of ACT College Readiness Exam for Illinois High School Students

The Illinois House of Representatives recently approved legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) to provide the ACT test to any high school junior who wishes to take the exam for purposes of demonstrating and measuring college readiness. In late 2015, the State Board of Education announced that it would stop offering the ACT and instead provide high school juniors with the SAT as the examination for college application and admissions purposes.

The legislation (House Bill 4362) introduced by State Representative Mike Unes (R-East Peoria) would give each individual student the option to take either the ACT or SAT without incurring a financial burden. Subject to state appropriations for a college entrance exam, the State Board of Education would pay for each student to take either one of the college entrance exam.

“The ACT has been the preferred college entrance exam by parents and high schools throughout Illinois for years,” said Rep. Butler. “It’s the most popular exam in the Midwest. Most importantly, providing parents and students an option to take the ACT will help students reach their next step before entering the college of their choice. This legislation will help our future college students by removing a roadblock which hinders the advancement of our students.”

Under current law, the State Board of Education must provide each high school student with the opportunity to take one college-readiness exam. The Board cites a modest cost-savings benefit in their decision to enter into a contract with SAT, amounting to just over $5 per student, or about $450,000 annually. Students may choose to take the ACT exam on their own, however without this legislation proposed by Representative Unes and co-sponsored by Rep. Butler, students will have to individually bear the cost of around $39-$57 per test. The cost to take the SAT can be significant in area school districts that receive means-tested State benefits.

House Bill 4362 was approved by the Illinois House of Representatives on April 21st and now awaits approval before the Illinois State Senate.