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New Illinois law allows students to take more college courses

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A new law allows Illinois high school students to take as many college credit classes as they want starting next year.

Some school districts had previously limited the number of dual-credit classes that students could take. Sen. Chuck Weaver, R-Peoria, sponsored Senate Bill 2527 to change that.

“High school students can get as many dual credit hours as they’re capable of doing while still being able to meet their normal high school coursework,” he said.

The law requires the courses be taught by instructors who meet state requirements and is worded to allow students to take them either in the classroom or online.

Weaver said the law was designed to encourage students to learn at their own pace, among other things. Plus, a big bonus is that it will help reduce their future college expenses.

“It will help motivate the kids that are able to go faster and learn more to have more opportunities on things they could be studying, but then it also helps them with regard to their college costs,” Weaver said.

The idea for the legislation arose because some school districts in Illinois limited how many dual-credit classes students could take, Weaver said. He now wants to make those courses available online.

“It was a local-control issue with certain school districts and what this does is it said that the school district cannot limit that assuming that the child is on track with their normal coursework,” he said. “The next step on this, I’d like to be working on our ability to use online classes for dual credit, which I believe the time has come for.”

Weaver plans to work on crafting legislation to allow it, he said.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed Weaver’s bill into law last week. It takes effect Jan. 1.