CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Transfer students may be able to get their degrees faster, thanks to a new bill in the Illinois capitol.

The Illinois Articulation Initiative Act assures major coursework taken at an Illinois community college to be able to be transferred to any Illinois higher education institution. Despite it counting for credit, some institutions only count the community college coursework as ‘elective credits’; meaning many transfer students can end up taking nearly identical classes again.

“It can mean the difference, sometimes, between finishing your degree in four years or finishing your degree in five years,” Nancy Sutton, Parkland College’s Vice President for academic services, said.

A new proposal in the Illinois capitol would require all state institutions to count four classes in each field to be guaranteed to be taken as ‘direct course equivalents’ for each year.

“Students that earn major coursework credit at a community college should not have to spend more precious time and money to re-earn the same credit at a four-year university,” Sen. Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), the sponsor of the bill in the Senate said.

Advocates argue the bill would help students save time and money.

“The two biggest hurdles for students today are time and money,” Illinois Community College Board executive director Brian Durham said. “If we find ways to reduce that burden and equalize the value for the hard work they put in, we are putting them in a better position for long-term success.”

Sutton said if the bill becomes law, they will reexamine course offerings at Parkland College to ensure they could offer students the most classes to help ensure they graduate as soon as possible.

“This is a good thing for students,” Sutton said. “It builds on an already positive relationship that two-year institutions have with the transfer institutions.”