NIU affected little by IBHE entrance rules

By Dina Paluzzi

An NIU associate director of admissions said mandatory entrance requirements that the Illinois Board of Higher Education approved Tuesday will have little effect on NIU.

Associate Director of Admission Robert Burk said, “It won’t make a big change.”

Effective the fall of 1993, the IBHE will require every incoming freshman to have four years of English, three years each of social studies, mathematics and science, and two years of a foreign language, music or art.

NIU currently requires one year less in each subject. “This is the second year we’ve had patterned requirements,” Burk said.

He said in some aspects, NIU’s current 10-unit requirements are stricter than the IBHE requirements. NIU does not accept computer math as a math course, but the class will be accepted when the IBHE requirements become effective.

“We applaud the idea of putting the requirements in,” Burk said.

Freshmen entering high school next year will be the first group of students affected by the mandatory requirements.

At the IBHE meeting Tuesday, a representative from the department of vocational education studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, said there are many 8th grade students being set into “rigorous” high school schedules in case they decide to go to college.

Abdul-Rasheed Akbar, IBHE student advisory committee chairman, said that although the committee opposed mandating the requirements, he personally favors it.

However, he expressed concern over the high school student who decides in his junior or senior year to go to college but discovers he has not had all of the courses needed. “It’s Catch-22,” he said.

In 1985, the IBHE decided to make the mandatory requirements effective in 1990, but the Illinois General Assembly postponed the requirements until 1993 to allow high schools more time to add the requirements into their curriculum.

Recently there has been pressure from the IBHE staff and others to make the requirements advisory, which would allow for greater flexibility in high school students’ schedules.