State of Illinois
2021 and 2022


Introduced 2/26/2021, by Sen. Elgie R. Sims, Jr.


New Act

    Creates the Criminal History in College Applications Act. Prohibits a college from inquiring about or considering an applicant's criminal history information until after a provisional offer of admission has been made. Sets forth provisions concerning multi-institution applications, criminal history inquiries after a provisional offer of admission, an appeals process, and the provision of information about education, licensing, and employment barriers for people with criminal records.

LRB102 12071 CMG 17408 b






SB2185LRB102 12071 CMG 17408 b

1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Criminal History in College Applications Act.
6    Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
7    "Applicant" means an individual who is seeking admission
8to a college.
9    "College" means any public or private institution of
10higher education authorized to confer degrees by the Board of
11Higher Education, including a college or university,
12professional school, or technical school.
13    "Conviction" means, with respect to a criminal offense, a
14judgment of conviction or sentence entered upon a plea of
15guilty or upon a verdict or finding of guilt, rendered by a
16legally constituted jury or by a court in a case without a
17jury. For purposes of this Act, (i) an order of supervision or
18qualified probation, as defined in Section 5.2 of the Criminal
19Identification Act, that has been discharged or dismissed, or
20(ii) a juvenile adjudication shall not be deemed a conviction.
21    "Criminal history information" means any record regarding
22an applicant's criminal history but does not include arrests,
23detentions, criminal charges, or indictments that did not



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1result in a conviction.
2    "Provisional offer of admission" means the decision of a
3college to admit an applicant based upon academic performance,
4essays, a list of activities, achievements, honors, and other
5published criteria but without consideration of criminal
6history information or other conduct matters.
7    Section 10. Criminal history inquiries prior to
8provisional offer of admission prohibited. A college may not
9inquire about or consider an applicant's criminal history
10information until after a provisional offer of admission has
11been made to the applicant.
12    Section 15. Multi-institution applications.
13    (a) Notwithstanding Section 10 of this Act, a college may
14use an application for admission that inquires about an
15applicant's criminal history if (i) that application is
16administered by a third-party vendor and (ii) the application
17allows applicants to apply for admission at multiple
18institutions simultaneously.
19    (b) A college that elects to use a multi-institution
20application as described in subsection (a) may not consider
21any criminal history information provided on the
22multi-institution application until after a provisional offer
23of admission has been made to the applicant.
24    (c) A college that elects to use a multi-institution



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1application as described in subsection (a) shall publish a
2statement that must be prominently displayed on all of the
3college's admission materials and its admission website, that
4informs applicants that they are not required to answer a
5criminal history inquiry prior to issuance of a provisional
6offer of admission by the college.
7    (d) A college that uses a multi-institution application as
8described in subsection (a) may not add additional or optional
9questions to the multi-institution application that ask about
10criminal history information.
11    Section 20. Criminal history inquiries after provisional
12offer of admission.
13    (a) After a college has made and communicated its
14provisional offer of admission, it may inquire about or
15consider an applicant's prior convictions or any criminal
16charges that are pending at the time of the inquiry. A college
17may withdraw, rescind, or amend its provisional offer of
18admission upon a finding that the applicant's prior
19convictions demonstrate that admission of the applicant will
20have a detrimental impact on campus safety or security, as
21provided in subsection (d), but a college may not
22automatically or unreasonably deny an applicant's admission or
23restrict access to the campus, educational activities, or
24campus life.
25    (b) At no time may a college consider criminal history



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1information that has been sealed, expunged, or impounded under
2applicable laws, nor may it consider information unrelated to
3a conviction, including, but not limited to, arrest,
4complaint, or indictment information that did not result in a
6    (c) A college that chooses to make an inquiry about or
7considers an applicant's prior convictions shall (i) inform
8applicants that individuals with a prior conviction are
9presumed to be eligible for admission and (ii) provide
10applicants with an opportunity to provide information about
11the conviction, including any mitigating circumstances or
12clarifying information.
13    (d) An applicant with a prior conviction or convictions
14shall be presumed to be eligible for admission.
15    In determining whether an applicant's prior conviction
16demonstrates that admission of the applicant will have a
17detrimental impact on campus safety or security, a college
18must articulate the specific reasons or circumstances
19surrounding the applicant's prior convictions that demonstrate
20that the applicant may be a threat to campus safety or
21security. Categorical denials based on the type of conviction
22is not sufficient to rescind, withdraw, or amend a provisional
24    If the college determines that admission of an applicant
25may have a detrimental impact on campus safety or security, it
26may not rescind or withdraw a provisional offer of admission



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1if there are less restrictive measures that the college may
2reasonably take to mitigate the perceived risks of admitting
3the applicant. Any such measure shall limit the applicant's
4participation in education or campus life only to the degree
5necessary to address the specific risks that the college has
6determined that the admission of the applicant poses.
7    Section 25. Appeals.
8    (a) A college must establish an expedited appeals process
9under this Act.
10    (b) An applicant who is denied admission due to the
11applicant's prior conviction or an applicant for whom the
12college has limited his or her participation in education or
13campus life must be notified of the opportunity to appeal the
15    (c) An appeals process must allow for the applicant to
16present additional information, including mitigating
17circumstances or other information, to show that the applicant
18is not a threat to campus safety or security, including an
19opportunity for an in-person interview.
20    (d) A college must inform the applicant of the result of
21the appeal in writing and must articulate the reason for its
22decision to rescind, withdraw, or amend its provisional offer
23of admission or its decision to admit the applicant.
24    Section 30. Information about education, licensing, or



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1employment barriers for people with criminal records. A
2college may include information on its admission website that
3informs prospective applicants that a criminal record may
4affect an individual's ability to obtain certain professional
5or occupational licenses or types of employment or to
6participate in vertical clinical or other education
7requirements. A college may provide a contact for applicants
8or prospective applicants to ask questions and seek advice
9about any restrictions they may face due to a criminal record.
10Any information provided by the applicant to the contact may
11not be shared with admissions personnel.