Ban the Box for Higher Education: Support HB 3142


People with criminal records are being deterred from getting an education. The majority of colleges ask about an applicant’s criminal record. But, asking this question has a chilling effect — discouraging individuals with criminal records from completing the application.

HB 3142 will “ban the box” in the higher education admissions process. Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Wheeler and Sen. Pat McGuire, HB 3142 prohibits colleges, universities, and trade schools from asking or considering an individual’s criminal record for purposes of admissions.  The legislation will break down barriers allowing people with records to further their education.

This bill does not prohibit a college or university from considering a person’s criminal record after admission, including consideration for campus housing, participation in campus activities, or career counseling. HB 3142 still allows campuses and universities to use the common application, which helps ensure a higher number of applicants.

BILL PASSED the Illinois House on 4/4/17 (vote 65-49) and is currently pending in the Senate.

We are proud to work on this legislation in partnership with members of the Restoring Rights and Opportunities Coalition of Illinois (RROCI), a coalition of individuals directly impacted by the criminal justice system, organizers and policy staff from Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Community Renewal Society, and Heartland Alliance.

Lindsey Hammond