porfirio floorSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mike Porfirio introduced legislation that would require public colleges and universities to waive transcript evaluation fees for refugees of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In waiving these fees, we can invest in the academic journey of Iraqi and Afghan refugees while helping them,” said Porfirio (D-Lyons Township), who served alongside Iraqi and Afghan translators during Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as a police advisor during the war in Afghanistan. “We have a moral obligation to support those who have served shoulder to shoulder with us.” 

Currently, transcript evaluations assess foreign transcripts as part of an admission process for higher education institutions. These evaluations are used to establish a U.S.-equivalent GPA, verify the accreditation of the schools where the applicant obtained or will obtain their degree, and benchmark completed coursework to determine if the applicant has met the prerequisite coursework requirements for their intended program.

Some institutions require applicants with foreign transcripts to pay a fee to outside vendors to evaluate the transcripts. Transcript evaluation fees vary widely in price, but they usually cost over $100. Porfirio’s bill would require higher education institutions to waive these fees for Iraqi and Afghan refugees.

“This measure is crucial for addressing the barriers to education for Iraqi and Afghan refugees,” said Porfirio. “We are promoting inclusivity and equal access, recognizing the aspirations of individuals who have sought refuge and making it easier for them to pursue an education without financial hindrance.”

Senate Bill 2690 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday and heads to the floor for further consideration.