New legislation in California could require the state’s public colleges and universities to give credit for online courses when students are unable to register for an on-campus class due to oversubscription.

Said to be introduced today by California Senate President Darrell Steinberg, the bill is designed to help students receive credit for required classes that are full, preventing extra workloads or longer stays in school.

“We want to be the first state in the nation to make this promise: No college student in California will be denied the right to move through their education because they couldn’t get a seat in the course they needed,” Steinberg told The New York Times. “That’s the motivation for this.”

Coursera, one of the largest massive open online course sites, recently announced that five of their courses were approved for college credit recommendation. California’s move to help students utilize online courses for credit will aid in the effort MOOCs such as Coursera and Udacity have made to legitimize online education.

The bill will use a nine-member council, created last year as part of a digital textbooks initiative, to determine 50 of the most oversubscribed introductory courses and match online alternatives for credit eligibility.

The legislation would go toward helping students of California State University, a system with 23 campuses, at which, according to Senator Steinberg, only 16 percent of 420,000 students graduate within four years.

“It’s almost unthinkable that so many students seeking to attend the public colleges and universities are shut out,” Molly Corbett Broad, the president of the American Council on Education, told The New York Times. “I definitely expect it to spawn serious deliberations within the faculty, but these would be the basic courses that perhaps faculty gets the least psychic reward from teaching.”

Free online education appears to be gaining traction as both a supplement and a legitimate alternative to traditional courses, as more universities partner with existing MOOCs and begin releasing their own content online. Late last year, Florida’s House speaker petitioned for the state to launch an online-only public university.

If you’re looking for tips to help you transition from the traditional classroom to an online environment, HackCollege’s Logan Ivey has some great tips for taking online classes.