State Legislative and Regulatory Activity Update
July 1, 2013
A California budget trailer bill (S.B.71) that provides a mechanism for regionally accredited institutions, heretofore except from the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, to seek voluntary approval by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown (D) on June 27. The state authorization provision is effective upon enactment and will remain in effect until the termination of the act on January 1, 2015.
Similarly, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D) signed a state authorization bill into law on June 26.S.B. 46requires private degree-granting postsecondary institutions operating in the state to be authorized by a newly established Postsecondary Education Authorization Program within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs no later than July 1, 2014.
In Ohio, Governor John Kasich (R) signed the state's biennium budget into law. The conference committee report, adopted by both chambers of the legislature on June 27, maintained Senate funding levels for the Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) that boosts funding for eligible private sector college students to $16.4 million over the biennium. According to the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools, the average annual OCOG grant for eligible PSCU students will be approximately $400 per year.
Oregon's Joint Ways and Means Committee amended and passed H.B. 3079 by a vote of 18-7. In its current form, H.B.3079 is being used to fix H.B. 3341. According to House Higher Education
and Workforce Development Committee Chairman Michael Dembrow, the Senate amendments "were incorrectly drafted" and "removed the wrong section of statute." H.B. 3079 repeals the "adverse impact" process by which community colleges seeking to establish new programs that are also offered by private sector colleges are required to give notice of intent and to provide
the such colleges an opportunity to demonstrate potential adverse impact of the new program. In specific instances, the community college can be barred from developing the new program.
As previously reported, the introduced version of H.B. 3079 would require higher education institutions to provide students with fact sheets regarding cost, loans, job-placement rates, and related data prior to enrollment. According to Chairman Dembrow, "following a legislative working group involving stakeholders from the public, private for-profit, and private nonprofit sectors of higher education, stakeholders and the bill sponsors agreed that the best path forward was not to move 3079 this session in its current form. Instead, an interim workgroup will come up with the best possible policy for the 2014 session."
The New Jersey Senate approved 38-0 an amended bill that requires institutions of higher education, including degree-granting private sector colleges and universities, to provide prospective students with certain cost, loan, and debt information in a financial aid "shopping sheet." Theamendmentsalign required elements to the shopping sheet developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Department of Education.S.B. 2187has been received in the Assembly and awaits a committee referral.
New JerseyS.B. 2362was also unanimously approved by the Senate and sent to the Assembly for further consideration. As currently drafted, the measure requires the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to compile consumer report cards for the state-funded Workforce Development Partnership Program and federally funded Workforce Investment Act-eligible training providers. To this end, training providers wishing to be included on the State Eligible Training Provider List must submit the following information annually: the number of enrollees, the completion rate, names of employers or placement in employment information, licensing information, examination results, enrollee demographic information, and "information showing the long-term success of former trainees of each provider and school in obtaining permanent employment and increasing earnings over one or more time periods following the completion or other termination of training, including a period of two years following the completion or other termination of training."
State Legislative and Regulatory Activity Update
June 18, 2013
In New Hampshire, the legislature gave final approval to a bill (S.B. 134) that places the approval of out-of-state branches of institutions of higher learning within the authority of the state's Higher Education Commission. The measure also provides that in evaluating institutions of higher learning the commission "may accept accreditation or program approval by a recognized accrediting body in place of its own independent evaluation." Upon receipt of the bill, Governor Maggie Hassan (D) will have five days to sign the measure into law or veto it.
Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (R) signed a bill (L.B.331) that modifies the income qualifications for the Nebraska Opportunity Grant (NOG). Under the provisions of the act, the maximum Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to qualify for the NOG program is 110% of the EFC to qualify for the federal Pell Grant. The measure, effective upon enactment on June 4, also authorizes the state's Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education "to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements regarding the provision of postsecondary distance education, to administer such agreements, and to approve or disapprove, consistent with such agreements, participation in such agreements by postsecondary institutions that have their principal place of business in Nebraska and that choose to participate in such agreements."
Finally, the Ohio Senate approved a biennium budget bill on June 6 booting Ohio College Opportunity Grant (OCOG) funding for eligible private sector college students to $16.4 million over the biennium. According to the Ohio Association of Career Colleges and Schools, this should raise the average annual OCOG grant for eligible PSCU students to about $400 from $265, as
initially proposed. A conference committee is currently convening to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill.
PSCUs open doors to many of the 9.1 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.