State Legislative and Regulatory Update March 25, 2013


Missouri Representative Clem Smith (D) introduced a pair of bills, H.B.829 and H.B.879, that would negatively impact nationally accredited postsecondary institutions. H.B. 829 would require regional accreditation for an institution of higher education to use the term "university" or "college." H.B. 879 requires nationally accredited institutions of higher education located in Missouri to disclose to students during the admission process that it has not achieved regional accreditation. The bill also mandates the following transfer of credit disclosure:

"College level credits earned at (Institution name) may not be transferrable to other higher-learning/postsecondary learning institutions, including but not limited to universities, colleges, junior colleges, community colleges, or trade schools accredited by a regional accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Higher Education. Contact the institution receiving the transferred credit(s) for more information."

In Louisiana, Representative Stephen Pugh (R), prefiled a bill that requires the Louisiana State Board of Nursing to approve programs accredited by national and regional institutional accrediting agencies, including the Council on Occupational Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The measure also requires the board to afford all professional and
industry-related privileges to institutions offering nursing education programs accredited by these agencies, including the right for graduates to take the requisite licensing examination.

In Idaho, the House Education Committee introduced a measure requiring non-degree granting proprietary schools to provide prospective students a disclosure form at least 30 days prior for the student to sign before entering into an agreement with the institution. Required disclosures include: the name of the course of study; the number of hours per week and number of weeks required for successful completion of the course; the cost of the course of study charged by the school, the estimated cost of any required books or equipment and any related reasonably foreseeable costs; the number of years that the course of study has been offered by the school and the date the preceding course of study began at the school; and the number of graduates that "have a full-time paying job directly related to the skills acquired in the course of study and, if reasonably available, the number of students who have a part-time paying job directly related to the skills acquired in the course of study."

If the institution fails to provide these disclosures, a student is entitled to rescind any contract and receive a full refund.

On the regulatory front, Wisconsin's Educational Approval Board (EAB) suspended efforts to adopt a 60% combined program completion and transfers-out rate and a 60% graduate employment rate. The board meeting materials related to the performance standards issue are available on the EAB website.

EAB Executive Secretary David Dies reported in an email to approved schools that "the EAB will still be implementing changes in how institutions report student outcomes as part of the annual school renewal. Beginning in 2013, the EAB will begin tracking student results data by program based on a 12-month cohort. This change will allow not only the EAB, but also schools and consumers, to better evaluate program outcomes. In addition, there will be several changes to the reporting categories, including the addition of four student 'transfer' related categories."   

The EAB plans to hold a training session for schools in late June or early July about the changes institutions will experience during the annual renewal process.


800k graduates

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.