State Legislative and Regulatory Activity Update April 30, 2013
Alabama's House of Representative unanimously approved legislation on April 16th that requires the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) to adopt a schedule of programmatic review fees forinstructional programs offered by non-Alabama institutions in the State. The amount that the Commission can receive from the fees shall be commensurate to the Commissions' activities related to programmatic review, but shall notexceed $15,000 per institution. H.B.7 also waives the prior approval requirementfor programs or units that are approved by regional accrediting associations if the institution offering the program or units is "located in a state participating in a reciprocity agreement entered into by the Governor or ACHE, as its current practice." The measure has been sent to the Senate and referredto the Senate Committee on Finance and Taxation Education.
In West Virginia, the legislature approved rules drafted by the Higher Education Policy Commission, which regulates institutions offering a bachelor degrees and above, and the Council for Community and Technical College Education, whichregulates institutions offering up to an associate's degree. Both agencies areproposing to define the term "physical presence" to include:
Activities expressly exempt from this definition include online instructors that reside in West Virginia, but do not have direct, in-person contact with students, and individuals that participate in college fairs coordinated by the Commission and local school districts.
PSCUs open doors to many of the 13 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.