State Legislative and Regulatory Activity Update April 9, 2013
On the final day of Maryland's legislative session, the Senate concurred with
House amendments to S.B. 510. The bill removes student refund provisions in current law for institutions of postsecondary education that enroll Maryland students in fully online distance
education programs. The measure will soon be sent to Governor Martin O'Malley (D) for his signature. Legislation transmitted to the Governor within six days of session adjournment must be acted upon within 30 days or it automatically becomes law.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education is convening a stakeholder meeting on Friday, April 12th at 3:00 p.m. at the request of Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll (D) to discuss her draft
bill. According to the official summary, the bill requires private postsecondary institutions "to disclose to prospective students specific information concerning tuition and fees, transferability of credits, post-graduation employment rates, the length of time the student has to withdraw from the institution without incurring any financial obligation." Comments not previously captured can be emailed to Chad Marturano, DHE's Director of Legislative Affairs, at Chad.Marturano@dhe.state.co.us.
In Texas, the Senate unanimously passed S.B.680 that would establish by January 1, 2014, a pilot program to improve student loan default rates and financial aid literacy among postsecondary students.
This pilot program, administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), will be designed to ensure that students are informed consumers of student financial aid, including: (1) the consequences of borrowing to finance a student's postsecondary education; (2) the financial consequences of a student's academic and career choices; and (3) strategies for avoiding student loan delinquency and default. As drafted, the bill requires the THECB to selected at least one career school or college for the pilot.
In Washington,the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed a budget bill, S.B.5034, that would restore State Need Grant funding for eligible regionally accredited private sector institutions. The
Northwest Career Colleges Federation requested that this proviso be extended to include both regionally and nationally accredited institutions. Modifications to the bill are expected as it moves through the legislative process.
Finally, Hawaii's House Committee on Finance unanimously approved S.B. 46 clearing the way for the state authorization bill to be considered by the full House of Representatives.
On the regulatory front, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) has proposed rule amendments of interest to authorized institutions. Of note, the amendments would allow nationally accredited private sector institutions to use the term "college" without an appropriate qualifier. As drafted, the term "university" remains restricted to regionally accredited institutions.
The Commission did not schedule a public hearing or comment period. For a public hearing or comment period to be held, 25 members of the public or a member of the General Assembly must petition THEC. Interested parties have until May 31st to request a public hearing. If no petitions are received by that date, the rules will be final and effective September 28th.
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.