State Legislative and Regulatory Activity Update – September 18, 2012

In California, the legislature adjourned sine die on September 1.Governor Jerry Brown (D) has until September 30th to sign or veto the following bills before they automatically become law.

S.B. 1289 all requires postsecondary institutions, except community colleges, to clearly distinguish private loans from federal loans in individual financial aid awards by providing a number of disclosures and explanatory statement.  The following statements must also be included in all print and online financial aid materials: (A) Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options, including, but not limited to, income-based repayment and income-contingent repayment plans, and loan forgiveness benefits, which other student loans are not required to provide. (B) Federal direct loans are available to students regardless of income. S.B. 1349 requires private non-profit and for-profit postsecondary educational institutions to post their social media privacy policy on the institution's Internet website. S.B. 122 allows the Board of Registered Nursing to approve a nursing program affiliated with a degree-granting institution of higher education.  The measure also requires the Board to have a memorandum of understanding with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education to "delineate the powers of the board and bureau, as specified."

On the regulatory front, Maryland's Higher Education Commission has adopted an emergency rule (page 12) to implement recent legislation (Ch. 595, Acts of 2012) requiring Commission registration of out-of-state postsecondary institutions enrolling Maryland residents in a fully online distance education program.  Efforts are also underway to adopt a permanent rule (page 33).  To this end, comments on the proposed permanent rule will be accepted until September 24th.

In West Virginia, the Council for Community and Technical College Education is proposing rules pertaining to initial authorization and annual reauthorization of institutions offering programs at the associate degree level or below.  Comments on these proposals are due on or before September 21st.Finally, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has proposed new rules pertaining to student complaint procedures.  The proposal requires complaints alleging that an institution has violated consumer protection laws to be referred to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General.  Other complaints will be referred to the institutions accrediting agency for investigation and resolution.  The THECB reserves the right "to accept, modify, or reject any decision proposed or made or any course of action proposed or taken by the accrediting agency."  Comments on the rule will be accepted until October 14th.



PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 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.