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Higher Education Legislation in 2014

Higher Education Legislation in 2014

9/2/2014

College affordability was a prominent theme in the 2014 legislative session, continuing a trend from previous years.

States enacted legislation to address all three of the available means of influencing college affordability: appropriations, financial aid and tuition policy. The majority of states increased appropriations to institutions for the third straight year as tax revenue continued a slow and uneven recovery from Great Recession lows. Reversing a recent trend of providing institutions more authority to set tuition, Colorado and Florida enacted tighter restrictions on tuition increases.

Several states also created new financial aid programs with the Tennessee Promise Scholarship being the most comprehensive and innovative. In addition to affordability policies, outcomes-based funding continued to be a hot topic with five states passing legislation related to funding institutions based on the outcomes they produce. Regulation of distance education was also an important topic in legislatures during the 2014 session.

Fifteen states passed legislation that will create pathways for institutions to enter the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (commonly known as SARA). States continued to enact policies that will help veterans enrolling in higher education institutions successfully complete degrees. Finally, states took several action to increase educational attainment and make stronger connections between higher education institutions and workforce development.

Affordability and Tuition

College affordability is consistently a top concern of students and their families. To help address these concerns, Maine and Vermont designated a commission and interim committee respectively to study and recommend policies designed to make college more affordable. Oregon passed a bill to study implementing a policy that would allow residents to attend community colleges without paying tuition and fees. Reversing a recent trend where several states provided institutions more freedom to set tuition rates, Colorado and Florida both scaled back institutional flexibility by limiting tuition increases to no more than 6 percent each year (down from 9 and 15 percent respectively). Ohio community colleges and technical colleges are now able to implement tuition guarantee programs where students lock in a tuition rate for a specified time period. Finally, Maryland joins a growing number of states requiring cost information be disseminated to help students make informed decisions.

State

Legislation

Colorado

Senate Bill 1, known as the College Affordability Act, allocates more than $100 million to state higher education institutions and the Department of Higher Education for state grant programs. In addition, the bill limits tuition increases to no more than six percent each year.

Florida

House Bill 851 limits the institutions available for the state’s tuition differential to preeminent state research universalities. The bill also limits aggregate tuition and tuition differential increases to no more than six percent over the previous year. Moreover, the bill provides resident tuition for undocumented students.

Maine

Senate Bill 748 creates the Commission to Study College Affordability and College Completion. The  commission's primary duties are to examine and recommend strategies to keep the cost of public postsecondary education affordable and to increase the graduation rate of students enrolled in public higher education institutions. 

Maryland

House Bill 18 requires higher education institutions in the state to report information on the cost of higher education to students. Institutions are required to mail or provide electronic access to, at the very minimum, the information contained on the U.S. Department of Education’s Financial Aid Shopping Sheet.

Ohio

House Bill 484 allows community colleges and technical colleges to establish tuition guarantee programs, subject to approval of the chancellor of the Ohio board of regents. The chancellor is responsible for establishing guidelines for the institutions to follow when developing a tuition guarantee program.

Oregon

Senate Bill 1524 directs the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to study the viability of a program allowing Oregon high school graduates to attend a community college in the state without paying tuition and fees for a specified period.

Vermont

Senate Bill 40 creates an interim committee to study and develop policy proposals to make the Vermont State Colleges and the University of Vermont more affordable for residents. Specifically, policy proposals will target lowering costs and restoring the portion of higher education costs paid by the state and by students to the level it was at in 1980.

 

Financial Aid

In addition to appropriations and tuition, financial aid programs are the third primary way legislatures can influence college affordability. Out of the 10 state financial aid reforms highlighted below, Tennessee passed the most significant and comprehensive financial aid reform. The Tennessee Promise Scholarship program will ensure eligible students receive enough financial aid to cover tuition and fees at public community colleges.  Loan forgiveness programs also received a fair amount of attention this session with Connecticut expanding the state’s loan forgiveness program to include a grant component, Indiana and Mississippi established loan forgiveness programs for certain high need occupations, and Vermont created a loan forgiveness program that will reimburse qualified students for an amount equal to the tuition in their senior year.  Kentucky created a new financial aid program that targets certain coal producing regions in the state by providing scholarships for the final two-years of enrollment in an effort to boost educational attainment in these regions. Indiana also expanded access to financial aid to part-time independent students.

State

Legislation

Colorado

House Bill 1384 establishes the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative within the Department of Higher Education to award scholarships and grants based upon a rigor-based method. In addition to scholarship awards for Colorado residents, as much as 10 percent of funds may be awarded to state agencies and nonprofit organizations that provide student support services. The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative Advisory Board is responsible for promulgating rules for the administration of the initiative.

Connecticut

Senate Bill 18 redesigns the current English language learner educator loan reimbursement program to provide grants and expand the loan reimbursement to a larger pool of eligible students. Subject to available appropriations, any student in the final two years of a teacher preparation program and pursuing an endorsement in bilingual education or teaching English to speakers of other languages is eligible for the grant. Recipients of the grant who teach in public schools are eligible for reimbursement of student loans up to $2,500 for four years.

Florida

House Bill 5101 creates the Florida National Merit Scholar Incentive Program for Florida high school graduates that are National Merit Scholars or National Achievement Scholars. Recipients must be enrolled in a Florida postsecondary institution full-time. Eligible students will receive incentive awards equal to the institutional cost of attendance minus the sum of the student's Florida Bright Futures Scholarship and National Merit or National Achievement Scholarships.

Indiana

Senate Bill 330 requires the Commission for Higher Education to award student grants to part-time students that are financially independent from their parents and pursuing a program of study in a high demand, high wage job. The bill also established the Teacher Loan Repayment Program and defines basic eligibility for the program.

Kentucky

House Bill 2 establishes the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Program to help residents of coal-producing counties earn postsecondary credentials. The program will provide scholarships for students from designated coal-producing counties that attend postsecondary institutions in these counties. The program will also provide grants to community colleges in coal-producing counties to enhance the extent and quality of student support services and programs.

Louisiana

Senate Bill 655 allows a public or private entity to make a directed donation to any eligible postsecondary institution for a student who is a recipient of a Louisiana GO Grant or a Louisiana Taylor Opportunity Program for Students award. When an eligible postsecondary institution receives private scholarship funds on behalf of a student, the annual appropriation of state funds will be reduced by the amount of the private scholarship funds received.

Mississippi

Senate Bill 2499 establishes student loan forgiveness programs for teachers, health care workers, and social workers. The bill also creates scholarship programs for law enforcement officers and firefighters.

New York

Senate Bill 6356 creates the New York State Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Incentive Program. Students meeting the eligibility criteria (e.g. full-time enrollment and graduating in top 10% of high school class) must sign a contract agreeing that his or her award will be converted to a student loan in the event the student fails to comply with the terms of the program. Award amounts are intended to cover the price of tuition and convert to a student loan if the student fails to complete a STEM program, graduate within five years and maintain residency in New York for a designated employment period.

Tennessee

Senate Bill 2471 creates the Tennessee Promise Scholarship that is designed to cover tuition and fees for recent high school graduates attending state community colleges. As a “last dollar” scholarship, the Promise Scholarship will only cover tuition and fees after students have used all available Pell Grant and HOPE Scholarship aid dollars. Recipients are expected to meet certain requirements, including working with an assigned mentor, attending a college orientation session, enrolling full time, maintaining continuous enrollment each semester, making satisfactory academic progress, and completing at least eight hours of community service each semester.

Vermont

Senate Bill 220 creates the Vermont Strong Scholars and Internship Initiative. The Strong Scholars initiative is a loan forgiveness program for Vermont residents who have taken out student loans with the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation. Eligible students can have a loan amount equal to the resident tuition rate for 15 credits for associate degree earners and 30 credits for bachelor degree earners forgiven. The Vermont Strong Internship program is designed to facilitate and develop internship opportunities between Vermont business and postsecondary students.

 

Outcomes-based Funding

Outcomes-based (also known as performance-based) funding has spread rapidly in recent years. More than half of all states have a policy in place to fund institutions based on the outcomes they produce rather than enrollment or the previous year’s appropriation amount. Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, and Ohio all pass bills specifically related to performance funding. Wyoming included a performance funding measure in the biennial appropriations bill that will allocate a certain amount of funding to community colleges based on the number of students completing courses. In addition the five states that passed legislation related to performance-based funding, the Iowa Board of Regents agreed to a new funding formula that will allocated 40 percent of state funding based on performance metrics. 

State

Legislation

Colorado

House Bill 1319 creates a new funding formula for higher education institutions. At least 52.5 percent of state funding will be allocated directly to students through the College Opportunity Fund. The remaining funding will be allocated through fee-for-service contracts with individual institutions. The fee-for-service contracts consist of two parts: a) role and mission funding and b) performance funding. The performance funding metrics for each institution must include completion and retention; institutions may also select up to four additional performance metrics.

Louisiana

Senate Bill 337 requires the  commissioner of higher education and president of each public postsecondary education system to review the current funding formula and develop a comprehensive outcomes-based funding formula that ensures the equitable allocation of state funds, appropriately considers costs, places significant emphasis on student and institutional outcomes, and aligns with the state's economic development and workforce needs.

Missouri

Senate Bill 492 specifies that 90 percent of all new revenue appropriated to higher education institutions be distributed based on institutional performance measures approved by the Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Performance measures will include such things as retention rates, graduation rates, pass rates on licensure exams, and job placement and/or graduate school acceptance rate for each institution.

Ohio

House Bill 484 establishes an outcomes-based funding formula for Ohio Technical Centers. The bill also revises the current outcomes-based funding model for community colleges. Under the new funding model, 50% of funding will be based on course completions, 25% on student success measures, and 25% on completion milestones.

Wyoming

House Bill 1 makes biennial appropriations for Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016. Of the general fund appropriation for community colleges, $14.3 million in one-time funding will be distributed based on the total number of class completions among all colleges for the prior school year .

 

Distance Education and Reciprocity Agreements

In 2010, the Department of Education issued regulations that required all postsecondary institutions enrolling students in online courses to obtain approval from the student’s state of residence. These regulations were subsequently struck down by a court decision; however, the Department of Education is currently revising the regulations and plans to reissue them in the near future. In the meantime, the four regional higher education compacts (Midwestern Higher Education Compact, New England Board of Higher Education, Southern Regional Education Board, and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) joined together to greatly simplify the authorization process. The regional compacts created the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Once institutions join SARA, they are authorized to offer online courses in each state that is part of the agreement without having to get approval from each state individually. Fifteen states passed legislation during the 2014 session allowing state institutions to enter reciprocity agreements.

State

Legislation

Alabama

House Bill 321 provides for the participation of the state in reciprocity agreements whereby colleges and universities of member states are allowed to operate, without additional state approval or authorization, in other member states.

Arizona

House Bill 2577 allows the Arizona Board of Regents, Community College Districts, and the State Board for Private Postsecondary Education to enter interstate reciprocity agreements for the purpose of managing postsecondary distance education.

Connecticut

House Bill 5361 requires the Office of Higher Education to develop a plan to enter into a multistate or regional reciprocity agreement that will allow for participation by the state and Connecticut higher education institutions in a nation-wide state authorization reciprocity agreement establishing uniform standards for distance learning programs across states. The Office of Higher Education has until Jan. 1, 2015 to develop a plan and once the plan is developed report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly.

Illinois

Senate Bill 3441 establishes the Board of Higher Education as the lead agency in coordinating interstate reciprocity for distance learning for participating institutions in Illinois and gives the board authorization to participate in a state authorization reciprocity agreement on behalf of this State. If Illinois is designated as the home state for a participating institution, then the Board of Higher Education is responsible for regulating all matters involving distance learning, including complaints from resident students and non-residents from other states where the participating institutions are offering distance learning under a reciprocity agreement. If another state has been designated as the home state, then the Board of Higher Education shall allow the participating institution to offer distance learning under a reciprocity agreement. However, if the participating institution has another home state, but also has a physical presence or has its principal institutional accreditation in Illinois, the Board of Higher Education may regulate the institution and its distance learning programs and is not bound by the reciprocity agreement. This bill only applies to distance learning programs.

Iowa

Senate Bill 2271 expands the duties of College Student Aid Commission by allowing the Commission to enter into and administer, or recognize, an interstate reciprocity agreement for the provision of postsecondary distance education by a postsecondary institution. The commission will adopt rules establishing application procedures and criteria for the authorization of postsecondary institutions providing postsecondary distance education under interstate reciprocity agreements and for the review and approval of interstate reciprocity agreements the commission may enter into or recognize .

Kansas

House Bill 2544 authorizes the Kansas Board of Regents to enter into the state authorization reciprocity agreement for the purposes of: (1) authorizing and allowing any postsecondary educational institution with a physical presence in Kansas to voluntarily participate in the state authorization reciprocity agreement and provide distance education in other states in accordance with the terms of the state authorization reciprocity agreement; and (2) authorizing and allowing any postsecondary educational institution that does not have a physical presence in Kansas and that is a participating member of the state authorization reciprocity agreement to deliver distance education in this state in accordance with the terms of the state authorization reciprocity agreement.

Louisiana

House Bill 433 allows the Board of Regents to negotiate and enter into state authorization reciprocity agreements that allow accredited postsecondary academic degree-granting institutions located in one state to offer online instruction in other states pursuant to the terms of the reciprocity agreement. Any accredited postsecondary academic degree-granting institution located in Louisiana may apply to the Board of Regents for authorization to offer online instruction in other states pursuant to the terms of the reciprocity agreement. If the Board of Regents approves an application, the period of approval shall not be longer than one year. The Board of Regents shall assess an application fee not to exceed $1,500 for the initial and for each annual application to defray the costs of reviewing and evaluating such applications.

Minnesota

House Bill 3172 adds determining whether to enter into an interstate reciprocity agreement regarding postsecondary distance education to the responsibilities of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. The office may participate in an interstate reciprocity agreement regarding postsecondary distance education if it determines that participation is in the best interest of Minnesota postsecondary students.

Missouri

House Bill 1389 allows Missouri to enter into reciprocity agreements regarding the delivery of online courses. Missouri will join other states as a participant in State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

Nebraska

Legislative Bill 331 revises the duties of the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education to allow the commission 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.

Ohio

House Bill 484 Allows the chancellor of the Ohio board of regents to enter into a reciprocity agreement with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact whereby the agreement provides for both of the following: (1) A participating institution in Ohio may enroll residents of a participating state in distance education programs without attaining prior approval from the appropriate agency of that participating state. (2) A participating institution in another state may enroll Ohio residents in distance education programs at that institution without attaining prior approval from the chancellor.

Oregon

House Bill 4018 provides the Higher Education Coordinating Commission the authority to enter into and administer interstate agreements regarding the provision of postsecondary distance education.  The commission, by rule, may impose a fee on any educational institution that seeks to operate under or participate in such interstate agreements. The fee amount shall be established to recover designated expenses incurred by the commission in participating in such agreements.

Utah

House Bill 405 known as the Utah Postsecondary School State Authorization Act provides that a postsecondary school may obtain state authorization by obtaining a certificate of postsecondary state authorization. Also allows the Division of Consumer Protection to enter an interstate reciprocity agreement.

Vermont

House Bill 885 allows Vermont to participate in an interstate reciprocity agreement for the purpose of authorizing online postsecondary programs. For purposes of reciprocity between states for institutional authorization, the Secretary of Education, or other Vermont agency as appropriate, shall investigate any complaints related to Vermont institutions participating in a recognized interstate reciprocity agreement.

Virginia

House Bill 467 allows the State Council of Higher Education to enter interstate reciprocity agreements that authorize accredited degree-granting institutions of higher education located in Virginia to offer postsecondary distance education. The State Council shall administer such agreements and shall approve or disapprove participation by accredited degree-granting institutions of higher education located in the state. Participation in the agreements shall be voluntary. The State Council shall establish the Distance Learning Reciprocity Advisory Council, which shall include representatives from each participating institution. The Advisory Council shall advise the State Council on the development of policies governing the terms of participation by eligible institutions, including the establishment of fees to be paid by participating institutions to cover direct and indirect administrative costs incurred by the State Council.

 

Student Veterans

While the Post 9/11 GI Bill has gone a long way to increase access to postsecondary education, many veterans still face challenges on campuses across the country. These challenges can range from a lack of camaraderie and understanding among other students and faculty, difficulty obtaining credit for military training and experiences, or state residency requirements. These obstacles can prevent veterans from returning to school or make it more difficult for them to finish their degree. As a result, state legislatures are addressing these challenges to make the transition to campus life easier for returning veterans. Even though the federal government recently passed legislation requiring veterans to be classified as residents for tuition purposes, many states such as Florida, Maine, Nebraska, and Wyoming all passed legislation in advance of the federal requirement. Many states are going well beyond financial assistance to help veterans succeed in college. New Hampshire, Ohio, and Washington passed legislation that will provide veterans course credit for their prior military experience and training. Utah is developing plans to create veteran centers on public campuses to provide support services to veterans. Pennsylvania and Washington passed bills that will help ensure veterans are able to enroll in the courses they need when they need them.

State

Legislation

Florida

House Bill 7015 establishes the Congressman C. W. Bill Young Veteran Tuition Waiver Program. Under the program all honorably discharged veterans of the United States Armed Forces, the United States Reserve Forces, or the National Guard who physically reside in Florida while enrolled in at a postsecondary institution are eligible for in-state tuition rates.

Indiana

Senate Bill 331 establishes the Second Service for Veterans program to attract veteran students to the teaching profession.  The program provides academic and career counseling as well as in-state residency for veterans who are accepted into the program. The bill also requires a state higher education institutions to adopt a policy to award educational credit to a veteran or an individual serving in the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard who completes certain required courses.

Maine

House Bill 1267 establishes that current members of the United States Armed Forces or veterans of the United States Armed Forces who have been honorably discharged are eligible for in-state tuition rates, regardless of the member's or veteran's state of residence.

Nebraska

Legislative Bill 740 provides residency status for a veteran who has been off active duty for two years or less or who is a spouse or dependent of such a veteran who enrolls in a public college or university. The student veteran must be registered to vote in Nebraska and demonstrate intent to be a resident of Nebraska.

New Hampshire

House Bill 519 requires the Division of Higher Education to develop and adopt a policy on academic credit for a student's military occupation, military training, coursework, and experience, and to consult with institutions of higher education in implementing the policy.

Ohio

House Bill 488 requires the chancellor of the Ohio board of regents to: 1) develop standards and procedures for states higher education institutions to grant college credit for military training, experience, and coursework; 2) create a military articulation and transfer assurance guide for college credit that is earned through military training, experience, and coursework; 3) create a web site that contains information related to the awarding of college credit for military training, experience, and coursework; 4) develop a statewide training program that prepares faculty and staff of state institutions of higher education to evaluate various military training, experience, and coursework and to award appropriate equivalent credit.

Oklahoma

Senate Bill 1830 creates the Oklahoma Student Veteran Leave of Absence Act of 2014 directing institutions of higher education to grant a leave of absence to a student called to active duty without loss of financial aid.

Pennsylvania

House Bill 1164 requires public higher education institutions to provide veteran students with preference in course scheduling pursuant to guidelines developed by the Department of Education.

Utah

Senate Bill 16 creates the Veterans Tuition Gap Program, which provides recipients of federal Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act benefits with additional grants to complete a bachelor's degree at qualified state and other institutions of higher education when federal benefits have been maximized

Utah

Senate Bill 68 directs the State Board of Regents to conduct a study and develop a plan for providing veterans centers or veterans services at each state institution of higher education.

Washington

House Bill 1109 requires institutions of higher education that offer an early course registration period for any segment of the student population to offer early registration to students who are eligible veterans or National Guard members.

Washington

Senate Bill 5969 requires each public institution of higher education to adopt a policy to award academic credit for military training courses or programs before a specified date, and to submit the policy to the Prior Learning Assessment workgroup for evaluation.

Wyoming

Senate Bill 61 provides resident tuition for military veterans at the University of Wyoming and community colleges beginning with the summer 2014 term.

 

Educational Attainment and Workforce Development

By 2020, the United States will be approximately five million college educated workers short of what the economy will demand.  Recognizing the detrimental effects a shortage of skilled workers could have on economic growth, approximately half of all states have set education attainment goals to help guide policy decisions. Oregon and Washington both passed legislation related to their state attainment goals in 2014. Other states took specific action to increase educational attainment. Colorado passed a bill that allows community colleges to award bachelor of applied science degrees in high demand areas. Oregon is also trying to boost educational attainment by providing grants to community colleges that will help first-generation college students complete their degrees. States are also taking action to make tighter linkages between postsecondary systems and workforce demands. Maine created a pilot program to match employees with industries facing a shortage of skilled labor. Louisiana created a new fund that will be used to increase degree production and research in high demand fields. Alabama and Colorado created a council and working group respectively to coordinate and align the production of human capital with key industries.

 

State

Legislation

Alabama

Senate Bill 217 creates the Alabama Workforce Council, which will serve as an advisory body in formulating policies, developing innovative educational workforce programming, and discussing issues critical to the workforce development needs in Alabama. The council will promote, and help coordinate collaboration between all levels of education and business and industry.

Colorado

Senate Bill 4 allows community colleges in Colorado to establish four-year bachelor of applied science degrees, which must be approved by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. The bill outlines criteria to consider when approving degrees including: 1) state workforce date must demonstrate a state and student demand for the program; 2) whether a college can satisfy accreditation requirements; 3) demonstrate that the program is cost-effective for the student and community college system; 4) the program must be sufficiently distinguishable as defined in the bill text.

Colorado

Senate Bill 205 creates the key industries talent pipeline working group with the State Council comprised of representatives from the Department of Higher Education, Department of Education, Department of Labor and Employment, and the Colorado Office of Economic Development. The working group will discuss and determine the most effective ways to align workforce development, economic development, and education to the needs of key industries. The working group will also publish an annual talent pipeline report that will provide a progress update of career pathway programs for targeted industries, analyze data regarding the skills required for key industry jobs, and recommendations to advance the talent pipeline and career pathways.

Indiana

House Bill 1064 Requires the Indiana career council to complete a return on investment and utilization study of career and technical education programs in the state. The study will provide recommendations concerning how career and technical education programs give preference to courses leading to employment in high wage, high demand jobs and implement performance-based funding.

Louisiana

House Bill 1033 creates the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund for the purpose of funding degree and certificate production and research priorities in high demand fields to meet the state’s future workforce and innovation  needs. The bill creates the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy Fund Strategic Planning Council (WISE Council) to distribute funds in alignment with a statewide workforce demand and gap analysis. Eighty percent of funds must be distributed to increase certificate and degree production in high demand fields, and twenty percent of funds will be distributed based on federally funded research expenditures. In order to receive funding, postsecondary institutions must match at least 20 percent of the funding to be distributed through private donations.

Maine

Senate Bill 554 establishes the Maine Workforce Opportunities Program as a pilot project that seeks to match qualified employees with positions at companies representing industries with significant unmet demand for skilled labor. The program provides incentives, including a tax credit for an employee's education costs.

Oregon

House Bill 4058 clarifies that for the purposes of the state’s attainment goal, earning a postsecondary credential may be satisfied by adult residents completing apprenticeship programs registered with the State Apprenticeship and Training Council. The state attainment goal states that 40 percent of adult Oregonians will earn a bachelor’s degree, 40 percent will earn a postsecondary credential, and that the remaining 20 percent will earn a high school diploma by 2025.

Oregon

House Bill 4116 directs the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development and Higher Education Coordinating Commission to jointly establish a grant program for the purpose of distributing moneys to community colleges to increase the number of underserved, low-income and first-generation college-bound students who enroll in community college and make progress toward a degree or certificate.

Washington

House Bill 2626 acknowledges the recommendations in the higher education 10-year roadmap. The legislature is encouraged by the student achievement council’s efforts to meet the state’s attainment goal that 70 percent of Washington adults will have a postsecondary credential by 2023.

 

Dual Enrollment

Dual enrollment—high school students receiving college credit for courses— has become a common strategy to make college more affordable and help student complete degrees in a timely manner. One challenge associated with dual enrollment programs is whether the student, state, school district, or higher education institutions should be responsible for paying the costs of courses. Alabama and Alaska now offer tax credits to individuals and business that contribute to dual credit scholarships. Idaho expanded a dual enrollment scholarship program to 11th graders and Washington created one-time grants to expand the availability of dual credit courses.

State

Legislation

Alabama

House Bill 384 creates a state income tax credit for individuals and businesses that make contributions for qualifying educational expenses directly associated with the Career-Technical Dual Enrollment Program as defined by the State Board of Education.

Alaska

House Bill 278 allows tax credits for funding a scholarship awarded by a nonprofit organization to a dual-credit student to defray the cost of a dual-credit courses.

Idaho

Senate Bill 1233 expands the current advance opportunities scholarship program to include students who have attained grade 11. Recipients may use the credit to pay for dual enrollment courses, advanced placement course, or professional certificate examinations.

South Dakota

Senate Bill 182 provides that with regard to dual credit courses, the school district or the state may pay all or part of the tuition and fees for a course approved for credit toward high school graduation and that the student is responsible for any tuition and fees not paid by the school district or the state and for any other costs involved with attending a postsecondary institution.

Washington

House Bill 1642 encourages school districts to adopt a policy to automatically enroll a student who meets the standard on the high school state assessments in the next most rigorous advanced course in that subject, with the objective that students eventually enroll in dual credit courses. The bill also provides an incentive award to high schools based on student performance in specified dual credit courses and provides a program to allocate one-time grants to expand the availability of dual credit courses.

 

 
Dustin Weeden is a policy specialist in NCSL's Education Program.

 

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