Higher Education Legislation in 2018

1/2/2019

graduatesThe 2018 state legislative sessions across the nation resulted in more than 840 enacted bills related to postsecondary education. With minimal adjustments, the legislation mirrors recent years of connecting postsecondary education to state economic and community needs. Workforce development received the most legislative activity, as states took actions to establish health care preparation pathways and resources, improve access to industry-focused credentialing programs, recognize proficiency-based learning, and enhance the quality and availability of apprenticeship and licensure programs. A notable development among these efforts: Enabling high school students to achieve postsecondary academic credit prior to receiving their high school diplomas.

Financial aid (along with affordability and student loans) emerged as a new category as legislatures seek to ensure affordable access to vocational training and preparedness programs for state citizens. Enacted legislation reflects state interests in College Promise programs, state tax credits for federal 529 accounts, expands access to open educational resources, mitigates costs for education programs in departments of corrections as well as rural health loan forgiveness programs, and provides academic credit for prior military training for veterans to reduce their costs and times-to-degree.

Legislation focused on community colleges reflects a desire to enhance regional access. Creating and sustaining College Promise programs, along with enhancing cross-enrollment with online educational opportunities, and the acceptance of academic credit for prior learning, were overarching themes of these efforts.

In addition to concerns of workforce preparation, state legislatures focused on issues of postsecondary governance to ensure that campuses retain adequate free speech and student participation policies, clarify the rights of students called to active military duty, and ensure accreditation standards for distance learning institutions operating within a state. 

College preparation emerged as a new category as legislatures seek to clarify student eligibility in postsecondary education. Enacted bills include the demonstration of proficiency to meet academic requirements, student eligibility for concurrent and dual enrollments, and access to internship and apprenticeship programs. Interestingly, legislation also encourages teacher training programs to include emerging research on brain science and cognitive development to strengthen the effective learning of children.

Like college preparation, admissions and enrollment legislation focused on removing barriers to postsecondary participation. As states seek to help students earn affordable credentials in a timely manner, enacted legislation provides for concurrent enrollment for on-campus students in online programs, and the eligibility of prisoners to participate in postsecondary programs.

While the categories above cite the most active classifications, many of the cited bills could appear in multiple categories. In fact, the legislative categories throughout this summary indicate an overarching theme of workforce preparation and affordable access to postsecondary programs leading to timely credentials and degrees. Also, a predominate theme can be seen in ensuring that middle and high school students are aware of opportunities for early postsecondary credit in apprenticeship and licensure programs. Finally, ongoing efforts to support military veterans and their transition to the civilian workforce continues to be a commitment across the states.

Again, this supports the all-encompassing connection of postsecondary education to state economic and community needs—leading to stronger communities and enhanced opportunities for state citizens. Legislatures appear dedicated to helping their citizens obtain the necessary degrees or credentials earlier, faster and more affordably.

Admissions and Enrollment

Aware that a postsecondary degree or credential is essential to workforce preparation, states are removing barriers to access into academic programs. Enacted bills provide for concurrent enrollment for on-campus students in online programs and allow prisoners to participate in postsecondary programs—leading to more efficient and broader workforce preparedness.

State Legislation Related to Admissions and Enrollment 
California

AB 1062 removes the deadline for authorizing a California State University student to enroll in an online course at another CSU campus, for the Trustees to establish an online database of courses, and for the Trustees to establish a series of uniform definitions.

Colorado

SB 101 revises provisions relating to student admission at Colorado State University, Global Campus, and repeals the prohibition to admit first-time freshman baccalaureate students who are residents of the state and are under a specified age.

Colorado

HB 1437 eliminates the requirement that a person who participates in college-level academic programs through the correctional education program in the department of corrections must bear entirely the costs associated with such programs.

Oklahoma

SB 1196 allows students eligible for certain enrollment to participate in a program offered by any institution within the State System of Higher Education, and allows school districts that offer certain programs to partner with any institution within the State System of Higher Education.

 

College Preparation 

Seeking to enhance postsecondary access, enacted bills include the demonstration of proficiency to meet academic requirements, student eligibility for concurrent and dual enrollments, and enhanced internship and apprenticeship programs. Legislatures also sought to strengthen K-12 teacher effectiveness. As with other categories, enabling high school students to better understand postsecondary choices and pathways and obtain postsecondary academic credit prior to receiving their high school diploma is a significant development among many states.

State Legislation Related to College Preparation
Georgia

SB 401 relates to counseling and development of individual graduation plans; provides for guidance in career-oriented aptitudes and career interests in developing an individual graduation plan; and provides for a review and report of a school counselor's role, workload, program service delivery and professional learning.

Oklahoma SB 1196 allows students eligible for certain enrollment to participate in a program offered by any institution within the State System of Higher Education and allows school districts that offer certain programs to partner with any institution within the stystem. 
Tennessee SB 614 encourages teacher training programs to partner with stakeholders in neurological or brain science research to provide educators with knowledge of cognitive development and how emerging research in the brain sciences can inform educational practices and policies.
Tennessee

SB 723 requires the governing body of public higher education institutions to adopt a policy that affirms certain principles of free speech. 

Virginia HB 399 relates to work-based learning experiences for students and requires each school board to implement a plan to notify students and their parents of the availability of internships, externships, apprenticeships, credentialing programs, certification programs, licensure programs and other work-based learning experiences.

 

Community and Junior Colleges

Enacted bills reflect the growing importance of these institutions in serving as postsecondary gateways for their state regions. Efforts to create and sustain College Promise programs, enhance cross-enrollment with online educational opportunities, and the growing awareness of prior learning is emphasized.

State Legislation Related to Community and Junior Colleges
California

AB 19 establishes the California College Promise, which distributes funding, upon appropriation by the legislature, to each community college meeting prescribed requirements. It provides that the funds be used to accomplish specified policy goals and waives fees for one academic year for first-time students who are enrolled in a specified number of semester units, and who have completed and submitted the appropriate application.

California

AB 343 exempts students who have been granted special immigrant visas or are refugees and who settled in the state upon entering the United States from paying nonresident tuition at the California State University and the California Community Colleges. It authorizes a community college district to report certain students as full-time. 

California

AB 637 enacts provisions relating to cross-enrollment of community college students in online courses offered by campuses other than their home campuses. It requires that the program established be available at a community college that is part of the Online Education Initiative Consortium and specifies the qualifications to be met by participating students. It also requires the Chancellor's Office of the State Community College to provide an online methodology to allow eligible students to be informed of opportunities.

California

AB 1786 requires the Chancellor of the California Community College to establish an initiative to expand the use of course credit at the California Community College with prior learning; locate and collect available resources; and provide professional development in connection with identified best practices.

Hawaii

HB 2501 establishes the University of Hawaii Community College Promise Program; provides scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any community college campus of the University of Hawaii system; and appropriates funds to establish and implement the program.

Illinois SB 1663 provides that a public community college district may accept credits as direct equivalent credits prior learning credits, as determined by the district and consistent with the accrediting standards and institutional and residency requirements of the Illinois Community College Board, the Higher Learning Commission, other State and national accreditors and State licensing bodies; and provides that an institution must submit its application for approval. 
Illinois  HB 2740 provides that the Community College Board establish alternative methods of credentialing for the issuance of high school equivalency certification throughout the state; allows the board to offer the credentialing on high school credit, post-secondary credit, foreign diplomas and completion of a competency-based program as approved by the board; and makes technical and conforming changes.
Maine SB 355 changes the name of Maine Community College System's advisory council of college presidents from the administrative council; and allows the Board of Trustees of the Maine Community College System to encourage the development of the innovative education delivery methods, course schedules, student support services and prior learning assessments that help expand access to both credit and noncredit programming, to support the development of campus security plans. 


Financial Aid/Affordability/Student Loans

Enacted bills relate to state interests in College Promise programs, 529 accounts, expanded access to open educational resources, mitigating costs for education programs in departments of corrections as well as rural health loan forgiveness programs, and providing academic credit for prior military training for veterans to reduce their costs and times-to-degree.

State Legislation Related to Financial Aid/Affordability/Student Loans
California

AB 1533 extends the operation of the College Promise Partnership Act, which authorizes the Long Beach Community College District and the Long Beach Unified School District to enter into a partnership to provide a seamless bridge to college for pupils not already college-bound and to reduce the time needed for advanced students to complete programs.

Colorado

HB 1217 enacts the Working Families College Savings Act; provides a temporary income tax credit for employers that make contributions to 529-qualified state tuition program accounts owned by their employees; and authorizes the Department of Revenue to seek, accept, and expend gifts, grants or donations from private or public sources for cost in administering tax credit. 

Colorado 

HB 1331 expands the use of open educational resources at public institutions of higher education; establishes the State Open Educational Resources Council; creates a grant program to support the creation and use of open educational resources; and relates to expenditures on textbooks and other educational materials.

Colorado HB 1437 eliminates the requirement that a person who participates in college-level academic programs through the correctional education program in the department of corrections must bear entirely the cost associated with such programs. Cost for such programs may be borne through private, local, or federally funded gifts, grants, donations, or scholarships or by such persons themselves, or through any combination of such funding. 
Connecticut

SB 4 allows eligible veterans without legal immigration status to apply for and receive institutional financial aid under certain conditions.

Hawaii

HB 916 appropriates funds to the Department of Health to fund the Hawaii rural health care provider loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns school of medicine to provide loan repayment for physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners who agree to work in a federally-designated health professional shortage area or an area of Hawaii found to be underserved.

Indiana

HB 1242 provides that, after June 30, 2019, certain people who serve or served on the USS Indiana are eligible for the resident tuition rate determined by the state educational institution.

Maryland HB 16 establishes a near completer communication campaign; requires the Commission to develop and implement a web-based match program for near completers; requires grants to be provided on a first-come, first-served basis; prohibits certain community colleges from increasing tuition rates; establishes a Maryland Community College Promise Scholarship program; requires the Office of Student Financial Assistance to annually select and offer a scholarship award to applicants; and establishes eligibility requirements. 
Maryland

HB 1216 authorizes a student or a student’s parent or guardian to release the student’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score to apprenticeship programs and employers; authorizes the State Department of Education to adopt regulations to require the award of credit toward high school graduation requirements for time spent in apprenticeship programs; and authorizes a Workforce Development Sequence Scholarship to be used for costs to participate in an apprenticeship program.

Washington 

HB 1375 provides students at community and technical colleges with the costs of required course materials.

 

Governance

Enacted legislation ensures that campuses retain adequate free speech and student participation policies, clarify the rights of students called to active military duty, and ensure accreditation standards for distance learning institutions operating within a state. 

State Legislation Related to Governance
California

AB 1887 authorizes any pupil attending a state public secondary school and under a certain age to serve on any board or commission that includes the same. It also authorizes any student attending a campus of the California Community Colleges, the California State University, the University of California, or an independent institution of higher education, who qualifies for exemption from paying nonresident tuition, to serve on any board or commission and that includes members who are students.

Georgia

SB 339 relates to the board of regents and university system, requiring the board of regents to develop a policy providing for free speech or free press to be implemented at all institutions of the university system; provides requirements for such policy; and provides for reports and the content of reports.

Oregon

SB 1557 revises the requirements of community colleges and public universities to provide certain rights to students ordered to federal or state active duty for a specified time period.

Rhode Island

SB 554 requires accreditation by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for distance learning institutions to transact business or grant degrees in Rhode Island.

 

Workforce Development

Enacted bills establish health care resources and nursing career pathways, improve access to industry-focused credentialing programs, recognize proficiency-based learning, and enhance the quality and availability of apprenticeships and licensure programs.

State Legislation Related to Workforce Development 
Alabama

SB 351 creates the Alabama Rural Hospital Resource Center, within the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and provides staffing and reporting requirements for the resource center, creates a rural administrative residency program, and establishes the areas in which the resource center may support participating rural hospitals.

Colorado 

HB 1086 allows a community college that is part of the state system of community and technical colleges to offer a bachelor of science degree in nursing; and adds to the role and mission of the state's community colleges the creation of a bachelor of science in nursing completion program that results in the awarding of a bachelor of science in nursing degree to successful candidates.

Colorado 

HB 1266 provides financial incentives for participating districts and charter schools to encourage pupils enrolled in grades nine through 12 to enroll in and successfully complete qualified industry-credential programs, qualified internship, residency, or construction industry pre-apprenticeship or apprenticeship programs, and qualified advanced placement courses.

Connecticut 

SB 186 includes school counselors in a committee to coordinate the education of middle school and high school students about careers in manufacturing.

Delaware

HB 226 creates a working group of business and government leaders to study methods to improve coordination between the public and private sectors, attract growing businesses, and foster economic development throughout the state; and appoints members.

Georgia

SB 401 relates to the "Quality Basic Education Act," to provide for collection of enrollment and student record data by the Office of Student Achievement for students in dual credit courses; to provide for guidance in career-oriented aptitudes and career interests in developing an individual graduation plan; to provide for a review and report of a school counselor's role, workload, program service delivery and professional learning; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for automatic repeal; to provide for annual age-appropriate sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention education in kindergarten through ninth grade; to provide that professional learning may include programs on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention; to provide that in-service training include programs on sexual abuse and assault awareness and prevention for certain professional personnel; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

Kentucky 

HB 3 requires each school district to implement essential workplace ethics programs that promote characteristics that are critical to success in the workplace; and requires each student in elementary, middle and high school to receive essential workplace ethics instruction.

Maine 

HB 1152 ensures the successful implementation of proficiency-based diplomas.

Maryland 

SB 978/HB 1216 authorizes a student or a student's parent or guardian to release the student's Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score to certain apprenticeship programs and employers; authorizes the state Department of Education to adopt regulations to require the award of credit toward high school graduation requirements for time spent in apprenticeship programs; and authorizes a Workforce Development Sequence Scholarship to be used for costs to participate in an apprenticeship program.

Oklahoma

SB 1171 creates the Work-Based Learning Program; provides authority over the program; directs the creation of certain partnerships; designates the duty of certain established work-force development offices; establishes certain goals for apprenticeship positions by certain date; states the duration and purpose of the program; states participant requirements; sets certain program components; requires certain annual registration; provides exception; and states requirement for annual certificate.

Oklahoma

HB 2911 relates to an individualized plan developed by the student and the student's parent or legal guardian, in collaboration with their school counselors, school administrators, teachers and other school personnel, that is used to help establish personalized academic and career goals, explore postsecondary career opportunities, including, but not limited to, military careers, apprenticeship programs, career and technology.

Oklahoma

SB 1649 establishes a liability framework for employers who accept or employ students receiving a secondary education to participate in work-based learning coordinated through the student's local education agency; and establishes a qualified work-based learning student grant program.

Virginia

HB 299 requires each school board to implement a plan to notify students and their parents of the availability of internships, externships, apprenticeships, credentialing programs, certification programs, licensure programs and other work-based learning experiences.

Virginia

HB 544 authorizes each local school board to establish High School to Work Partnerships between public high schools and local businesses to create opportunities for high school students to participate in an apprenticeship, internship, or job shadow programs in a variety of trades and skilled labor positions or tour local businesses and meet with owners and employees.

 

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