OFFICE OF FISCAL ANALYSIS

Legislative Office Building, Room 5200

Hartford, CT 06106 (860) 240-0200

http://www.cga.ct.gov/ofa

HB-5071

AN ACT REQUIRING CONNECTICUT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE STATE AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT REGARDING DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS.

OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 17 $

FY 18 $

Higher Ed., Off.

GF - Cost

298,025

268,025

Board of Regents for Higher Education

GF - Savings

40,000

40,000

State Comptroller - Fringe Benefits1

GF - Cost

99,061

99,061

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill will result in a FY 17 cost of $298,025 to the Office of Higher Education (OHE). Annual OHE costs are expected to be $248,025 for Personal Services and $20,000 for Other Expenses. One-time start-up costs of $30,000 are estimated in FY 17 for computers, software, and office equipment.

It is anticipated that by requiring OHE to develop, implement and manage a system to oversee reciprocity agreements concerning the licensure of distance learning programs, OHE would require three additional full-time staff, and one part-time staff. New staff would include: one Senior Associate with an annual salary of $72,948, and two Senior Consultants each with an annual salary of $63,665, and one part-time position, an IT Support Senior Consultant with an annual salary of $47,747, for a total of $248,025 plus corresponding fringe benefits of $99,061.

Additionally, the bill results in a savings to the Board of Regents for Higher Education of $40,000 as Charter Oak State College would no longer be required to pay fees for the licensure of their programs in other states.

The bill requires OHE to enter into a multistate or regional reciprocity agreement in order to allow the state and Connecticut higher education institutions to participate in a nation-wide state authorization reciprocity agreement. The agreement must (1) establish uniform standards for distance learning programs across states and (2) eliminate the need for participating states to assess the quality of a distance learning program offered by an out-of-state institution. The oversight for Connecticut includes 31 independent institutions and 18 public institutions, as well as those institutions that fail to be part of the reciprocity agreement in their state. It is estimated that there are approximately 7,000 institutions of higher learning in the United States which could potentially enter the state through the nationwide reciprocity agreement.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to inflation, except for the one-time costs identified above. Additionally, a minimal savings would accrue to any constituent unit of higher education which chose to offer on-line courses in the future.

1 The fringe benefit costs for most state employees are budgeted centrally in accounts administered by the Comptroller. The estimated active employee fringe benefit cost associated with most personnel changes is 39.94% of payroll in FY 17 and FY 18.