PA 16-120—HB 5070

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING PARTICIPATION IN THE STANDARD AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT REGARDING DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAMS

SUMMARY: This act requires the Office of Higher Education (OHE), by January 1, 2017, to enter into a multistate or regional reciprocity agreement to allow Connecticut and its higher education institutions to participate in a nationwide state authorization reciprocity agreement on distance learning programs. The nationwide agreement must (1) establish uniform standards across states and (2) eliminate the need for participating states to assess the quality of a program offered by an out-of-state institution.

The act requires Connecticut higher education institutions that seek to participate in the nationwide agreement to submit an application to OHE on a form prescribed by the office. OHE must approve or reject the application in accordance with the agreement's terms and establish an application and renewal fee schedule. The schedule must be graduated based on the number of full-time equivalent students at each Connecticut higher education institution. Under the act, an institution's authorization is valid for one year and is renewable for additional one-year periods.

By law, a person, school, board, association, or corporation must have an OHE license to operate a program of higher learning or higher education institution in Connecticut (CGS 10a-34). The act allows out-of-state institutions that participate in the nationwide reciprocity agreement to operate a distance learning program in Connecticut according to the agreement's uniform standards and without licensure from OHE. They may do so upon OHE entering into the agreement. The act specifies that it does not affect the attorney general's authority to enforce the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act or Title X of the federal Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P. L. 111-203).

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

OLR Tracking: TA; JSB; PF; bs