OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 870

AN ACT IMPLEMENTING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.

SUMMARY

This bill reassigns the following duties from the Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) to the Office of Higher Education (OHE):

1. administering various grant and loan forgiveness programs,

2. publishing information about academic programs offered at public technical high schools and higher education institutions related to green jobs, and

3. gathering information about and developing programs for academic fields relating to public education.

It also relieves both BOR and UConn of an annual reporting requirement on a joint use plan for Naugatuck Valley Community College.

Additionally, the bill repeals a requirement that BOR, which is not a state agency, promulgate regulations for determining financial need for tuition waivers.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

DUTIES REASSIGNED FROM BOR TO OHE

Grant and Loan Forgiveness Program Administration

The bill reassigns administration of the following grant and loan forgiveness programs from BOR to OHE: (1) Engineering Connecticut; (2) You Belong; and (3) the Connecticut green technology, life science, and health information technology loan reimbursement program (see BACKGROUND).

Green Jobs Requirements

The bill also requires OHE, rather than BOR, in consultation with the State Department of Education, to annually prepare and publish on its website a list of the following: (1) every green jobs course, certificate, and degree program offered by technical high schools and public higher education institutions and (2) an inventory of green jobs-related equipment used by such schools and institutions.

Public Education Information and Program Development

The bill shifts from BOR to OHE the responsibility for gathering information on new programs and education methods being developed in public schools and colleges in Connecticut and nationwide. Under the bill, OHE must keep records of this information current and publicize it, as well as use the information to encourage and help develop new and improved programs and education methods in order to recruit, prepare, and train or retrain personnel for these programs.

BACKGROUND

“Engineering Connecticut”

This program provides student loan reimbursement grants to individuals who graduated from higher education institutions with undergraduate or graduate degrees in engineering, are employed in Connecticut as engineers, and satisfy certain other eligibility requirements (CGS 10a-19e).

“You Belong”

This program provides student loan reimbursements to doctoral program graduates employed in Connecticut in economically valuable fields, as determined by the Department of Economic and Community Development (CGS 10a-19f).

Connecticut Green Technology, Life Science, and Health Information Technology Loan Reimbursement Program

For individuals who graduated on or after Mary 1, 2010, and have been employed in Connecticut in one of these fields for at least two years after graduation, this program reimburses federal and state loans of (1) up to $2,500 per year or 5% of the amount of such loans, whichever is less, for up to four years for individuals with a bachelor's degree in these fields and (2) up to $2,500 per year or 5% of the amount of such loans, whichever is less, for up to two years for individuals with an associate degree in these fields. Additionally, an income limit of $150,000 also applies for the year prior to the first year of reimbursement (CGS 10a-19i).

COMMITTEE ACTION

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

20

Nay

0

(03/15/2017)