Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

File No. 371

    January Session, 2017

Substitute Senate Bill No. 870

Senate, April 3, 2017

The Committee on Higher Education and Employment Advancement reported through SEN. BYE of the 5th Dist. and SEN. LINARES of the 33rd Dist., Chairpersons of the Committee on the part of the Senate, that the substitute bill ought to pass.

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

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10a-17 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education shall (a) be responsible for obtaining information on new programs and methods of education that are being developed in the public schools and colleges of the state and nation, keeping such records current and publicizing information concerning these programs; and (b) encourage and aid in the development of new and improved programs and methods of education in order to recruit, prepare and train or retrain personnel needed in such programs.

Sec. 2. Section 10a-19e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There is established an "Engineering Connecticut" loan reimbursement grant program, administered by the [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education, for persons who have graduated from institutions of higher education with undergraduate or graduate degrees in engineering.

(b) Within available appropriations, the program shall provide student loan reimbursement grants for persons who (1) attended any institution of higher education, (2) have been awarded an undergraduate or graduate degree in engineering, and (3) are newly employed in Connecticut on or after January 1, 2006, as engineers.

(c) Persons who qualify under subsection (b) of this section shall be reimbursed on an annual basis for qualifying student loan payments in amounts as determined by the [president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities] executive director of the Office of Higher Education. A person qualifying under subsection (b) of this section shall only be reimbursed for loan payments made while such person is employed in the state as an engineer. The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education shall develop eligibility requirements for recipients of such reimbursements. Such requirements may include income guidelines. Persons may apply for grants to the [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education at such time and in such manner as the [president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities] executive director of the Office of Higher Education prescribes.

(d) Any unexpended funds appropriated for purposes of this section shall not lapse at the end of the fiscal year but shall be available for expenditure during the next fiscal year.

(e) The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education may use up to two per cent of the funds appropriated for purposes of this section for program administration, promotion and recruitment activities.

Sec. 3. Section 10a-19f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) There is established a "You Belong" loan reimbursement grant program, administered by the [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education, for graduates of doctoral programs who are employed in Connecticut in economically valuable fields.

(b) Within available appropriations, the program shall provide student loan reimbursement grants for persons who (1) have been awarded a doctoral degree from any institution of higher education, and (2) are newly employed in Connecticut in an economically valuable field, as determined by the Department of Economic and Community Development, on or after January 1, 2006, by a company or an institution of higher education that has registered with or otherwise been qualified under the program by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

(c) Persons who qualify under subsection (b) of this section shall receive reimbursement grants on an annual basis for qualifying student loan payments in amounts as determined by the [president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities] executive director of the Office of Higher Education. A person qualifying under subsection (b) of this section shall only be reimbursed for loan payments made while such person is employed in Connecticut by a qualifying company or in research at an institution of higher education in an economically valuable field. The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education shall develop eligibility requirements for recipients of such reimbursement grants in consultation with the Department of Economic and Community Development. Such requirements may include income guidelines. Persons may apply for grants to the [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education at such time and in such manner as the [president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities] executive director of the Office of Higher Education prescribes.

(d) Any unexpended funds appropriated for purposes of this section shall not lapse at the end of the fiscal year but shall be available for expenditure during the next fiscal year.

(e) The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education may use up to two per cent of the funds appropriated for purposes of this section for program administration, promotion and recruitment activities.

Sec. 4. Section 10a-19i of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(a) As used in subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, of this section:

(1) "Green technology" means technology that (A) promotes clean energy, renewable energy or energy efficiency, (B) reduces greenhouse gases or carbon emissions, or (C) involves the invention, design and application of chemical products and processes to eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances;

(2) "Life science" means the study of genes, cells, tissues and chemical and physical structures of living organisms and biomedical engineering and the manufacture of medical devices; and

(3) "Health information technology" means the creation, execution or implementation of electronic data systems that record or transmit medical or health information.

(b) There is established a Connecticut green technology, life science and health information technology loan reimbursement program to be administered by the [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education.

(c) A Connecticut resident who graduated on or after May 1, 2010, from an institution of higher education in this state with a bachelor's degree in a field relating to green technology, life science or health information technology and who has been employed in this state for at least two years after graduation by a business in the field of green technology, life science or health information technology and whose federal adjusted gross income for the year prior to the initial reimbursement year does not exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars shall be eligible for reimbursement of federal or state educational loans up to a maximum of two thousand five hundred dollars per year or five per cent of the amount of such loans per year, whichever is less, for up to four years.

(d) A Connecticut resident who graduated on or after May 1, 2010, from an institution of higher education in this state with an associate degree relating to green technology, life science or health information technology and who has been employed in this state for at least two years after graduation by a business in the field of green technology, life science or health information technology and whose federal adjusted gross income for the year prior to the initial reimbursement year does not exceed one hundred fifty thousand dollars shall be eligible for reimbursement of federal or state educational loans up to a maximum of two thousand five hundred dollars per year or five per cent of the amount of such loans per year, whichever is less, for up to two years.

(e) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (c) and (d) of this section, the total combined dollar value of loan reimbursements available under this and any other provision of the general statutes shall not exceed five thousand dollars per recipient of an associate degree and ten thousand dollars per recipient of a bachelor's degree.

(f) The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education may adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to carry out the provisions of subsections (a) to (e), inclusive, of this section.

Sec. 5. Section 10a-55g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

The [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education, in consultation with the Department of Education, shall annually prepare and publish on the [Board of Regents for] Office of Higher Education's web site a list of every green jobs course and green jobs certificate and degree program offered by technical high schools and public institutions of higher education and an inventory of green jobs related equipment used by such schools and institutions of higher education.

Sec. 6. Section 10a-144 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

[(a)] There is established a higher education center for the central Naugatuck Valley region. The regional community-technical college established for the greater Waterbury area pursuant to subsection (g) of section 10a-78, shall be located at such center. The University of Connecticut shall have access to classrooms, faculty office space and concurrent and cooperative use of common student facilities including, but not limited to, library and athletic fields, at such center. The Board of Trustees for the Regional Community-Technical Colleges and the Board of Trustees for The University of Connecticut shall jointly develop, in conjunction with the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, or his designee, an annual joint use plan for such center. On or before September 1, 1993, and annually thereafter, the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities shall call and convene an initial meeting for the development of such plan.

[(b) On or before April 1, 1994, and annually thereafter, the Board of Trustees for the Regional Community-Technical Colleges and the Board of Trustees for The University of Connecticut shall jointly report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education on the joint use plan developed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.]

Sec. 7. Section 10a-16 of the general statutes is repealed. (Effective from passage)

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

from passage

10a-17

Sec. 2

from passage

10a-19e

Sec. 3

from passage

10a-19f

Sec. 4

from passage

10a-19i

Sec. 5

from passage

10a-55g

Sec. 6

from passage

10a-144

Sec. 7

from passage

Repealer section

HED

Joint Favorable Subst.

 

The following Fiscal Impact Statement and Bill Analysis are prepared for the benefit of the members of the General Assembly, solely for purposes of information, summarization and explanation and do not represent the intent of the General Assembly or either chamber thereof for any purpose. In general, fiscal impacts are based upon a variety of informational sources, including the analyst's professional knowledge. Whenever applicable, agency data is consulted as part of the analysis, however final products do not necessarily reflect an assessment from any specific department.


OFA Fiscal Note

State Impact:

Agency Affected

Fund-Effect

FY 18 $

FY 19 $

Higher Ed., Off.

GF - Potential Cost

See Below

See Below

Note: GF=General Fund

Municipal Impact: None

Explanation

The bill results in a potential cost to the Office of Higher Education (OHE) as it transfers a number of duties from the Board of Regents (BOR). The cost to OHE is potential, as the BOR is not currently performing the functions, and if OHE continues not to execute the functions, there will be no additional cost. However, if OHE chooses to implement the functions, they would require additional resources and staff to do so. The level of resources would be dependent on the scope of the programs and corresponding funding levels.

The only duty mentioned in the bill that has been carried out is the annual development of a Naugatuck Valley center plan. The bill maintains the obligation and the role of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, but eliminates the plan's reporting requirement.

The Out Years

The annualized ongoing fiscal impact identified above would continue into the future subject to the status of the various programs.

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):

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)

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