Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-7119

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING THE AUTHORITY OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF HIGHER EDUCATION RELATING TO TEACH-OUT PLANS AND ON-SITE REVIEW OF ACADEMIC PROGRAMS.

Vote Date:

3/16/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/2/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

The Office of Higher Education

REASONS FOR BILL:

To authorize the executive director of the Office of Higher Education to require (1) a teach-out for students enrolled in a program at an institution of higher education that is in danger of closing, and (2) evidence that a program application in a field requiring a license to practice meets state and federal licensing requirements for such license.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Keith M. Norton, Acting Executive Director, Office of Higher Education

Mr. Norton testified in favor of HB 7119. He stated that while the Office of Higher Education seeks every day to foster and improve higher education opportunities for students in our state, institutions sometimes encounter financial or administrative circumstances from which they cannot recover. He further explained that this bill seeks to strengthen protections for permitting the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education to require a teach-out plan that ensures all enrolled students can complete their programs and earn a degree, and that these measures would only be used if necessary. He goes on to say that this would be an invaluable tool for ensuring an acceptable academic plan is developed for the students in question.

Mr. Norton finishes his testimony for HB 7119 by elaborating on the additional provisions of the bill. He states that the bill requires institutions offering instruction in a field where a state or federal license is necessary to practice supply evidence that their program qualifies graduates to obtain such license. He says this provision will ensure that students who have taken and paid for coursework in pursuit of a professional license are provided with the education appropriate to attain that license.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

See Agency response.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Jennifer Widness, President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges

President Widness expressed her organization's concern with Section 2 of this bill which expands the Office of Higher Education's authority for additional oversight of new programs that lead to licensure. She went on to highlight the already extensive external oversight of the programs in question. President Widness finishes her testimony restating that the proposal is unnecessary as additional oversight by the Office of Higher Education is redundant.

Reported by:

Dale Thompson, Assistant Clerk

Jeanie Phillips, Clerk

Date: March 21, 2017