Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-870

Title:

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

Vote Date:

3/15/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/2/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Board of Regents for Higher Education

REASONS FOR BILL:

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Sean Bradbury, Director of Government Relations-CSCU: submitted testimony in support of SB-870. He communicated the Board of Regent's (BOR) position that this bill would transfer responsibilities from the BOR to the Office of Higher Education (OHE), which is better suited for these particular tasks. He noted that the BOR's mission is limited to the 12 community colleges, the four state universities, and Charter Oak State College. Any responsibilities that fall outside that mission are likely holdovers from the Board of Governors. Mr. Bradbury also said that OHE would be better suited to handle these responsibilities, regardless of their status as an independent department or an office of the State Department of Education.

A particular concern of Mr. Bradbury's is a loan forgiveness program that includes all Connecticut students both private and public. It's his position that the BOR should not be responsible for loans made outside of its purview, particularly, when there are no funds appropriated for the program. It would be unconscionable for the BOR to allocate funds from its constituent member's students to refund loans made for private institutions.

Additionally, Section 7 of the bill would move several reporting responsibilities to the OHE. These reports cover all green jobs programs, certificates and degree programs offered by any public institution of higher education. It makes more sense for the OHE to report on programs that do not fall under the BOR's 17 school mission.

Mr. Bradbury finished by noting that one requested change was not reflected in the language of the bill. Currently, the President of the CSCU system is responsible for the formatting of reports on all institutions of higher educations in the state. This duty would be better handled by the OHE because the BOR has no oversight over UCONN or private institutions.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Jennifer Widness, President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC): submitted testimony in support of Section 10 of SB-870. Ms. Widness notes that the reporting requirements for the Roberta Willis Scholarship Program should be lowered. Under current law, institutions are required to report on all students who apply for aid regardless of whether or not said aid is granted. Furthermore, the collected data has not been used to produce a report comparing student outcomes.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None submitted

Reported by:

Devin Keehner, Assistant Clerk

Jeanie Phillips, Clerk

Date: 3/20/17