PA 17-229—sHB 7053

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PUBLICATION OF TRANSFER AND ARTICULATION PROGRAMS IN THE STATE AND THE MEMBERSHIP AND DUTIES OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

SUMMARY: This act requires (1) the Office of Higher Education (OHE) and public higher education institutions to publish information regarding transfer and articulation programs on their respective Internet websites and (2) the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) to provide information on transfer and articulation programs to all students admitted to any CSUS regional community-technical college (CTC). It also requires each higher education institution that receives federal funds to provide a link to its most recent National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) profile on its website.

The act reconstitutes and expands the membership of the Planning Commission for Higher Education and places it within OHE. Furthermore, it modifies certain commission duties and activities, including requiring that a subcommittee develop an annual affordability index for public higher education.

It also authorizes OHE to accept private or public donations or grants for commission administration. Lastly, it makes conforming and technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2018

TRANSFER AND ARTICULATION AGREEMENTS

The act requires OHE to publish on its website links to the transfer and articulation programs developed by CSUS and UConn. Also, UConn and each CSUS institution must include on their respective websites links to OHE's website and provide information on the transfer and articulation programs.

Information for Students

The act requires CSUS to provide any student accepted into a CTC with information about the transfer and articulation programs between the CTCs and CSUS four-year universities.

Reporting Requirement

Starting by January 1, 2018, the act requires CSUS and UConn to each annually submit a report to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee that analyzes the transfer and articulation programs used by CTC students who transferred to a four-year public higher education institution. At a minimum, the reports must address (1) enrollment of transfer students; (2) the average number of credits accepted by the four-year public institution; and (3) the graduation rates of transfer students.

HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONAL PROFILES

The act requires each higher education institution in the state that receives federal funding under the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide a link on its website to the institutionʼs most recent institutional profile provided on the NCES Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) website. This requirement effectively covers all in-state public and private institutions.

IPEDS provides data on higher education institutions' admissions policies, tuition rates, faculty-to-student ratios, and other information that allows different institutions to be compared.

PLANNING COMMISSION FOR HIGHER EDUCATION RECONSTITUTION

By law, the commission develops and ensures implementation of a strategic master plan for higher education that must address degree attainment, the number of people entering the workforce, and the achievement gap.

The commission consists of voting and nonvoting members. The act changes the number of members and how they are appointed.

Voting Members

Under prior law, the commission had 17 voting members: the legislative leaders appointed 12 and the governor appointed five. Under the act, the commission instead has 19 voting members, some of whom are appointed by virtue of their position.

The act gives the following nonvoting members voting status as of January 1, 2018:

1. the CSUS president, or a designee from the Board of Regents (BOR);

2. the UConn president, or a designee from UConn's Board of Trustees (BOT); and

3. the BOR and BOT chairs, or their designees.

The act also adds the CSUS and UConn provosts to the commission as voting members.

Table 1, below, includes the other 13 voting commission members and their appointing authorities under the act.

Table 1: Commission Members and Appointing Authorities

Appointing Authority

Number of Appointments

Appointee Qualifications

Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) president

Two

President, vice president, or chair of the board of a large independent institution of higher education

President, vice president, or chair of the board of a small independent institution of higher education

Education commissioner

Two

Representative from a private occupational school

Private occupational school teaching faculty representative

CSUS president

Two

CSUS teaching faculty representative

CTC faculty representative

UConn president

One

UConn teaching faculty representative

Senate president pro tempore

One

Large manufacturing employer representative

Senate majority leader

One

Information technology or digital media employer representative

Senate minority leader

One

Small business employer representative

House speaker

One

Large financial or insurance services employer representative

House majority leader

One

Health care employer representative

House minority leader

One

Small business employer representative

Under Senate Rule 18(a), any statutory reference to the minority leader of the Senate means the Senate Republican president pro tempore.

Nonvoting Members

The act adds the following nonvoting members to the commission:

1. a State Board of Education (SBE) member selected by the SBE chairperson;

2. the state technical high school system superintendent, or the superintendentʼs designee;

3. the Connecticut Innovations, Inc., chief executive officer or his designee; and

4. the OHE director.

The act removes the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC) board chair, or his designee, as a nonvoting member.

As under prior law, the following continue as nonvoting members:

1. the education, economic and community development, and labor commissioners, or their designees;

2. the CCIC president, or her designee;

3. the chairpersons and ranking members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee; and

4. the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary, or his designee.

Commission Chair and Vice Chair

Under the act, (1) the governor, rather than the commission members, appoints the commission chair and (2) the commission members appoint the vice chair.

Commission Placed in OHE and Member Expenses Eliminated

The act places the commission in OHE and states that the commission is responsible for implementing any policies it develops.

The act eliminates the ability of commission members to be compensated for expenses they incur in performing their duties.

COMMISSION DUTIES

The act modifies certain commission duties. Under prior law, the commission had to establish specific goals for 2015 and 2020 to, among other things, increase the number of people earning a bachelor's degree or other degrees or certificates and eliminate the achievement gap. The act requires the commission to also set such goals for 2025.

Under the act, the commission, when developing the higher education strategic master plan, may consider, in addition to other items listed in statute, developing policies to promote the transfer and articulation program and the statewide guaranteed admission program.

The act also removes the specific requirement that the master plan recommend changes to funding policies, practices, and accountability to align with the goal of evaluating performance-based incentive funding for higher education.

New Subcommittees

Prior law required the commission, in consultation with OPM, to establish working groups by January 1, 2016. The act instead requires the commission, by January 1, 2018 and in consultation with OPM, to establish two standing subcommittees: one for data, metrics, and accountability and one for the master plan. It also allows the commission to establish working groups as necessary to support the subcommittees. The act authorizes the commission's chairperson and vice-chairperson to appoint the members of the standing subcommittees and any working groups, and it allows people who are not commission members to be appointed to the subcommittees.

Data, Metrics, and Accountability Subcommittee. The data, metrics, and accountability standing subcommittee must (1) build upon the work of the Higher Education Coordinating Council and Preschool through 20 Workforce Information Network (P20 WIN) in the subcommittee's use of measures and data and (2) use such measures to assess each public higher education institution's progress toward meeting the commissionʼs goals.

The subcommittee must collaborate with the Labor Department to (1) produce periodic reports, capable of being sorted by student age, employment status, job retention, and earnings of students enrolled in academic and noncredit vocational courses and programs who leave public institutions of higher education either through graduation or otherwise, both prior to enrollment and after completion of the courses and programs, and (2) develop an annual affordability index for public higher education based on statewide median family income.

The subcommittee must submit annual reports to the commission and the constituent units.

Strategic Master Plan Subcommittee. The other standing subcommittee must focus on the higher education strategic master plan, including analyzing the plans submitted since 2014 and making recommendations to the commission on key areas. The commission may recommend key focus areas to the subcommittee each year and require the subcommittee to report to the commission on these key areas.

Advisory Committees. Under the act, the commission may appoint advisory committees with representatives from public and independent higher education institutions to study methods and proposals for coordinating these institutions' efforts to implement the commission's goals as stated in statute.

The commission may also review its goals and plans and determine how best to align its work with that of the Higher Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship Working Group and the Higher Education Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee.

AUTHORITY TO ACCEPT GIFTS AND DONATIONS

The act authorizes OHE to solicit and accept gifts and donations from any public or private source for commission administration. OHE may solicit and accept for use any (1) gift of money or property made by will or other means and (2) grant of money, services, or property from the federal government; the state; any state political subdivision; or any private source.

The funds must be deposited in an account to be known as the “Planning Commission for Higher Education Fund,” which is a separate, non-lapsing account in the General Fund.