Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 7053

Public Act No. 17-229

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.

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

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2018) (a) The Office of Higher Education shall publish on its Internet web site, links to the existing transfer and articulation programs developed between the Connecticut state colleges and universities and The University of Connecticut. Each institution within the jurisdiction of the constituent units shall include on its Internet web site a link to the Officer of Higher Education's Internet web site and provide information regarding such transfer and articulation programs. Each institution of higher education in this state, receiving federal funding pursuant to the Higher Education Act of 1965, shall provide on its Internet web site a link to the institution's most recent institutional profile provided on the National Center for Education Statistic's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Internet web site.

(b) The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities shall provide any student who has been accepted for admission to an institution within the jurisdiction of the regional community-technical college system with information about the existing transfer and articulation programs between the regional technical-community colleges and four-year public institutions of higher education.

(c) Not later than January 1, 2018, and annually thereafter, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and The University of Connecticut shall each submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education. Such report shall analyze the existing transfer and articulation programs utilized by students who attended a regional technical-community college and who transferred to a four-year public institution of higher education, including, but not limited to, (1) enrollment of transfer students, (2) the average number of credits accepted by the four-year public institution, and (3) graduation rates of transfer students.

Sec. 2. Section 10a-11b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective January 1, 2018):

(a) There is established a Planning Commission for Higher Education to develop and ensure the implementation of a higher education strategic master plan [for higher education] in Connecticut.

(1) The commission shall consist of the following voting members: (A) [Two members appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall have experience as former administrators or faculty members in independent institutions of higher education in this state; (B) two members appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, one of whom shall be a former administrator or faculty member of a regional community-technical college and one of whom shall be a former administrator or faculty member of The University of Connecticut; (C) two members appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, one of whom shall be a former administrator or faculty member of a state university in the Connecticut State University System and one of whom shall be a former administrator or faculty member of Charter Oak State College; (D) two members appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, one of whom shall have experience in the field of arts and culture and one of whom shall have experience in the field of health care; (E) two members appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives who shall have knowledge and expertise in science and technology; (F) two members appointed by the minority leader of the Senate who shall represent state-wide business organizations; and (G) five members appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall represent a nonprofit education foundation, one of whom shall have experience in university research and its commercial application and one of whom shall have experience in the field of education from prekindergarten to grade twelve, inclusive.] The president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the president of The University of Connecticut, or their designees from the Board of Regents and Board of Trustees; (B) the provost of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and the provost of The University of Connecticut; (C) the chair of the Board of Regents for the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, and the Board of Trustees for The University of Connecticut, or the chairs' designees; (D) the president, vice president or chair of the board of a large independent institution of higher education in the state, to be selected by the president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges; (E) the president, vice president or chair of the board of a small independent institution of higher education in the state, to be selected by the president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges; (F) a representative from a private occupational school, to be selected by the Commissioner of Education; (G) a teaching faculty representative from the Connecticut State Universities, to be selected by the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities; (H) a teaching faculty representative from the regional community-technical colleges, to be selected by the president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities; (I) a teaching faculty representative from The University of Connecticut, to be selected by the president of The University of Connecticut; (J) a teaching faculty representative from a private occupational school in the state, to be selected by the Commissioner of Education; (K) one member appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, who shall be a representative of a large manufacturing employer in the state; (L) one member appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, who shall be a representative of a large financial or insurance services employer in the state; (M) one member appointed by the majority leader of the Senate, who shall be a representative of an information technology or digital media employer in the state; (N) one member appointed by the minority leader of the Senate, who shall be a representative of a small business employer in the state; (O) one member appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be a representative of a health care employer in the state; and (P) one member appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, who shall be a representative of a small business employer in the state. The commission membership shall, where feasible, reflect the state's geographic, racial and ethnic diversity.

(2) The following persons shall serve as ex-officio nonvoting members on the commission: (A) The [president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, the] Commissioner of Education, the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development and the Labor Commissioner, or their designees; (B) [the chairpersons of the boards of trustees and the chief executive officers of each constituent unit of the state system of higher education, or their designees; (C) the chairperson of the board and] the president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, or [their designees; (D)] the president's designee; (C) a member of the State Board of Education, as designated by the chairperson of the state board; (D) the superintendent of the technical high school system, or the superintendent's designee; (E) the chief executive officer of Connecticut Innovations, Incorporated, or the chief executive officer's designee; (F) the director of the Office of Higher Education; (G) the chairpersons and ranking members of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education and employment advancement; and [(E)] (H) the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, or the secretary's designee.

(3) The Governor shall appoint the chairperson from among the commission's members. The commission shall elect a [chairperson] vice-chairperson at its first meeting. Any vacancies shall be filled by the appointing authority. The term of each appointed member of the commission shall be three years from the date of appointment. The commission members shall serve without compensation. [except for necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.] The commission may seek the advice and participation of any person, organization or state or federal agency it deems necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. The commission may, within available appropriations, retain consultants to assist in carrying out its duties. The commission may receive funds from any public or private sources to carry out its activities. The commission shall be within the Office of Higher Education and shall be responsible for implementing any policies developed by the commission.

(b) [In accordance with subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 10a-6, the] The commission shall develop and ensure the implementation of a higher education strategic master plan that:

(1) Examines the impact of demographic, workforce and education trends on higher education in the state;

(2) (A) Establishes numerical goals for 2015, [and] 2020 and 2025 to increase the number of people earning a bachelor's degree, associate degree or certificate, increases the number of people successfully completing coursework at the community college level and the number of people entering the state's workforce and eliminates the postsecondary achievement gap between minority students and the general student population, and (B) includes specific strategies for meeting such goals, as well as strategies for meeting the goals pursuant to [subdivision (2) of] subsection [(a)] (b) of section 10a-6 and section 10a-11c;

(3) Examines and recommends changes to funding policies, practices and accountability in order to (A) align policies and practices with the goals set forth in subsection (b) of section 10a-6 [, including an evaluation of the use of strategic and performance-based incentive funding] and section 10a-11c; (B) determine how the constituent units shall annually report to the General Assembly and the public in a transparent and thorough manner regarding each constituent unit's expenditures, staffing and state support, including the state appropriation, personnel expenses, personnel fringe benefits, capital improvement bonds and financial aid to students; and (C) improve coordination of appropriation, tuition and financial aid and seek ways to maximize funding through federal and private grants; and

(4) Recommends ways in which each constituent unit of the state system of higher education and independent institution of higher education in the state can, in a manner consistent with such institution's mission, expand such institution's role in advancing the state's economic growth.

(c) In developing the higher education strategic master plan, the commission shall review the plans pursuant to sections 10a-6 and 10a-11. In addition, the commission may consider the following: (1) Establishing incentives for institutional performance and productivity; (2) increasing financial aid incentive programs, especially in workforce shortage areas and for minority students; (3) implementing mandatory college preparatory curricula in high schools and aligning such curricula with curricula in institutions of higher education; (4) seeking partnerships with the business community and public institutions of higher education to serve the needs of workforce retraining that may include bridge programs in which businesses work directly with higher education institutions to move students into identified workforce shortage areas; (5) establishing collaborative partnerships between public high schools and institutions of higher education; (6) implementing programs in high school to assist high school students seeking a college track or alternative pathways for post-secondary education, such as vocational and technical opportunities; (7) developing policies to promote and measure retention and graduation rates of students, including graduation rates for students who have transferred among two or more constituent units or public institutions of higher education; (8) developing policies to promote the Transfer and Articulation program and the Guaranteed Admission program state wide; (9) addressing the educational needs of minority students and nontraditional students, including, but not limited to, part-time students, incumbent workers, adult learners, former inmates and immigrants, in order to increase enrollment and retention in institutions of higher education; and [(9)] (10) addressing the affordability of tuition at institutions of higher education and the issue of increased student indebtedness.

(d) Not later than June 1, 2014, the commission shall submit a preliminary report on the development of the higher education strategic master plan and, not later than September 1, 2014, the commission shall submit the higher education strategic master plan, including specific goals and benchmarks for the years ending 2020 and 2025, together with any recommendations for appropriate legislation and funding to the Governor and the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education and employment advancement, education, commerce, labor and appropriations, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a.

(e) Not later than January 1, 2016, and annually thereafter, the commission shall submit a report to the Governor and the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to higher education and employment advancement, education, commerce, labor and appropriations, in accordance with section 11-4a, on the implementation of the plan and progress made toward achieving the goals specified in the plan. The commission may periodically suggest changes to the goals as necessary.

(f) Not later than January 1, [2016] 2018, for purposes of implementing the higher education strategic master plan pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the commission, in collaboration with the Office of Policy and Management, shall establish [working groups and consult with any existing working groups, commissions or task forces that may investigate and offer guidance on specific objectives identified by the commission or the office, including, but not limited to, outcomes-based financing and workforce development, the examination of which by the commission are essential to achieving the goals specified in the plan.] two standing subcommittees and may establish any working groups necessary to supplement the work of the subcommittees or work. The chairperson and vice-chairperson of the commission shall appoint the members of the standing subcommittees and working groups, and may appoint members to such standing subcommittees and working groups who are not members of the commission.

(1) One standing subcommittee shall focus on data, metrics and accountability, and build upon the work of the Higher Education Coordinating Council and Preschool through 20 and Workforce Information Network in its measures and data. Such measures shall be used to assess the progress of each public institution of higher education toward meeting the commission's goals. The subcommittee shall collaborate with the Labor Department to (A) produce periodic reports, capable of being sorted by student age, on the employment status, job retention and earnings of students enrolled in academic and noncredit vocational courses and programs, both prior to enrollment and after completion of such courses and programs, who leave the constituent units upon graduation or otherwise, and (B) develop an annual affordability index for public higher education that is based on state-wide median family income. The subcommittee shall submit annual reports to the commission and the constituent units.

(2) One standing subcommittee shall focus on the higher education strategic master plan, analyzing the plans submitted since 2014 and making recommendations to the commission on key areas. The commission may recommend key areas of focus each year and require the standing subcommittee to report to the commission on such key areas.

(g) The commission may appoint advisory committees with representatives from public and independent institutions of higher education to study methods and proposals for coordinating efforts of the public institutions of higher education and the independent institutions of higher education to implement the goals identified in section 10a-11c.

(h) The commission may review its goals and plans and determine how best to align its work with the work of the Higher Education Innovation and Entrepreneurship Working Group and the Higher Education Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee, established pursuant to sections 32-39s and 32-39t.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (Effective January 1, 2018) The Office of Higher Education may solicit and accept for use any gift of money or property made by will or otherwise, and any grant of money, services or property from the federal government, the state or any political subdivision thereof or any private source for the purpose of administering the Planning Commission of Higher Education. Such funds shall be deposited in an account to be known as the "Planning Commission for Higher Education Fund" which shall be a separate, nonlapsing account within the General Fund.

Approved July 11, 2017