Bill Text: TX SB1490 | 2021-2022 | 87th Legislature | Enrolled


Bill Title: Relating to the authority of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to authorize certain degree programs offered by private postsecondary educational institutions.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-1)

Status: (Passed) 2021-06-08 - Effective on 9/1/21 [SB1490 Detail]

Download: Texas-2021-SB1490-Enrolled.html
 
 
  S.B. No. 1490
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the authority of the Texas Higher Education
  Coordinating Board to authorize certain degree programs offered by
  private postsecondary educational institutions.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 61.303, Education Code, as amended by
  S.B. 1781, Acts of the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, is
  reenacted and amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 61.303.  EXEMPTIONS. (a)  Unless specifically provided
  otherwise, the provisions of this subchapter do not apply to an
  institution that is fully accredited by, and is not operating under
  sanctions imposed by, a recognized accrediting agency, or an
  institution or degree program that has received approval by a state
  agency authorizing the institution's graduates to take a
  professional or vocational state licensing examination
  administered by that agency.  The granting of permission by a state
  agency to a graduate of an institution to take a licensing
  examination does not by itself constitute approval of the
  institution or degree program required for an exemption under this
  subsection.
         (b)  The exemptions provided by Subsection (a) apply only to
  the degree level for which an institution is accredited, and if an
  institution offers to award a degree at a level for which it is not
  accredited, the exemption does not apply.
         (c)  Except as provided by Subsection (c-1), the [The] board
  may approve the issuance of a certificate of authorization to grant
  degrees [issue] to an exempt institution or person [a certificate
  of authorization to grant degrees]. The board may adopt rules
  regarding a process to allow an exempt institution or person to
  apply [for] and receive approval for a certificate of authorization
  under this section.
         (c-1)  The board may not approve the issuance of a
  certificate of authorization for an exempt institution to grant a
  professional degree or to represent that credits earned in this
  state are applicable toward a professional degree except to the
  extent allowed for an authorized institution operating under a
  State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). In this
  subsection, "professional degree" includes Doctor of Medicine
  (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), Doctor of Dental Surgery
  (D.D.S.), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Juris Doctor
  (J.D.), and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.).
         (d)  The board by rule may require an exempt institution or
  person to ensure that the financial resources and financial
  stability of the institution or person are adequate to provide
  education of a good quality and to fulfill the institution's or
  person's commitments to its enrolled students and may require the
  institution or person to provide to the board documentation of the
  institution's or person's compliance with those requirements.
  Rules adopted under this subsection must:
               (1)  require the institution or person to maintain
  reserves, lines of credit, or surety instruments that, when
  combined with tuition and fee receipts, are sufficient to allow the
  institution or person to fulfill its educational obligations to its
  enrolled students if the institution or person is unable to
  continue to provide instruction to its enrolled students for any
  reason; and
               (2)  require that the financial resources maintained
  under Subdivision (1) be conditioned to allow only the board to
  withdraw funds for the benefit of the institution's or person's
  enrolled students under the circumstance described by Subdivision
  (1).
         (e)  To enable the board to verify the conditions under which
  a certificate of authorization issued under this section is held,
  the board by rule may require an exempt institution or person to
  report to the board on a continuing basis other appropriate
  information in addition to the documentation required under
  Subsection (d).
         (f)  An exempt institution or person continues in that status
  only if the institution or person maintains accreditation by, and
  is not operating under sanctions imposed by, a recognized
  accrediting agency or otherwise meets the provisions of Subsection
  (a).
         (g)  The board by rule shall provide for due process and
  shall provide procedures for revoking or placing conditions on the
  exemption status of an institution or person or for revoking or
  placing conditions on a previously issued certificate of
  authorization.
         (h)  Under the rules described by Subsection (g), the board
  may revoke or place conditions on an institution's or person's
  exemption status or certificate of authorization only if the board
  has reasonable cause to believe that the institution or person has
  violated this subchapter or any rule adopted under this subchapter.
         (i)  Before revoking or placing conditions on an
  institution's or person's exemption status or certificate of
  authorization under Subsection (h), the board must provide to the
  institution or person written notice of the board's impending
  action and include the grounds for that action.
         (j)  If the board places conditions on an institution's or
  person's exemption status or certificate of authorization under
  Subsection (h), until the board removes the conditions, the board
  may reexamine the applicable institution or person at least twice
  annually following the date the board provided notice under
  Subsection (i).
         (k)  A private postsecondary educational institution may not
  establish or operate a branch campus, extension center, or other
  off-campus unit in Texas except as provided by this subsection or
  the rules of the board.  This subsection does not apply to a private
  or independent institution of higher education as defined by
  Section 61.003.
         SECTION 2.  Section 61.306, Education Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a) and (c) and adding Subsections (c-1) and
  (d) to read as follows:
         (a)  Subject to Subsections (c) and (c-1), the [The] board
  may issue a certificate of authority to grant a degree or degrees
  and to enroll students for courses which may be applicable toward a
  degree if it finds that the applicant meets the standards
  established by the board for certification.
         (c)  The board may not issue a certificate of authority for a
  private postsecondary educational institution to grant a
  professional degree or to represent that credits earned in this
  state are applicable toward a professional degree if the
  institution is chartered in a foreign country or has its principal
  office or primary educational program in a foreign country.
         (c-1)  The board may issue a certificate of authority for a
  private postsecondary educational institution to grant a
  professional degree or to represent that credits earned in this
  state are applicable toward a professional degree only if the board
  determines that:
               (1)  the capacity and ability of similar professional
  degree programs at institutions of higher education and private or
  independent institutions of higher education are insufficient to
  meet the state's current market needs;
               (2)  the institution seeking the certificate of
  authority:
                     (A)  has the necessary faculty and other resources
  to ensure student success; and 
                     (B)  is subject to and agrees to meet the same
  standards for approval and all academic criteria applicable to
  similar professional degree programs offered by institutions of
  higher education and private or independent institutions of higher
  education; and
               (3)  sufficient placements are available to students
  for required field-based experience, such as clinicals or
  clerkships, for the proposed professional degree.
         (d)  In this section:
               (1)  "Institution of higher education" and "private or
  independent institution of higher education" have the meanings
  assigned by Section 61.003.
               (2)  "Professional [subsection, "professional] degree"
  includes a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.),
  Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
  (D.V.M.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.).
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1490 passed the Senate on    
  April 20, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendment on May 27, 2021, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1490 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 18, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 120,
  Nays 17, two present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor
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