Bill Text: TX SB2131 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Comm Sub


Bill Title: Relating to efforts to facilitate the completion by students of undergraduate certificate and degree programs.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 2-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-05-26 - House appoints conferees-reported [SB2131 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-SB2131-Comm_Sub.html
  85R29841 KJE-F
 
  By: West S.B. No. 2131
 
  (Howard)
 
  Substitute the following for S.B. No. 2131:  No.
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to efforts to facilitate the completion by students of
  undergraduate certificate and degree programs.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 33.007, Education Code, is amended by
  amending Subsection (b) and adding Subsections (b-1), (b-2), and
  (d) to read as follows:
         (b)  During the first school year a student is enrolled in a
  high school or at the high school level in an open-enrollment
  charter school, and again during each year of a student's
  enrollment in high school or at the high school level, a school
  counselor shall provide information about postsecondary education
  to the student and the student's parent or guardian. The
  information must include information regarding:
               (1)  the importance of postsecondary education;
               (2)  the advantages of earning an endorsement and a
  performance acknowledgment and completing the distinguished level
  of achievement under the foundation high school program under
  Section 28.025;
               (3)  the disadvantages of taking courses to prepare for
  a high school equivalency examination relative to the benefits of
  taking courses leading to a high school diploma;
               (4)  financial aid eligibility;
               (5)  instruction on how to apply for federal financial
  aid;
               (6)  the center for financial aid information
  established under Section 61.0776;
               (7)  the automatic admission of certain students to
  general academic teaching institutions as provided by Section
  51.803;
               (8)  the eligibility and academic performance
  requirements for the TEXAS Grant as provided by Subchapter M,
  Chapter 56; [and]
               (9)  the availability of advanced academic programs in
  the district under which a student may earn college credit,
  including advanced placement programs[, dual credit programs,
  joint high school and college credit programs,] and international
  baccalaureate programs;
               (10)  the availability of dual credit and joint high
  school and college credit programs, including:
                     (A)  the types of courses offered under each
  program, such as whether the courses are in the core curriculum of a
  certificate or degree program at an institution of higher education
  or are career and technology education courses; and
                     (B)  whether the courses offered under each
  program would transfer to an institution of higher education for
  course credit applied toward a certificate or degree program; and
               (11)  recommended course sequences at and transfer
  compacts between institutions of higher education, including the
  web-based platforms developed under Sections 61.843(g) and
  61.844(c).
         (b-1)  Each school district and open-enrollment charter
  school shall post the information described by Subsection (b)(10)
  on the district's or school's Internet website.  The district or
  school shall annually review and, if necessary, update that
  information.
         (b-2)  Each school district and open-enrollment charter
  school, in consultation with school counselors employed by the
  district or school, shall develop a procedure for documenting on
  each student's transcript any postsecondary advising services
  provided to the student under this section, including the name of
  the person or counseling provider who provided the services.
         (d)  In this section, "institution of higher education" has
  the meaning assigned by Section 61.003.
         SECTION 2.  Chapter 61, Education Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter S-1 to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER S-1.  TEXAS GUIDED PATHWAYS PROGRAM
         Sec. 61.841.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Program" means the Texas Guided Pathways program
  established under this subchapter.
               (2)  "Texas OnCourse initiative" means the
  postsecondary education and career counseling academy developed by
  The University of Texas at Austin under Section 33.009.
         Sec. 61.842.  ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM. (a)  The Texas
  Guided Pathways program is established to inform, empower, and
  support current and prospective students at institutions of higher
  education by providing those students clear and efficient pathways
  to completion of undergraduate certificate and degree programs.
         (b)  The goals of the program are to:
               (1)  provide recommended course sequences for all
  undergraduate certificate and degree programs offered at
  institutions of higher education;
               (2)  increase the efficiency of transferring course
  credit between two-year and four-year institutions of higher
  education;
               (3)  empower students to make well-informed choices by
  making useful course planning information available to students
  electronically;
               (4)  decrease the cost of completing undergraduate
  certificate and degree programs by helping students avoid taking
  courses that do not count toward the programs; and
               (5)  streamline student pathways to completion of
  undergraduate certificate and degree programs in a manner aligned
  with state goals to increase educational attainment.
         Sec. 61.843.  RECOMMENDED COURSE SEQUENCES. (a) Each
  institution of higher education shall develop a recommended course
  sequence for each undergraduate certificate or degree program
  offered by the institution. Each recommended course sequence must:
               (1)  be designed to enable a student to obtain a
  certificate or degree, as applicable, within:
                     (A)  for an associate degree or certificate
  program, four semesters or other academic terms; or
                     (B)  for a baccalaureate degree program, eight
  semesters or other academic terms;
               (2)  include a specific sequence in which courses
  should be completed to ensure completion of the applicable program
  within the time frame described by Subdivision (1); and
               (3)  be aligned with the applicable certificate or
  degree requirements published by the institution.
         (b)  Not later than June 1 of each year, each institution of
  higher education shall:
               (1)  after reviewing and, if necessary, updating each
  recommended course sequence, adopt a version of each recommended
  course sequence to take effect beginning with entering freshmen and
  undergraduate transfer students for the following academic year;
               (2)  submit to the board, in an electronic format
  specified by the board, each recommended course sequence and, if
  the institution does not use the common course numbering system,
  information regarding the course equivalent under the common course
  numbering system, if any, for each course included in that course
  sequence; and
               (3)  post each recommended course sequence, including
  any information required to be provided under Subdivision (2) for
  that course sequence, on the institution's Internet website in a
  location that is accessible from the institution's website home
  page by use of not more than three links.
         (c)  Each institution of higher education shall inform
  students about the recommended course sequences, including how to
  use those course sequences as a tool to aid in course selection, and
  incorporate those course sequences into student advising.
         (d)  To enable students to compare recommended course
  sequences at institutions of higher education, each institution of
  higher education shall post on the institution's Internet website a
  link to the web-based platform on recommended course sequences
  developed under Subsection (g).
         (e)  After notice to the board, an institution of higher
  education may modify the institution's recommended course
  sequences as necessary to:
               (1)  align the course sequence with the applicable
  certificate or degree requirements published by the institution;
               (2)  incorporate recommended changes identified as a
  result of any program evaluation conducted by the institution; or
               (3)  comply with applicable institutional policies,
  accreditation requirements, and state or federal law.
         (f)  An institution of higher education shall honor each
  version of a recommended course sequence adopted by the institution
  under Subsection (b)(1), including any necessary modifications
  made to the course sequence under Subsection (e), for at least the
  four academic years occurring after the date on which that version
  of the course sequence is adopted.
         (g)  The Texas OnCourse initiative, in consultation with its
  partnering institutions of higher education and the board, shall
  develop a statewide web-based platform that enables a student to:
               (1)  search for and compare recommended course
  sequences at institutions of higher education; and
               (2)  determine whether a specific lower-division
  course offered by an institution of higher education and identified
  using the common course numbering system would transfer to another
  institution of higher education for course credit applied toward
  the student's undergraduate certificate or degree program and count
  toward that institution's recommended course sequence for that
  program.
         (h)  In developing the web-based platform under Subsection
  (g), the Texas OnCourse initiative may use technology platforms
  provided by the National Student Clearinghouse or any other
  electronic data sharing and exchange platforms that meet nationally
  accepted standards, conventions, and practices.
         (i)  The board shall maintain the web-based platform
  developed under Subsection (g) and ensure that an electronic link
  to the platform is posted on the Internet website of any electronic
  common application system developed by the board.
         (j)  Not later than November 1 of each even-numbered year,
  the board shall submit to the members of the legislature a report on
  the recommended course sequences at institutions of higher
  education.  The report must include an analysis of the alignment of
  courses taken by students in each undergraduate certificate or
  degree program at an institution of higher education with the
  institution's recommended course sequence for that program.
         Sec. 61.844.  TRANSFER COMPACTS. (a)  Not later than March
  15 of each year, each institution of higher education shall submit
  to the board in an electronic format specified by the board:
               (1)  a list of the transfer compacts in which the
  institution participates; and
               (2)  a copy of, or an electronic link to a copy of, each
  transfer compact listed under Subdivision (1).
         (b)  The board shall provide any necessary support for the
  development of transfer compacts between institutions of higher
  education.
         (c)  The Texas OnCourse initiative, in consultation with its
  partnering institutions of higher education and the board, shall
  develop a statewide web-based platform that provides to students
  information regarding transfer compacts between institutions of
  higher education, including an electronic link to each transfer
  compact submitted to the board under Subsection (a).
         (d)  In developing the web-based platform under Subsection
  (c), the Texas OnCourse initiative may use technology platforms
  provided by the National Student Clearinghouse or any other
  electronic data sharing and exchange platforms that meet nationally
  accepted standards, conventions, and practices.
         (e)  The board shall maintain the web-based platform
  developed under Subsection (c).
         (f)  Not later than November 1 of each even-numbered year,
  the board shall submit to the members of the legislature a report on
  transfer compacts between institutions of higher education. The
  report must include an analysis of the impact of those compacts on
  students' efficient progress toward completion of an undergraduate
  certificate or degree program.
         Sec. 61.845.  GIFTS, GRANTS, AND DONATIONS. The board may
  solicit and accept gifts, grants, and donations from any public or
  private source for any expenses related to the program.
         Sec. 61.846.  RULES. The board, in consultation with
  institutions of higher education:
               (1)  shall adopt rules for the electronic submission of
  information required to be submitted to the board under this
  subchapter; and
               (2)  may adopt rules as necessary to implement the
  program.
         SECTION 3.  Section 33.007, Education Code, as amended by
  this Act, applies beginning with the 2017-2018 school year.
         SECTION 4.  Subchapter S-1, Chapter 61, Education Code, as
  added by this Act, applies beginning with the 2018-2019 academic
  year.
         SECTION 5.  Notwithstanding Section 61.843(b), Education
  Code, as added by this Act, not later than August 15, 2018, each
  public institution of higher education shall adopt, submit to the
  Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and post on the
  institution's Internet website the initial recommended course
  sequences as required under that section.
         SECTION 6.  Not later than November 1, 2018, the Texas Higher
  Education Coordinating Board shall submit its initial report
  required under Section 61.843(j), Education Code, as added by this
  Act.
         SECTION 7.  Not later than March 15, 2019, the Texas OnCourse
  initiative shall develop the statewide web-based platforms
  required under Sections 61.843(g) and 61.844(c), Education Code, as
  added by this Act.
         SECTION 8.  Not later than November 1, 2020, the Texas Higher
  Education Coordinating Board shall submit its initial report
  required under Section 61.844(f), Education Code, as added by this
  Act.
         SECTION 9.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
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