MMA S.B. 148 75(R)BILL ANALYSIS HIGHER EDUCATION S.B. 148 By: Bivins/et al. (Rangel) 3-14-97 Committee Report (Unamended) BACKGROUND Currently, 20 percent of students who begin their postsecondary education at public community/junior colleges transfer to four-year institutions to complete their education. In many cases, the students are finding it difficult to transfer a majority of their credit hours to these fouryear institutions. As a result, the students are required to repeat courses similar to ones they successfully completed at the community college, therefore rendering the process of attaining a higher education inefficient. PURPOSE As proposed, S.B. 148 revises the authoritative powers of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in order to develop a more comprehensive curricula for institutions of higher education. Also, outlines provisions concerning the development of curricula. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the committee's opinion that this bill does expressly grant rulemaking authority to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board under Section 1 [Sections 61.826(a) and 61.827, and referred to in Section 61.822(b)] and in Section 3. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Chapter 61, Education Code, by adding Subchapter S, as follows: SUBCHAPTER S. TRANSFER OF CREDIT Sec. 61.821. DEFINITIONS. Defines "core curriculum" and "field of study curriculum." Sec. 61.822. CORE CURRICULUM. (a) Requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (board), with the assistance of advisory committees, to develop a core curriculum at least 42 semester credit hours (SCH). Mandates that a majority of the advisory committee be faculty members of a higher education institution. (b) Mandates that each institution of higher education adopt a core curriculum of no less than 42 SCH with specific standards and any variance must be approved by the board. (c) Authorizes transference of a successfully completed core curriculum from one institution of higher education to another, and mandates substitution for the receiving institution's core curriculum. States that the receiving academic institution may only require additional core curriculum courses if a larger core curriculum has been approved by the board. (d) Requires that credit be given to a transfer student for successful completion of any portion of the core curriculum. The school receiving the transfer student may require further course work for completion of the core curriculum. Sec. 61.823. FIELD OF STUDY CURRICULUM. (a) Mandates the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, with the assistance of advisory committees, to develop requirements for field of study curriculum at institutions of higher education. The advisory committees must be composed of an equitable cross-section of the institutions that offer a degree program in that particular field of study and a majority must be faculty members. (b) Mandates that a block of courses be transferred and substituted for an institution's lower division requirements for the field of study into which a student transfers. It also requires that the student receive full academic credit for the block of courses transferred. (c) Requires that credit be given to a transfer student for successful completion of any portion of the field of study curriculum. The school receiving the transfer student may require further course work for completion of the field of study curriculum. Sec. 61.824. INSTITUTIONAL EVALUATIONS. Requires each institution to review and evaluate their core curriculum and applicable field of study curricula at intervals specified by the board and to report the results of the review to the board. Sec. 61.825. BOARD EVALUATIONS. Requires the board to develop criteria to evaluate the transfer practices of each institution of higher education and to evaluate each institution based on the criteria. Sec. 61.826. DISPUTE RESOLUTION. (a) Requires the board, by rule, to adopt policies that provide for free transferability of lower division course credit among institutions of higher education and sets forth the required procedures to be followed. (b) Requires institutions to publish in their course catalogs procedures adopted by the board under Subsection (a) of this section. (c) Requires that written notice be given to a transfer student and the sending institution, if the receiving institution does not accept course credit from the sending institution earned by a student. Both institutions and the student must attempt to resolve the problem in accordance with board rules. If not resolved within 45 days of the student's receipt of the notice of denial, the institution that denies the transfer must notify the commissioner and provide their reasons. (d) Designates the commissioner of higher education (commissioner) or his designee to make the final determination on disputes concerning the transfer of course credit. Requires written notification to be given to all parties involved once a determination is made. (e) Requires the board to collect data on the types of reported transfer disputes and the disposition of each case considered by the commissioner or the commissioner's designee. Sec. 61.827. RULES. Authorizes the board to adopt rules implementing the provisions of this subchapter. SECTION 2. Repeals Sections 51.305 and 61.078, Education Code (Core Curriculum and Transfer of Lower Division Course Credit). SECTION 3. Requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to adopt rules implementing the provisions of this Act, not later than September 1, 1998. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.