By: Rose H.B. No. 708
  relating to higher education transfer practices, articulation
  agreements, policies for dropping courses, and special-purpose
  centers and to the formula funding for certain credit hours.
         SECTION 1.  Sections 51.907(a) and (b), Education Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  In this section, "governing board," [and] "institution
  of higher education," and "public junior college" have the meanings
  assigned by Section 61.003.
         (b)  This section applies only to an undergraduate student
  who drops a course at an institution of higher education other than
  a public junior college and only if:
               (1)  the student was able to drop the course without
  receiving a grade or incurring an academic penalty;
               (2)  the student's transcript indicates or will
  indicate that the student was enrolled in the course; and
               (3)  the student is not dropping the course in order to
  withdraw from the institution.
         SECTION 2.  (a) Section 61.0595(d), Education Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (d)  The following are not counted for purposes of
  determining whether the student has previously earned the number of
  semester credit hours specified by Subsection (a):
               (1)  semester credit hours earned by the student before
  receiving an associate or [a] baccalaureate degree that has
  previously been awarded to the student;
               (2)  semester credit hours earned by the student by
  examination or under any other procedure by which credit is earned
  without registering for a course for which tuition is charged;
               (3)  credit for a remedial education course, a
  technical course, a workforce education course funded according to
  contact hours, or another course that does not count toward a degree
  program at the institution; [and]
               (4)  semester credit hours earned by the student at a
  private institution or an out-of-state institution; and
               (5)  semester credit hours earned by the student before
  graduating from high school and used to satisfy high school
  graduation requirements.
         (b)  The change in law made by this section to Section
  61.0595, Education Code, applies beginning with the funding
  recommendations made under Section 61.059, Education Code, for the
  2011-2012 academic year.
         SECTION 3.  Section 61.830, Education Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
  [ADDRESSING] TRANSFER PRACTICES.  (a) In its course catalogs and
  on its website, each institution of higher education shall publish:
               (1)  guidelines addressing the practices of the
  institution regarding the transfer of course credit, under which
  courses are identified[. In the guidelines, the institution must
  identify a course by] using the common course numbering system
  approved by the board; and
               (2)  in a format designated by the commissioner, all
  institutional and statewide articulation agreements concerning the
  transfer of courses.
         (b)  Each institution of higher education shall post on the
  institution's website the dates for which each published
  articulation agreement is valid and shall remove an expired
  articulation agreement from the website not later than the 30th day
  after the date of its expiration.
         (c)  The board shall adopt a standard format for the
  publication of articulation agreements under this section. The
  format must provide students with access to the requirements of
  each articulation agreement to allow students enrolled in public
  junior colleges, public state colleges, and public technical
  institutes to plan and coordinate course schedules to meet those
         (d)  The board shall provide links to each website described
  under Subsection (a) in a prominent, easily accessible, and
  identifiable location on the board's college information website.
         (e)  Not later than September 30 of each even-numbered year,
  the commissioner shall make recommendations to each standing
  committee of the legislature with primary jurisdiction over higher
  education to improve:
               (1)  the publication of transfer policies and
  articulation agreements for the benefit of transfer students; and
               (2)  the level of participation of institutions of
  higher education in articulation agreements for the purpose of
  facilitating the transfer of students between institutions.
         (f)  A student who enrolls in a public junior college, public
  state college, or public technical institute under an articulation
  agreement is entitled to transfer to the general academic teaching
  institution that is a party to the agreement not later than the
  fourth anniversary of the date the student first enrolled in the
  public junior college, public state college, or public technical
         SECTION 4.  Chapter 111, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter I to read as follows:
         Sec. 111.121.  DEFINITIONS.  In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Board" means the board of regents of the
  University of Houston System.
               (2)  "Center" means the University of Houston Hurricane
  Center for Innovative Technology (UHC-IT) established under this
         Sec. 111.122.  ESTABLISHMENT.  (a)  The University of
  Houston Hurricane Center for Innovative Technology is established
  at the University of Houston.
         (b)  The organization, control, and management of the center
  are vested in the board.
         (c)  The center shall be hosted by the university's College
  of Engineering. Participation in the center's activities shall be
  open to any faculty member of the university who is an active
  researcher in the field of materials, nanotechnology, structural
  engineering, designing of structures, or sensor technology, or in
  another relevant field as determined by the university.
         Sec. 111.123.  PURPOSE.  The center is created to:
               (1)  promote interdisciplinary research, education,
  and training for the development of state-of-the-art products,
  materials, systems, and technologies designed to mitigate the wind
  and asserted structural damages in the built environment and
  offshore structures caused by hurricanes in the Gulf Coast region;
               (2)  develop protocols for the fast and efficient
  recovery of the public and private sectors, including utilities,
  hospitals, petrochemical industries, offshore platforms, and
  municipalities and other local communities following a hurricane.
         Sec. 111.124.  POWERS AND DUTIES.  The center shall:
               (1)  collaborate with appropriate federal, state, and
  local agencies and private business or nonprofit entities as
  necessary to coordinate efforts after a hurricane in the Gulf Coast
               (2)  develop smart materials and devices for use in
  hurricane protection and mitigation systems for structural
               (3)  develop anchor systems for window and door
  screens, dwellings and other buildings, pipelines, and other
  onshore and offshore structures to withstand hurricane wind damage;
               (4)  develop test facilities for evaluating the
  performance of new products, materials, or techniques designed to
  protect against hurricane wind damage;
               (5)  develop specifications and standards for products
  used for protecting against hurricane wind damage;
               (6)  design buildings, houses, and other structures to
  withstand hurricane wind damage; and
               (7)  provide hurricane-related educational programs,
  seminars, conferences, and workshops to the community designed to
  ensure safety, minimize loss of life, and mitigate the destruction
  of property associated with hurricane wind damage.
  University of Houston shall encourage public and private entities
  to participate in or support the operation of the center and may
  enter into an agreement with any public or private entity for that
  purpose.  An agreement may allow the center to provide information,
  services, or other assistance to an entity in exchange for the
  entity's participation or support.
         Sec. 111.126.  GIFTS AND GRANTS.  The board may solicit,
  accept, and administer gifts and grants from any public or private
  source for the purposes of the center.
         Sec. 111.127.  PERSONNEL.  The board may employ personnel
  for the center as necessary.
         SECTION 5.  (a)  Each public institution of higher education
  must satisfy the requirements of Section 61.830, Education Code, as
  amended by this Act, not later than September 30, 2010.
         (b)  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall
  adopt the standard publication format required by Section
  61.830(c), Education Code, as added by this Act, not later than
  December 31, 2009.
         SECTION 6.  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, 2009.