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  S.B. No. 1781
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to the regulation of certain educational institutions by
  the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; providing
  administrative penalties.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter G, Chapter 61, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 61.3025 to read as follows:
         Sec. 61.3025.  DEFINITION:  ACADEMIC RECORDS. (a)  In this
  subchapter, "academic records" means any information that is:
               (1)  directly related to a student's educational
  efforts;
               (2)  intended to support the student's progress toward
  completing a degree program; and
               (3)  regardless of the format or manner in which or the
  location where the information is held, maintained by an
  institution for the purpose of sharing among academic officials.
         (b)  The term "academic records" includes a student's
  educational history but does not include medical records, alumni
  records other than educational history, human resources records, or
  criminal history record information or other law enforcement
  records.
         SECTION 2.  Section 61.303, Education Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 61.303.  EXEMPTIONS. (a)  Unless specifically
  provided otherwise, the [The] provisions of this subchapter do not
  [in any way] apply to an institution that [which] 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)  The board may issue to an [An] exempt institution or
  person [may be issued] 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 a certificate
  of authorization under this section.
         (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 [would
  continue] in that status only if the institution or person
  maintains [so long as it maintained] accreditation by, and is not
  operating under sanctions imposed by, a recognized accrediting
  agency or otherwise meets [met] the provisions of Subsection (a).
         (g) [(e)]  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) [(f)]  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 3.  Subchapter G, Chapter 61, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 61.3075 to read as follows:
         Sec. 61.3075.  REQUIRED FINANCIAL RESOURCES. The board by
  rule may require an institution operating under a certificate of
  authority, or seeking to operate under a certificate of authority,
  to ensure that the financial resources and financial stability of
  the institution are adequate to provide education of a good quality
  and to fulfill the institution's commitments to its enrolled
  students and may require the institution to provide to the board
  documentation of the institution's compliance with those
  requirements. Rules adopted under this subsection must:
               (1)  require the institution to maintain reserves,
  lines of credit, or surety instruments that, when combined with
  tuition and fee receipts, are sufficient to allow the institution
  to fulfill its educational obligations to its enrolled students if
  the institution 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 enrolled
  students under the circumstance described by Subdivision (1).
         SECTION 4.  Section 61.315, Education Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 61.315.  AGENTS AND RECORDS; ACADEMIC RECORDS
  REPOSITORY. (a)  The authorized or certified institutions may be
  required to provide [furnish] a list of their agents to the board,
  and to maintain in a manner specified by the board the academic
  records of enrolled or former students [enrolled], including
  records of credits [awarded,] and degrees awarded, and provide
  those records to the board on request [in a manner specified by the
  board].
         (b)  The board may maintain a repository for academic records
  from closed institutions that were exempt or were authorized to
  operate under a certificate of authorization or certificate of
  authority. The board may discontinue its maintenance of the
  repository if adequate funding is not provided for that
  maintenance. The academic records repository is considered to be a
  repository of last resort. If a closed institution is part of a
  larger educational system or corporation, that system or
  corporation shall maintain the academic records. If students of
  the closed institution transfer to another institution through an
  agreement between the institutions to continue the students' degree
  programs, the institution responsible for accepting the
  transferring students shall maintain those academic records.
         SECTION 5.  Section 61.316, Education Code, is amended by
  adding Subsection (e-1) to read as follows:
         (e-1)  Any authorized or certified institution that fails to
  maintain in a manner specified by the board the academic records of
  enrolled or former students, including records of credits and
  degrees awarded, or that fails to protect the personally
  identifiable information of enrolled or former students shall be
  assessed an administrative penalty of not less than $100 or more
  than $500 for each student whose academic record was not maintained
  or whose personally identifiable information was not protected.
         SECTION 6.  Subchapter S, Chapter 61, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 61.835 to read as follows:
         Sec. 61.835.  TRANSFERABLE COLLEGE CREDIT FOR HEROES
  CURRICULA.  (a)  To promote the purposes of the College Credit for
  Heroes program established under Section 302.0031, Labor Code, the
  board, in consultation with the Texas Workforce Commission, the
  Texas Veterans Commission, and institutions of higher education,
  shall:
               (1)  develop standardized curricula within degree and
  certificate programs commonly offered by institutions of higher
  education toward which qualified veterans or military service
  members may be awarded appropriate academic credit for experience,
  education, and training earned during military service; and
               (2)  require the transferability between institutions
  of higher education of course credit for curricula developed under
  this section that is awarded to qualified veterans or military
  service members.
         (b)  The board shall adopt rules for the administration of
  this section.
         SECTION 7.  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  shall adopt the rules required by Subchapter G, Chapter 61,
  Education Code, as amended by this Act, as soon as practicable after
  the effective date of this Act.
         SECTION 8.  The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  shall adopt the initial rules required by Section 61.835, Education
  Code, as added by this Act, not later than May 1, 2018.
         SECTION 9.  This Act takes effect only if a specific
  appropriation for the implementation of the Act is provided in a
  general appropriations act of the 85th Legislature.
         SECTION 10.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
 
 
 
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1781 passed the Senate on
  April 25, 2017, by the following vote: Yeas 29, Nays 2; and that
  the Senate concurred in House amendments on May 27, 2017, by the
  following vote: Yeas 28, Nays 3.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
 
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1781 passed the House, with
  amendments, on May 23, 2017, by the following vote: Yeas 97,
  Nays 46, three present not voting.
 
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
 
  Approved:
 
  ______________________________ 
              Date
 
 
  ______________________________ 
            Governor