2015 Legislative Update

The 2015 legislative session is well underway.  The Joint Favorable deadlines for a few key committees have now passed, and it is a good time to take stock of where things stand on a few of the bills that impact independent colleges in Connecticut.  For questions or more information, contact Jennifer Widness at widnessj@theccic.org.

Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee
In an effort to allow Connecticut institutions of higher education to participate in a nationwide state authorization reciprocity agreement (such as SARA), the Higher Education Committee approved HB 6715: An Act Requiring Connecticut to Participate in the state Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Regarding Distance Learning Programs ,which would require the Office of Higher Education to enter into a multistate or regional reciprocity agreement by January 1, 2016.  A number of CCIC Member Institutions supported  this proposal.

Following a national trend, the Committee also approved SB 636: An Act Concerning Affirmative Consent which establishes a definition for “affirmative consent” and requires all institutions of higher education in Connecticut to adopt a policy informing students and employees that affirmative consent is the standard used in determining whether consent to engage in sexual activity was given by all persons who engaged in the sexual activity.    The bill also requires campuses to include information regarding the affirmative consent standard in its awareness programming.   CCIC along with others submitted testimony in support of this bill.

As a follow-up to the recently released strategic plan developed by the Planning Commission for Higher Education, the committee approved HB 6919: An Act Concerning Outcomes-Based Financing ,which establishes a task force to develop a strategic outcomes-based plan for financing higher education that must be aligned with the goals and benchmarks for higher education established in the strategic plan (see also HB 7007).  The task force is charged with considering the interrelationships among state appropriations, tuition and student financial aid.  Such plan shall include performance-based funding for public and independent institutions of higher education.    

The Committee sent to the Appropriations Committee the bill that would take needy college students who attend private institutions out of the Governor’s Scholarship Program. It will now be considered as part of the development of the overall state budget.  CCIC and its members strongly oppose this bill.

To see a complete list of the bills reported out of the Higher Education Committee so far, click here.  (Note: some bills were approved with substitute language that is available here.)

Planning & Development
The Planning & Development Committee reported out HB 6965, An Act Concerning the Preservation of the Municipal Tax Base, which authorizes municipalities to tax non-profit institutions of higher education and certain hospital facilities on all real and personal property acquired after July 1, 2015.   CCIC and its member institutions have serious concerns about this bill and we urge you to contact your legislators today to share your concerns as well.

To see a complete list of the bills reported out of the Planning & Development Committee so far, click here.  (Substitute language for the bills is available here.)

HB 7021, An Act Concerning Teacher Preparation Program Efficacy, requires the State Department of Education to annually submit a report on the quality of teacher preparation programs offered at institutions of higher education in the state.  The bill requires that the report include information and data relating to the extent to which graduates of the teacher preparation programs help their students learn and measures for assessing the classroom teaching performance of such graduates.

In addition, a number of Education Committee bills propose changes to teacher certification requirements, which would impact the course requirements for teacher preparation programs at our member institutions. These proposals include:
  • HB 1054, which requires each teacher preparation program to include, as of July 1, 2015, not less than twelve semester credit hours or one and one-half credits in “structured literacy interventions”, as defined in the bill.
  • HB 1098, which requires in Sec. 11 that, as of July 1, 2015 teacher preparation programs include training on cultural competency in its curriculum, as defined in the bill.
  • HB 7016, which, in Sec. 12, makes changes to the course requirements needed in the area of special education to obtain a teacher certification.
To see a complete list of the bills reported out of the Education Committee so far, click here.  (Substitute language for the bills is available here.)
Students who began at four-year private nonprofit colleges had higher degree completion rates in five of six New England states than the U.S. overall. Click to view source


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On Campus 

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Higher Education Headlines

Higher Ed Committee Says ‘Yes’ Means ‘Yes’ When it Comes to Sexual Consent 
A bill to change the sexual consent threshold at colleges and universities across the state from “no means no” to “yes means yes” is one step closer to becoming law Tuesday after it cleared the Higher Education and Employment Committee.

Malloy's budget cuts scholarships to private colleges 
Students who attend private colleges in Connecticut would no longer qualify for a state-funded scholarship program in a move students and college officials say is shortsighted.

Middlesex Community College To Close Meriden Location 
Middlesex Community College will close its Meriden Center site and a manufacturing program because of cuts required under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget proposal, the college said Wednesday.
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