Academic Related »

HB 1250 by C. Howard/Patrick - Relating to prohibiting discrimination based on a student's secondary school in awarding certain financial aid for higher education.  Home school students are not currently eligible for scholarships from the TEXAS Grant fund or the B- On-time Loan Program.  HB 944 of the 78th Legislature required state-supported colleges and universities treat home school graduates on the same basis as public school graduates for purposes of college admission.   HB 1250 amends the eligibility requirement for certain public higher education scholarship and loan programs so that home school graduates are eligible for those scholarships and loans.

HB 1748 by Morrison/Shapiro - Relating to the administration of Texas governor's schools.  The Governor’s School Program, created by the 79th Legislature, focuses on developing college readiness for public school students through summer programs.  The original statute provided for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to have oversight over the program.  However, through a memorandum of understanding, the Coordinating Board has assumed oversight over the program.  Because of this, a statutory change giving Coordinating Board legal over the program is needed. HB 1748 transfers the various aspects of oversight of the Governor’s School Program from TEA to Coordinating Board.

HB 2198 by Flores/Janek - Relating to authorizing certain public junior colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs.  In 2003 the legislature created a pilot project to allow selected public junior colleges to offer limited baccalaureate degrees in applied science and technology, providing the opportunity to examine the effectiveness and feasibility of a permanent program.  Since that time, South Texas College, Brazosport College, and Midland College are now accredited as Level II baccalaureate degree-granting institutions.
HB 2198 removes the pilot status of these programs and makes the granting of baccalaureate degrees in applied science and technology at these schools permanent.  This bill also authorizes the Coordinating Board to authorize additional public junior colleges, if they meet all the stated prerequisites, to participate in the baccalaureate degree program.

HB 2235 by Guillen/Zaffirini - Relating to the creation of a technology center grant program for rural counties.  Requires the Office of Rural Community Affairs to establish a grant program, subject to available funds, under which the office awards grants to public institutions of higher education, public high schools, and governmental entities located in a rural county for the development and operation of multi-instructional technology centers that provide certain services.

HB 2237 by Eissler/Shapiro – Relating to grants and programs for dropout prevention, high school success, and college and workforce readiness in public schools.  HB 2237 requires the TEA, in coordination with the LBB to establish an online clearinghouse of information relating to best practices of campuses and school districts regarding dropout prevention in addition to other areas previously set forth in this subsection.  It also directs the Coordinating Board to establish academies at institutions to improve the instructional skills of teachers under the state’s Certification of Educators and train students enrolled in a teacher preparation program to perform at the highest levels in mathematics, science, and technology.  The bill authorizes THECB to adopt rules as necessary to administer this section.
HB 2237 requires the institution, before it establishes an academy under this section, to apply through a competitive process, as determined by Coordinating Board.  Requires the institution to have a teacher preparation program approved by the State Board for Educator Certification or be affiliated with a program approved by the certification board.  The bill requires the Coordinating Board to allocate $8.75 million each year to establish mathematics, science, and technology teacher preparation academies. 

HB 2608 by Hughs/Eltife - Relating to funding for applied research for a clean coal project or certain other projects for the generation of electricity from coal.  Requires the Coordinating Board to use money available for the purpose from legislative appropriations, including gifts, grants, and donations, to support applied research related relating to certain clean coal projects and certain electricity generation.

HB 2639 by Smithee/Duncan - Relating to risk management programs for members of fraternities and other student organizations at public and private postsecondary educational institutions and to certain insurance requirements for fraternities.  HB 2639 requires institutions of higher education to provide a risk management program for members of fraternities and of other student organizations recognized at the institution.  The bill makes attendance at this risk management seminar mandatory for certain individuals.  In addition, the bill requires the Texas Department of Insurance to study what insurance is currently available to fraternities that adequately cover certain risks.  The study must consider levels and types of coverage and methods of attainment, and to report the findings to certain elected officials not later than January 1, 2009.

HB 2978 by Morrison/Shapiro - Relating to engineering recruitment programs established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  HB 2978 requires the Coordinating Board to design and administer a one-week summer program to take place on campuses that offer engineering degree programs and establish and administer a degree scholarship program for students who graduate with certain credentials.

The board shall establish and administer, using funds appropriated for that purpose, scholarships for students pursuing a degree in engineering at a general academic teaching institution.  To qualify for a scholarship under this section, a student must: (1)  have graduated with a grade point average in the top 20 percent of the student's high school graduating class; (2)  have graduated from high school with a grade point average of at least 3.5 on a four-point scale or the equivalent in mathematics and science courses offered under the recommended or advanced high school program; and (3)  maintain an overall grade point average of at least 3.0 on a four-point scale at the general academic teaching institution in which the student is enrolled.

HB 3382 by Naishtat/Uresti - Relating to providing certain computerized instructional material for blind and visually impaired students at public institutions of higher education.  HB 3382 requires textbook publishers to make electronic copies of textbooks and other assigned written materials promptly available to universities, if requested, for use by visually impaired students.  The bill also prohibits publishers from charging an entity for the material and subjects publishers who fail to comply with the law to administrative penalties imposed by the Coordinating Board.

To protect against copyright violations, students will purchase textbooks and the university will provide proof of purchase for the actual textbooks from the bookstore.  Furthermore, publishers will not have to provide electronic copies of the textbook if copyrights prohibit it, the publication is out of print, or the publication is a format that cannot be converted into an electronic file.

HB 3443 by D. Howard/West - Relating to the Texas hospital-based nursing education partnership grant program.  HB 3443 establishes a new Texas Hospital-Based Nursing Education Partnership Grant Program administered by the Coordinating Board. The goal is to increase the number of nurses in Texas by fostering innovation through partnership models, leveraging existing expertise and infrastructure in both practice and academia, and expanding nursing education. Requires the Coordinating Board and the Board of Nurse Examiners to establish a single application process under which a hospital-based nursing education partnership may apply both for approval as a pilot program

HB 3826 by Morrison/Zaffirini - Relating to high school curriculum requirements for admission to public institutions of higher education.  The state's current higher education plan, Closing the Gaps, calls for the recommended high school program to be the default curriculum in Texas high schools.  This plan also calls for the recommended high school program to be a minimum requirement for admission to general academic teaching institutions in this state.  The recommended high school program became the default curriculum for students entering the ninth grade in 2004.

HB 3826 requires the recommended high school program for admissions if that program is available to a high school student.  The bill reconciles these changes in automatic admission requirements, such as the Top 10% law, and clarifies the eligibility of students for automatic admission.  This bill would create a uniform admissions code for all institutions of higher education.

HB 3851 by Morrison/Shapiro - Relating to the admission of high school and community college transfer students to institutions of higher education.  HB 3851 requires the Coordinating Board to adopt rules establishing a standard method for computing a student’s high school grade point average in a certain manner.  The bill also requires the annual report each general academic teaching institution is required to submit to Coordinating Board to include the high school grade point average in the demographic breakdown describing the composition of the institution’s entering class of students.  HB 3851 also requires each institution to adopt a written policy to promote the admission of undergraduate transfer students to the institution.

HCR 159 by Morrison/Shapleigh - Requesting that the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker appoint a select commission on higher education and global competitiveness.  HCR 159 requests that the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House of representatives create a select commission on higher education and global competitiveness to draft a Texas Compact that reflects a long-term vision and step-by-step plan to attain certain goals by 2020.  This resolution also provides that the commission is to examine certain issues related to global competitiveness in educational attainment.  This resolution provides that the commission be composed of 15 members, with a presiding officer elected by its members, to include five members appointed by the Governor, five members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, and five members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives.  The resolution provides that, in making appointments to the commission, efforts be made to include representatives from the business community and academia and other experts with interest in higher education and current and future workforce needs and to include representatives that reflect the demographic diversity of Texas.  The resolution also provides that the commission submit a full report, including findings, recommendations, a plan and timeline for implementing the recommendations, and enabling legislation, to the governor and the legislature by November 1, 2008.

SB 138 by Nelson/S. King - Relating to promoting the retention and graduation of students enrolled in professional nursing programs. SB 138 directs the Coordinating Board to consider and develop methods to improve retention and graduation of nursing students and to recognize programs with a graduation rate of at least 85 percent. The current graduation rate from initial nursing programs in Texas is 56 percent.

SB 139 by Nelson/Kolkhorst - Relating to a study on improving the curricula of professional and vocational nursing education programs.  SB 139 requires the Coordinating Board in consultation with the Board of Nurse Examiners to conduct a study regarding nursing program curricula improvement.  Legislation requires the study to focus on methods to improve instruction on providing safe and high-quality nursing care to patients.  SB 139 requires the Coordinating Board to complete the study and distribute the report to certain parties no later than December 31, 2008; the bill also requires the report to include detailed recommendations regarding certain methods of improvement.

SB 140 by Nelson/Kolkhorst - Relating to a study of the feasibility of providing immunizations to certain students enrolled in health professional degree programs.  SB 140 authorizes a study to determine the feasibility of providing immunizations at low cost or no cost to health professional degree students who are unable to afford the required vaccines.  Students enrolled in health professional degree programs are currently required to show proof of specific vaccinations before interacting with patients.  However, some of those students may not be able to cover the costs of those immunizations in addition to other costs related to their degree program

SB 141 by Nelson/Morrison - Relating to a feasibility study regarding joint health science courses at a public or private institution of higher education.  In SB 141, the Coordinating Board members of the Health Professions Council, and representatives of certain institutions of higher education may study the feasibility of health professions students taking combined health science classes.

SB 289 by Nelson/Morrison - Relating to the use of professional nursing shortage reduction program grants to encourage clinical nursing instruction by part-time faculty at public or private institutions of higher education.  SB 289 encourages nursing schools to utilize more part-time or adjunct faculty by allowing professional nursing shortage reduction grants to be used for part-time faculty.  This will help schools recruit nurses to serve as faculty who wish to remain in practice but also have a desire to teach.

SB 469 by Brimer/Patrick - Relating to the creation by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board of a certificate of recognition for persons who contribute certain gifts or donations to public institutions of higher education.  SB 469 requires the Coordinating Board to produce a certificate of recognition to any person who contributes $10,000 or an equivalent in gifts, within one year's time, to any institution of higher education for any purpose, program, or activity of the institution.  The institution of higher education is to submit a written request to Coordinating Board.  Upon receipt and if the individual qualifies, the Coordinating Board is to produce the certificate of recognition to be presented by the institution of higher education.

SB 649 by Shapleigh/Morrison - Relating to a study by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board concerning the effectiveness of joint partnerships between institutions of higher education.  Authorizes the Coordinating Board to conduct a study to determine whether institutions of higher education, including component institutions of different university systems, may effectively enter into joint partnership agreements to develop certain programs, make certain personnel appointments, and maintain certain facilities.  SB 649 requires the Coordinating Board, if it conducts a study, to report to the legislature not later than January 1, 2009.  The bill also requires the report to include recommendations for implementing effective joint partnerships between institutions; legislation is aimed at the TTHSC and UT-El Paso relationship.

SB 992 by Nelson/D. Howard - Relating to the use of money from the permanent fund for health-related programs to provide grants to nursing education  programs. The current dedication of money from the tobacco lawsuit settlement funds to nursing education will expire on August 31, 2007.  SB 992 continues the current dedication of a portion to support nursing schools.

SB 1007 by West/Giddings - Relating to student representation on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and certain coordinating board advisory committees. SB 1007 authorizes a student to serve as a non-voting representative on the Coordinating Board. The bill also authorizes students to serve on student-issue advisory committees of Coordinating Board.  The appointment by the governor follows the same procedures and requirements as the student regent appointment.

SB 1046 by Wentworth/Morrison - Relating to the provision of notice to institutions of higher education of meetings of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and to telephone conference meetings of the board.  Currently, the Coordinating Board is required to mail an agenda to the chairman of each governing board and the chief administrative officer of each institution of higher education at least 30 days before a meeting. This requirement has not been changed since the Coordinating Board's inception in 1965.

Current law authorizes governing boards for institutions as well as the Board for Lease of University Lands to meet by telephone conference call under certain circumstances. However, the Coordinating Board is not provided with similar privileges.

SB 1046 includes the Coordinating Board under the same provisions as governing boards of institutions with regard to holding telephone conference calls.  This bill also decreases the advance notice required for the board meetings from 30 days to seven days

SB 1050 by Zaffirini/Patrick - Relating to the administration of the work-study student mentorship program by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.  SB 1050 requires the Coordinating Board to develop a work-study mentorship program under which eligible college students are authorized to mentor and counsel other students.  The bill authorizes students to serve as mentors in GO Centers and in high schools, and authorizes nonprofit organizations to partner with institutions of higher education to pursue the objectives of the program.

SB 1051 by Zaffirini/Guillen - Relating to course requirements for students enrolled in joint degree programs between certain general academic teaching institutions and foreign universities. SB 1051 exempts foreign students enrolled in joint degree programs with Texas universities from the statutorily required 12 semester credit hours of Government/Political Science and Texas and American History. This legislation requires such students to take a four-hour “American Way” course as set forth in the bill.  This exemption would apply only to foreign students enrolled in joint degree programs conferred by both a Texas and a foreign university.

SB 1053 by Zaffirini/Aycock - Relating to assessing the quality and effectiveness of academic advising services offered by public institutions of higher education.  SB 1053 requires the Coordinating Board to establish a method for assessing the quality and effectiveness of academic advising services available to students at each institution of higher education.  In establishing the method of assessment, the board shall consult with representatives from institutions of higher education, including academic advisors and other professionals the board considers appropriate.  The method of assessment established under this section must: (1) include the use of student surveys; and (2) identify objective, quantifiable measures for determining the quality and effectiveness of academic advising services at an institution of higher education. Not later than September 1, 2008, the board shall establish a method of assessment. 

VETOED: SB 1138 by Duncan/Smithee - Relating to risk management programs for members of fraternities and other student organizations at public and private postsecondary educational institutions and to certain insurance requirements for fraternities.  SB 1138 requires institutions of higher education to provide a risk management program for members of fraternities and of other student organizations recognized at the institution.  The bill makes attendance at this risk management seminar mandatory for certain individuals.  In addition, the bill requires the Texas Department of Insurance to study what insurance is currently available to fraternities that adequately cover certain risks.  The study must consider levels and types of coverage and methods of attainment, and to report the findings to certain elected officials not later than January 1, 2009

SB 1231 by Zaffirini/Morrison - Relating to refunding tuition and mandatory fees at institutions of higher education for dropped courses and student withdrawals.  This legislation was suggested by the public university business services officers.  SB 1231 relates to the amount of tuition and fees that must be refunded to students who drop a course or withdraw from an institution.   Some academic institutions now offer academic terms and sessions in addition to those recognized in current law—such as ‘minimesters’.  The proposed changes address refunds for different lengths of academic terms.  Section 54.006(g), Education Code is repealed to conform to current law.  The statute authorizing minimum tuition for general academics and health related institutions was repealed in 2001.

A floor amendment was added in the House, HB 116, stating that an institution of higher education may not permit a student to drop more than six courses, including any course a transfer student has dropped at another institution of higher education, under certain circumstances.  Various exceptions and requirements, some to be promulgated by the Coordinating Board, apply.

VETOEDSB 1234 by Zaffirini/Rose - Relating to the five-year master plan for higher education in this state. SB 1234 requires that the Coordinating Board master plan to take into account students that “are sufficiently prepared to meet the challenges associated with participation in the public affairs of the state and in the global economy.”  This bill requires the master plan to define the missions and roles of public institutions of higher education in a way consistent with state needs and goals; establish more effective methods for funding higher education; establish a coherent long-term financial aid strategy that takes into account both needs and merit; strengthen collaboration between two-year and four-year institutions; and develop and institutionalize long-term collaboration between primary, secondary, and higher education.  The plan shall include a look at statewide faculty workforce numbers and needs.

Specific language includes “consideration of concerns regarding the current and projected student enrollment and enrollment capacity of The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University and of methods for ensuring that those institutions maintain competitiveness with other public and private flagship institutions of higher education.”  It requires an assessment of additional “flagship” institutions for the state.

SB 1325 by West/McCall - Relating to the eligibility of relatives of public college and university board members to receive certain scholarships; providing a criminal penalty.  SB 1325 prohibits relatives of public college and university board members from receiving certain scholarships from the institution or system whose board the member serves, with certain limited exceptions.

SB 1601 by West/F. Brown - Relating to the operation of the Joint Admission Medical Program and to admission to the program.  The Joint Admission Medical Program was created to encourage qualified, economically disadvantaged students to prepare for and attend medical school.

SB 1601 removes the 10 percent limitation on program openings for private or independent institutions of higher education, allocates one opening each year to each private or independent institution, and allows for up to 30 percent of the openings in certain situations to be allocated for such institutions.  The bill updates the eligibility requirements for admission to the program by allowing a student to have enrolled at an institution of higher education, including a community college, and removes nontraditional students from application to the program.  It modifies the deadline date for submitting applications to the program.  SB 1601 expands the discretion of the institutions in selecting a director to implement the program, and it clarifies the scope of the Joint Admission Medical Program Council's ability to accept gifts and raise money.