Academic Related Legislation »

HB 3 by Eissler / Shapiro - Relating to public school accountability, curriculum, and promotion requirements. HB 3 makes numerous changes to the state's public education accountability system and

Revises current grade promotion standards and procedures. The bill amends curriculum

requirements for high school graduation in the recommended and advanced high school programs.

New curriculum requirements for the recommended program will be effective for students entering

the ninth grade in the 2011-12 school year. The bill establishes requirements for college readiness including assessments to measure college readiness.

HB 51 by Branch / Zaffirni - Relating to measures to enhance and maintain the quality of state universities, including funding and incentives to support emerging public research universities, to the abolition of the higher education fund, to the institutional groupings under the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's accountability system, to the independent status of Lamar Institute of Technology, to research conducted by public universities and other state entities, and to the authorization of revenue bonds for certain institutions of higher education. HB 51 effectively became the "higher education omnibus bill" for the 81st legislative session. HB 51 consists of 21 separate sections related to various subjects in higher education. The major provisions of HB 51 include:

  • Provision requiring each institution of higher education designated as a research university or emerging research university to submit to the Higher Education Coordinating Board, a detailed, long-term strategic plan documenting the strategy by which the institution intends to achieve recognition as a research university, or enhance the university's reputation as a research university.
  • Authority to the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System to issue additional tuition revenue bonds for Texas A&M University at Galveston in an amount not to exceed $5,000,000 to acquire, purchase, construct, improve, renovate, enlarge, or equip property, buildings, structures, facilities, roads or related infrastructure, for an erosion control breakwater, a dock, or other related purpose reasonably necessary to assist the institution to recover from any damage or other impact caused by Hurricane Ike; authority to the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System to issue additional tuition revenue bonds for the recovery and reconstruction of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) in an amount not to exceed $150,000,000.
  • Establishment of an Excellence Awards program for institutions other than research universities or emerging research universities to encourage the development of designated degree programs to the highest national standards. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) would be authorized to release Excellence Award funding only when certain benchmarks are met. An institution shall designate one degree program for these purposes and the THECB will assist the institution in achieving the highest national rank or recognition for the applicable degree program and from money available for the purpose, to award incentive grants to general academic teaching institutions. An institution must use a grant under this subsection for faculty recruitment or other faculty support with respect to the designated degree program for which the grant is awarded, including establishment of endowed faculty positions or enhancement of faculty compensation as considered appropriate by the institution.
  • Provision which provides two separate reallocations of the Higher Education Fund

(HEF) for fiscal years 2009 through 2014, and will not change the total amounts appropriated to the HEF in any of the fiscal years this bill would affect. The bill specifies the University of North Texas at Dallas is entitled to participate in the HEF reallocation as soon as the UNT component operates as a general academic teaching institution. Starting in fiscal year 2011, this bill also provides separate HEF allocations to the Lamar Institute of Technology.

  • Creation of the Research University Development Fund (RUDF). The Higher Education Coordinating Board will distribute the fund to eligible research and emerging research universities based on the average amount of total research funds expended by each institution annually during the three most recent fiscal years according to rates specified in the bill. Currently, this fund is known as the Texas Competitive Knowledge Fund (CKF) which was established during the 80th legislative session in the General Appropriations Act and is in the current appropriations bill adopted by the 81st Legislature. SB 1 added $33 million to the CKF for the 2010-11 biennium.
  • Provision establishing Performance Incentive Funding (PIF) which provides a mechanism for performance incentive funding for general academic teaching institutions. The funding will be allocated on a 50/50 split under guidelines established in the bill.
  • Provision establishing the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP). The Higher Education Coordinating Board will develop and administer the Texas Research Incentive Program to provide matching funds to assist eligible institutions in leveraging private gifts or endowments for the enhancement of research productivity and faculty recruitment. SB 1, the General Appropriations Act , provides $50 million for this fund in the 2010-11 biennium.
  • Establishment of the National Research University Fund. Contingent upon voter approval of a Texas Constitutional amendment the bill will create a new source of funding to enhance research capacity at certain public general academic institutions using the investment earnings of an existing but rededicated fund corpus (i.e., the Permanent Higher Education Fund, which would become the corpus for the new National Research University Fund, or (NRUF). Annual NRUF allocations to eligible institutions would be based solely on the earnings of the NRUF corpus over time.
  • Creation of a select committee to study the feasibility of collecting data and maintaining a searchable electronic database to track specialized technology research projects conducted by public universities, public university research facilities, and other state institutions. The committee would include representatives from the institutions specified in the bill and from the Higher Education Coordinating Board.
  • Requirement of a study to be conducted by the HECB in consultation with institutions of higher education regarding the appropriate definitions and categories of research expenditures to be included and applied in determining an institution's eligibility for and distributions from the Research University Development Fund. Please see the section relating to bills specific to Texas A&M for additional information concerning the importance of this study to A&M.

HB 58 by Branch / Averitt - Relating to the eligibility of private of independent institutions of higher education to participate in the advanced research program administered by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. HB 58 allows private universities in Texas to compete for grants in the Coordinating Board's Advanced Research Program (ARP) grants program.

HB 269 by Lucio III / Van de Putte - Relating to course credit for certain students at a public institutions of higher education. HB 269 requires institutions to award credit to a veteran for any required kinesiology course(s) that may be required for the degree the veteran is pursuing, and to award elective kinesiology credits as well, not to exceed 12 semester credit hours.

HB 746 by Brown, Fred / Patrick, Dan - Relating to expanding the availability of classrooms and other facilities for use by public junior colleges. HB 746 allows a public institution of higher education to make its classrooms available to a public junior college to teach core curriculum courses during weekdays from 5:00-10:00 p.m., or on Saturday, if such space is not scheduled for use by the institution, student organizations, or faculty. The host institution may charge a rate in an amount to reimburse for utility costs and other costs, such as maintenance and custodial services, based on the infrastructure formula funding that the host institution would receive if teaching a course in that space itself for that time.

HB 1096 by Vo / Van de Putte - Relating to the provision of notice regarding the availability of higher education textbooks through multiple retailers. HB 1096 requires all institutions of higher education to send written notices out to students in a prescribed timeline that lays out the options on paper of where students can purchase textbooks for their courses.

HB 1358 by Keffer / Nelson - Relating to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. HB 1358 abolishes the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas Scientific Research and

Preventions Programs Committee and allows the executive director to establish ad hoc committees. The bill creates the university advisory committee and establishes its membership. In addition, the bill requires that an ad hoc committee be established to address childhood cancers. The bill establishes criteria for membership in the committees, including the university advisory committee. The Cancer Prevention and Research Oversight Committee also would be authorized to create advisory committees to advise the Oversight Committee on matters relating to cancer. The bill establishes a definition for indirect costs for grant awards relating to cancer research, and expands the use of research grant awards to allow for the purchase, remodel and renovation of facilities, and requires that such projects benefit cancer prevention and research.

HB 1935 by Villarreal / Duncan - Relating to the establishment of certain programs to support adult and postsecondary education and workforce development in high-demand occupations and green jobs. HB 1935 creates the Jobs and Education for Texans Fund and provides that the Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA) establish and administer the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant program to provide grants to public junior colleges and public technical institutes. The bill authorizes the Comptroller to award grants for innovative and successful programs, grants for career and technical education programs, and scholarships for public junior college or public technical institute students. The Legislature appropriated $25 million for the Fund.

HB 2425 by Morrison / Averitt - Relating to engineering recruitment programs established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. HB 2425 allows private and independent institutions of higher education to participate in the engineering recruitment program administered by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The program provides funding for one-week summer programs designed to expose middle and high school students to math, science, and engineering concepts and engineering scholarships.

HB 2504 by Kolkhorst / Shapiro - Relating to requiring a public institution of higher education to establish uniform standards for publishing cost of attendance information, to conduct student course evaluations of faculty, and to make certain information available. HB 2504 requires each institution of higher education other than medical and dental schools to make available to the public on its website a course syllabus, a curriculum vitae of each regular instructor, and a departmental budget report for each undergraduate classroom course offered. The information must be accessible from the institution's website by use of not more than three links, searchable by keywords and phrases, and accessible to the public without requiring registration or use of user identification. The information must be available not later than the seventh day after the first day of classes, and must remain available on the institution's website for at least two years. The governing board of each institution will be required to designate an administrator to be responsible for ensuring implementation of these provisions and the institutions will be required to submit a compliance report not later than January 1 of each odd-numbered year. Also, the institutions are required to conduct end of course student evaluations of faculty and develop a plan to make the evaluations available on their websites. In addition, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is required to provide uniform standards to ensure that information regarding the cost of attendance at institutions of higher education is available to the public in a manner that is consumer-friendly and readily understandable to prospective students and their families. In addition, each institution will be required to establish and maintain an online list of work-study employment opportunities, sorted by department as appropriate, available to students on the institution's campus and ensure that the list is easily accessible to the public through a clearly identifiable link that appears in a prominent place on the financial aid page of the institution's Internet website.

HB 3519 by Branch / Hinojosa - Relating to the coordination and administration of the Texas Career Opportunity Grant Program. HB 3519 requires the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to enter into a memorandum of understanding for the coordination and administration of the grant program. The program provides access to higher education and job training for students earning degrees, certificates, or diplomas in high-demand areas such as information technology and health care. The Legislature appropriated $1,350,000 for this program.

HB 3951 by Turner, Chris / Davis, Wendy - Relating to requiring a public institution of higher education to designate or employ a person trained in student financial assistance programs for military veterans and their families. HB 3951 requires public institutions of higher education to designate a person trained in student financial assistance programs for military veterans and their families. This person must be available to perform the duties during regular business hours at the Financial Aid or other office to which the person is assigned. These staff members shall have an understanding of state and federal student financial assistance programs, especially programs applicable to military veterans and family members.

HB 4149 by Rose / Zaffirini - Relating to certain studies and reports by the Texas Higher Education coordinating Board regarding achievable cost-saving measures and the use and availability of electronic textbooks at institutions of higher education. HB 4149 requires the Higher Education Coordinating Board to conduct a study to identify achievable cost-savings measures in the management and operation of institutions of higher education. The bill also requires the Higher Education Coordinating board to conduct a study, and recommend polices, regarding the use and availability of electronic textbooks in Texas, and in other states. The study specifically includes a focus on the results of a pilot program conducted by the University of Texas at Austin and address methods to encourage the use of electronic textbooks.

HB 4189 by Rose / Watson - Relating to the conduct of compliance programs by institutions of higher education and to the vaccination of students of institutions of higher education against bacterial meningitis. HB 4189 allows institutions of higher education that maintain a compliance

program to establish procedures to provide private access to a compliance office, maintain anonymity

of individuals who make a compliance report or participate in a compliance investigation, and preserve

confidentiality of communications. Under provisions of the bill, before registering a student must provide a certificate evidencing that the student has been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. The bill applies to first-time students, including transfer students, who reside in an on-campus dormitory or housing facility at the institution. A student is not required to comply if an affidavit or a certificate is presented stating that the vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student or stating that the vaccination has been declined for reasons of conscience.

HB 4244 by Hochberg / Zaffirini - Relating to certain competitive scholarship recipients at public institutions of higher education. HB 4244 allows an institution to charge resident tuition and fees to a student who holds a certain scholarship and who is not a resident of Texas regardless of the length of time the student has resided in Texas. Under current law, such students are entitled to pay the fees and charges required of Texas residents. Until August 1, 2014, a student who was granted the waiver under current law and paid resident tuition in the 2009-2010 academic year would be entitled to continue to pay resident tuition as long as the student remains enrolled in the same certificate or degree program.

SB 44 by Zaffirini / Branch - Relating to the participation of students in funding awarded under the advanced research program. SB 44 allows students to participate in the advanced research program. Currently only faculty members can participate in the program. Under provisions of the bill, an eligible institution must use a portion of the award to support basic research conducted by students in connection with the project for which the award is made.

SB 98 by Lucio / Lucio III - Relating to establishing a health science center and medical school in South Texas. SB 98 allows the University of Texas System Board of Regents to establish The University of Texas Health Science Center- South Texas (institution) within The University of Texas System and provide the authority to establish a medical school and other health-related degree programs. The new institution will be eligible to participate in the Available University Fund and the Permanent Health Fund for Higher Education. Facilities built with tuition revenue bonds for the Regional Academic Health Center (RAHC) will be transferred to the new institution. Facilities and financial obligations of the existing Regional Academic Health Center, which is currently affiliated with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, could be converted to the new institution. No funds for a state fiscal biennium ending on or before August 31, 2015, may be appropriated for the purposes of establishing the institution. Based on this provision, it is estimated that any significant costs to establish the institution would not occur until fiscal year 2016. Costs are estimated to be approximately $14 million in fiscal year 2016 growing to approximately $50 million in fiscal year 2020.

SB 174 by Shapiro / Branch - Relating to accountability of institutions of higher education, including educator preparation programs, and online institution resumes for public institutions of higher education. SB 174 requires all institutions of higher education to provide an online institution resume, ensure the institution resume be posted on each institution's website, and submit it to the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The bill also authorizes the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) to adopt fees to cover costs associated with approving or renewing approval of an educator preparation program and adding certificates or field certificates to the scope of an educator preparation program's approval. The bill amends the Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs (ASEP) to

require that student achievement based on the statutorily established measure of annual improvement

of graduates from a program in their first three years.

SB 175 by Shapiro / Branch - Relating to the automatic admission of undergraduate students to certain general academic teaching institutions and to scholarship and other programs to facilitate enrollment at institutions of higher education. SB 175 amends Texas Education Code Section 51.803(a-1), relating to the current automatic admission of high school students graduating in the top ten percent of their class. The main purpose of SB 175 is specific authorization for the University of Texas at Austin to limit automatic admissions to 75 percent of its first-time resident undergraduate student enrollment capacity in an academic year, beginning with admissions in 2010. Included in the main provision for UT are several stipulations including the requirement to provide information to school districts of anticipated percentile rankings that will qualify for admission and requiring school counselors to provide certain notices. Also, the bill limits the number of admission offers UT could make to first-time undergraduate students who are not residents of this state. The University of Texas at Austin will not be allowed to consider legacy status as an admission factor. Any institution offering admission under this subsection (UT) may not do so if a court order or governing board rule provided that race could not be considered as an admission factor, unless the governing board had established the policy prior to June 2009. An institution offering admission under this subsection (UT) will have to require students admitted under this subsection to take a certain number of credit hours during evening or low-demand hours. This specific subsection related to UT ends the authorization in the academic year 2015-2016.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board must publish an annual report as well as the University of Texas at Austin would be required to submit a written report.

SB 175 also amends Texas Education Code Section 51.8035 to allow automatic admission for transfer undergraduate students for students who would have qualified for automatic admission at the time of their high school graduation and meet other listed criteria. This section is applicable to all institutions.

SB 175 creates a scholarship program for students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their

class. A student must satisfy the following requirements to be initially eligible:

(1) have graduated from a public or accredited private high school in this state while ranked in the top 10 percent of the student's graduating class, subject to other provisions of the legislation;

(2) have completed the recommended or advanced high school curriculum or its equivalent;

(3) have applied for admission as a first-time freshman student for the 2010-11 academic year or a subsequent academic year to an institution of higher education that has elected to offer admissions for that academic year under Section 51.803(a-1), which is specifically the section applying only to the University of Texas;

(4) enroll as a first-time freshman student in an institution of higher education not earlier than the 2010-2011 academic year and not later than the 16th month after the date of the student's high school graduation;

(5) have been awarded a TEXAS grant;

(6) be a Texas resident; and

(7) comply with any other eligibility requirements established by coordinating board rule.

The student would have to satisfy criteria, including satisfactory academic progress, to continue.

SB 194 by Shapleigh / Howard, Donna - Relating to a prohibition against certain activities by a person in the financial aid office of a public institution of higher education or of a career school or college. SB 194 prohibits financial aid employees at institutions of higher education or of a career school or college from engaging in certain activities that may create possible conflicts of interests.

SB 291 by Nelson / McReynolds - Relating to hepatitis B vaccination for students enrolled in certain health-related courses of study at an institution of higher education. SB 291 allows for a hepatitis B vaccination to students enrolled in a course of study that involves potential exposure to human or animal blood or body fluids.

SB 305 by Shapleigh / Castro - Relating to an online list of work-study employment opportunities available to students at a public institution of higher education. SB 305 requires each institution of higher education to establish and maintain an online list of work-study employment opportunities, sorted by department as appropriate, available to students on the institution's campus; and ensure that the list is easily accessible to the public through a clearly identifiable link that appears in a prominent place on the financial aid page of the institution's Internet website.

SB 1304 by Patrick, Dan / Branch - Relating to notice to students of a public institution of higher education of the required use of a portion of a student's tuition payments to provide student financial aid. SB 1304 requires institutions of higher education that set aside a portion of designated tuition to

provide financial assistance for students enrolled in the institution, to provide to each student who

pays tuition, a notice of the amount of the tuition paid by the student that is required to be set aside. The Higher Education Coordinating Board would prescribe minimum standards for the manner, form, and content of the notice.

SB 1729 by West / Alonzo - Relating to the terms of student members of certain Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board advisory committees. SB 1729 modifies the terms of service of student members on certain Higher Education Coordinating Board advisory committees.

SB 1735 by West / Branch - Relating to providing police and security services for certain post-secondary educational institutions. SB 1735 amends various subsections of Section 51.214 of the Education Code, as it relates to the employment and commissioning of law enforcement personnel to provide security services to certain educational institutions in municipalities with a population of 1.18 million or more. The bill also amends Section 51.2125 of the Education Code, relating to the eligibility of private institutions of higher education to enter into a written mutual assistance agreement with peace officers.

SB 1764 by Watson / Cohen - Relating to the dissemination of information regarding the cost of attending public and private institutions of higher education and regarding the availability of financial aid to assist in paying that cost. SB 1764 requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to prescribe uniform standards to ensure that information regarding the cost of attendance at institutions of higher education is available to the public in a manner that is consumer friendly and readily understandable to prospective students and their families. The bill requires the standards to address all the elements that constitute the total cost of attendance and requires the information to be displayed on an institution's website, along with information on financial assistance and a link to the primary federal student aid website.

SB 2258 by Zaffirini / Hochberg - Relating to intensive summer programs for public school students and to college readiness programs at public institutions of higher education. SB 2258 requires the coordinating board by rule to develop higher education bridge programs in the subject area of social science, in addition to mathematics, science, or English language arts, and clarifies that such development is to increase student success by reducing the need for developmental education. The bill requires the coordinating board by rule to develop a pilot program to award grants to institutions of higher education for intensive programs designed to address the needs of students at risk of dropping out of college and to allocate money for such grants.

SB 2262 by Zaffirini / Branch - Relating to the administration of mathematics, science, and technology teacher preparation academies at institutions of higher education. SB 2262 bill transfers the statutory code provisions relating to the mathematics, science, and technology teacher preparation academies from Section 21.462 (Public Education) of the Education Code to Chapter 61(Higher Education Coordinating Board) of the Education Code. The Higher Education Coordinating Board currently administers the mathematics, science, and technology teacher preparation academies.