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Summary: SB 215 would extend the date when the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) would be reviewed under the Sunset Act from 2013 to 2025. As a result, the legislation would make administrative changes to THECB related to data requests from institutions of higher education, requirements for Board representation, negotiating rulemaking between the Board and institutions over controversial issues, compliance monitoring of funds and data, developing long-term higher education planning requirements, creating and removing degree programs, creating a pilot program that would focus on student loan default prevention and financial aid literacy, removing unfunded programs from statute as well as consolidating research programs and articulation agreements. Furthermore, SB 215 changes the Texas B-On-Time Loan Program requirements and structure to a private non-profit corporation under the Board's governance.
Analysis: The THECB performs an important state function by providing oversight of public higher education institutions behalf of taxpayers. However we are concerned about Section 61.0512(f) which would eliminate the THECB's authority to consolidate or eliminate a degree or certificate program. This board should retain this authority so that it can effectively look out for the best interest of taxpayers and provide the oversight required to remove unnecessary programs that have low attendance.
Amendment Recommendation: We recommend that the bill be amended to strike Section 61.0512(f).