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Relating to measures to facilitate the transfer, academic progress, and timely graduation of students in public higher education.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 298 amends the Education Code to require each general academic teaching institution to:
1. Publish on the institution's website for use by prospective undergraduate students a detailed description developed by the institution's faculty of the learning objectives, content, and prior knowledge requirements for at least 12 courses offered by the institution for which credit is frequently transferred to the institution from lower-division institutions of higher education, defined by the bill as a public junior college, public state college, or public technical institute;
2. Identify the public junior colleges from which the general academic teaching institution regularly receives transfer students; and
3. Establish, for at least five degree plans for which credit is frequently transferred to the institution from lower-division institutions of higher education, articulation agreements with each public junior college from which the general academic teaching institution has received an average of at least five percent of the institution's transfer students in the three preceding academic years that identify courses offered by the public junior college that must be accepted for credit toward specific course requirements at the general academic teaching institution.
HB 298 requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, in consultation with general academic teaching institutions and public junior colleges and using the negotiated rulemaking procedures under the Negotiated Rulemaking Act, to adopt any rules the coordinating board considers necessary for the administration of these requirements. The bill requires each general academic teaching institution to publish the information on the institution's website and to establish articulation agreements not later than May 31, 2017. The bill establishes that a general academic teaching institution's participation in an articulation agreement does not affect the institution's admissions policies.
HB 298 requires the coordinating board, using the negotiated rulemaking procedures under the Negotiated Rulemaking Act, to adopt any rules the coordinating board considers necessary for the administration of the limitation on the number of semester credit hours that a student may be required to complete to earn a baccalaureate degree or associate degree. This requirement applies beginning with undergraduate students who initially enroll in an institution of higher education for the 2017 fall semester.
HB 298 authorizes administrators of an institution of higher education to serve as representatives of the institution on any advisory committee formed to assist the coordinating board in developing a recommended core curriculum for purposes of course credit transfers. The bill requires the coordinating board, in an effort to facilitate the transfer of major-related coursework beyond the general education core curriculum and with the assistance of such an advisory committee, to develop a course-specific core curriculum for each broad academic discipline within the general core curriculum and to identify those degree programs offered at institutions of higher education to which the course-specific core curriculum, if successfully completed by a student at another institution of higher education, is fully transferrable. The bill requires the coordinating board to develop the core curricula not later than May 31, 2017.
In our view HB 298 would assist students who are planning, or are likely to, transfer between institutions of higher learning. It aims to require colleges and universities supported by the state details on a dozen of the most basic courses and to establish a common curriculum between the courses.
We support HB 298 as it increases efficiency in higher education (limited government) and assists students in charting their academic future (personal responsibility).