SB 389 Modifies several provisions regarding the state's higher education system
Sponsor: Nodler Co-Sponsor(s)
LR Number: 1654S.33T Fiscal Note: 1654-33
Committee: Education
Last Action: 5/23/2007 - Signed by Governor Journal Page: S1987
Title: SS#6 SCS SB 389 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2007
House Handler: Bearden

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Current Bill Summary


SS#6/SCS/SB 389 - This act modifies a number of provisions regarding higher education and the powers of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MoHELA).

JOINT COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION - Section 160.254 - This act modifies the responsibilities of the Committee. Currently, it is within the discretion of the Committee as to how often it meets. This act requires the Committee to meet at least twice a year. The Committee is charged with monitoring, studying, and analyzing the higher education system in the state, as well as monitoring the establishment of performance measures required by this act and reporting on such measures to the General Assembly and the Governor. In addition to current state agencies, the act authorizes the Committee to make requests of the Department of Economic Development. Within three years, the Committee shall review the impact of the newly created higher education funding act and review a new model for the funding of higher education institutions.

MISSOURI TEACHING FELLOWS PROGRAM - Sections 168.700 and 168.702 - This act creates the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program. Under the provisions of this act, certain qualified graduates of Missouri public higher education institutions who are hired to teach in school districts that are not classified as accredited may enter into an educational loan repayment agreement with the Department of Higher Education. For students without educational loans, the act authorizes the issuance of a stipend.

For each of the first four years that an applicant teaches in a qualifying district, up to one-fourth of the applicant's educational loans, not to exceed $5,000 per year, shall be repaid. For students without educational loans, a stipend of up to $5,000 may be issued. At the conclusion of the fifth academic year that an applicant teaches in a qualifying district, an amount equal to $1,000 shall be granted to the applicant. The maximum amount of $5,000 and the $1,000 stipend shall be adjusted annually based upon the Consumer Price Index.

The Department of Higher Education shall promulgate rules to enforce the provisions of this act, including, but not be limited to: applicant eligibility, selection criteria, and the content of loan repayment contracts. The department shall create and maintain a coordinator position who shall be responsible for identifying, recruiting and selecting potential students for the program.

The act establishes the "Missouri Teaching Fellows Program Fund" in the state treasury.

The provisions of these sections sunset in six years.

The provisions of these sections are similar to SB 443 (2007).

RECORDS OF DONORS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - 172.950 - This act authorizes the curators of the University of Missouri to close certain financial, legal and tax records of a donor or potential donor.

This section is identical to SB 572 (2007) and HB 941 (2007).

TRANSFER OF CREDITS - 173.005.1(7) - In order to receive increases in state appropriations, Two- and four-year institutions must work with the Commissioner of Higher Education to establish agreed-upon competencies for certain entry-level courses. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education shall establish policies to ensure that such courses are accepted in transfer among public institutions.

INSTITUTIONS DISREGARDING BOARD POLICY - SECTION 173.005.1(10) - If an institution willfully disregards a Coordinating Board policy, the commissioner may order the institution to remit a fine not to exceed one percent of the institution's current state appropriation to the board. The board shall hold the funds until such time as the violation is corrected. If the violation is not corrected within a year, the fine amount shall be deposited into the general revenue fund. The institution may appeal to the full coordinating, which shall make a binding and final decision.

OUT-OF-STATE PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS - 173.005.2(11) & 173.616 - Currently, the Coordinating Board issues certificates of approval to operate within this state to certain out-of-state public higher education institutions that meet certain minimal standards. This act exempts such institutions, as of July 1, 2008, from certificates of approval. The act requires the Coordinating Board to hold out-of-state public higher education institutions to criteria similar to those required of public in-state higher education institutions in order for such institutions to operate within this state. The Coordinating Board shall promulgate rules for the implementation of section 173.005.2 (11) no later than July 1, 2008.

ACTUAL AWARDS OF ASSISTANCE - 173.093 - Any award of assistance, excluding student loans and awards based solely on academic performance, shall be reduced to ensure that no student receiving state need-based shall receive financial assistance that exceeds the student's cost of attendance. Institutions must, upon request from the department of higher education, provide financial information to determine compliance with this section. An institution that accepts financial assistance in excess of the cost of attendance must refund the excess to the Coordinating Board.

BINDING DISPUTE RESOLUTION - 173.125 - The act requires that every public institution of higher education submit to binding dispute resolution with regard to disputes among institutions of higher education that involve jurisdictional boundaries or the use or expenditure of any state resources whatsoever, as determined by the coordinating board. In all cases, the arbitrator shall be the Commissioner of Higher Education or a designee, whose decision shall be binding on all parties. Any institution aggrieved by a decision of the commissioner may appeal the decision to the full Coordinating Board, which shall have the authority to make a binding and final decision regarding the matter.

BRIGHT FLIGHT SCHOLARSHIPS - 173.250 - This act increases the amount of the "Bright Flight" scholarships from $2,000 to $3,000 beginning with fiscal year 2011. Currently, only students with test scores in the top three percent of certain standardized tests qualify for the scholarship. Beginning with fiscal year 2011, students with test scores between the top five percent and the top three percent qualify for a scholarship of $1,000.

MoHELA AUTHORIZATION REGARDING THE DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS TO THE LEWIS AND CLARK DISCOVERY FUND - 173.355 to 173.425 - This act grants MoHELA the ability to transfer assets of the authority to the newly created Lewis and Clark Discovery Fund. The term "asset" is defined in the act. The act requires MoHELA to distribute $350 million of assets of the authority to the fund not later than September 30, 2013, in increments delineated in the act. Moneys in the fund may be appropriated by the general assembly but only for the purpose of funding for capital projects at public colleges and universities and funding for the Missouri Technology Corporation's ability to work with colleges and universities in identifying opportunities for commercializing technologies. Any college or university that knowingly employs a registered sex offender shall be ineligible for funds for capital projects.

Once MoHELA makes an initial distribution of $230 million to the fund, the department of economic development shall allocate a percentage of the state ceiling for private activity bonds to MoHELA for at least the next fifteen years. The percentage shall be at least 1.5% less than the average percentage of MoHELA's allocation for calendar years 2005 and 2006. If MoHELA fails to complete its total distribution of assets to the fund by September 30, 2013, the dollar amount of the ceiling received by MoHELA shall be reduced by the percentage of the $350 million not yet distributed by MoHELA to the fund.

MoHELA is granted the power to issue bonds in order to fulfill its obligations regarding the transfer of assets to the fund. Further, MoHELA may create or invest in financial aid programs that provide grants and scholarships to students.

Proceeds of the authority shall not be utilized for the payment of debts. Also, the act provides immunity from personal liability for members of MoHELA who act or votes on any contract authorized by this section.

FACULTY POSITIONS AT PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS - 173.475 - A public college or university shall not reject an applicant for a faculty position based solely on the lack of a graduate degree if the applicant has an undergraduate degree and has served at least eight years in the General Assembly.

HIGHER EDUCATION STUDENT FUNDING ACT - 173.1000 to 173.1006 - Beginning with the 2008-2009 academic year, each public institution must submit its percentage increase in the amount of tuition from the current year to the upcoming year charged to a full-time resident undergraduate to the Coordinating Board by July first preceding the upcoming academic year. For institutions whose tuition is greater than the average tuition, the percent change in tuition cannot exceed the percent change of the consumer price index over the past year or zero, whichever is greater. For institutions whose tuition is less than the average tuition, the dollar increase in tuition cannot exceed the product of zero or the percent change in the consumer price index, whichever is greater, times the average tuition.

If the tuition increase exceeds the limits set forth in this act, then such institution must remit to the board an amount equal to 5% of its current year state appropriation, which shall be deposited into the general revenue fund, unless the institution asks for a waiver within 30 days. If an institution exceeds these limits, then such institution must remit to the board an amount equal to 5% of its current year state appropriation, which shall be deposited into the general revenue fund, unless the institution asks for a waiver within 30 days. The commissioner shall determine if the waiver is warranted. If not, the commissioner shall recommend to the full board that the waiver not be granted, and the coordinating board shall make a final and binding decision.

The provisions of this section regarding tuition increases do not apply to a community college unless the college's tuition is greater than or equal to the average tuition.

The Coordinating Board shall ensure that each public higher education institution makes pertinent information regarding course offerings and instructors available on its Internet website.

The act requires that certain performance measures must be established by July 1, 2008. There shall be two institutional measures negotiated by each institution and three state-wide measures developed by the Department of Higher Education.

ACCESS MISSOURI FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM - 173.1101 to 173.1108 - The Coordinating Board shall be responsible for the implementation of this program, including determining the criteria for eligibility of applicants and selecting qualified recipients to receive financial assistance. Renewals for assistance are based on an annual evaluation of the applicant's expected family contribution. Changes in such contribution may increase or decrease the amount of assistance to an applicant. The act creates the "Access Missouri Financial Assistance Fund" to receive moneys that shall be used solely to provide financial assistance to students.

Assistance is only available to an applicant who is: A U.S. citizen or permanent resident; a Missouri resident; enrolled, or will enroll, as a full-time student in an approved public or private institution; and not intending to obtain a degree in theology or divinity. Applicants who commit criminal offense while in the program are ineligible for renewal, if the offense would disqualify the applicant from receiving federal student aid. In order to renew assistance, the applicant must demonstrate a grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

The maximum and minimum amounts of awards depend on the type of school: $300 to $1,000 for public two-year institutions; $1,000 to $2,150 for public four-year institutions; and $2,000 to $4,600 for private institutions. The actual award may increase or decrease depending on the expected family contribution. If appropriated funds are insufficient to fund the program, the maximum award shall be reduced across all types of institutions. If appropriated funds exceed the amount necessary to fund the program, the additional funds shall be used to increase the number of recipients. The award amounts shall be adjusted every three years based on the consumer price index.

Any other assistance received by the student shall be reported to the Coordinating Board by the institution and the student. A recipient of financial assistance may transfer between approved institutions without losing eligibility, and the Coordinating Board shall make any adjustments to the amount of assistance.

The provisions of the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program shall sunset in six years.

GALLAGHER STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AND COLLEGE GUARANTEE PROGRAM - Sections 173.200 to 173.230, 173.810 to 173.830 and 313.835 - The act repeals both of these programs and directs that certain gambling boat boarding fee revenue that currently goes to the Missouri College Guarantee Fund be instead deposited into the Access Missouri Financial Assistance Program.

LAND CONVEYANCE IN NODAWAY COUNTY - Section 1 - This act authorizes the board of regents of Northwest Missouri State University to convey property owned in Nodaway County.

Provisions of this act is similar to HCS/SS/SCS/SB 590 (2006), SB 1142 (2006), SB 662 (2006) and SB 128 (2007).

JIM ERTLE