Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bill appoints steering committee to create a new Council on Higher Education

A bill passed this session names a steering committee, chaired by the Governor or her appointee, to study, issue findings, and make recommendations for a new Council on Higher Education to replace the HECB on July 1, 2012.
E2SSB 5182, on its way to the Governor, contains the following language: “On July 1, 2012, the higher education coordinating board is abolished and the council for higher education is created subject to the recommendations of the higher education steering committee and implementing legislation enacted by the 2012 legislature.”
The bill also creates a new Office of Student Financial Assistance with a director appointed by the Governor. This office will be responsible for administering state and federal student financial aid programs and overseeing the state’s Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) program.
The steering committee on higher education will consist of two members each from the House and Senate representing the caucuses, equal representation from the key higher education sectors of the state, and at least two members of the public appointed by the Governor.
The steering committee is required to report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and appropriate committees of the Legislature by December 1, 2011.
During FY 2012, some of administrative and policy work now performed by the HECB is eliminated by the bill. This includes a number of reports now required by law: State Support Received by Students; the Costs of Higher Education; Gender Equity; Technology; and Degree Production.
The bill requires the HECB to complete the first four-year update to the state’s 2008 Strategic Master Plan for Higher Education and continue to produce other studies and reports required by law.

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