Florida Senate - 2017                                     SB 186
       By Senator Rodriguez
       37-00239A-17                                           2017186__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to postsecondary educational
    3         institutions; amending s. 1005.04, F.S.; requiring
    4         certain institutions to provide each student a
    5         specified disclosure statement; requiring the
    6         Commission for Independent Education to develop the
    7         disclosure statement; creating s. 1005.11, F.S.;
    8         requiring the commission to annually prepare an
    9         accountability report by a specified date; requiring
   10         licensed institutions to annually provide certain data
   11         to the commission by a specified date; requiring the
   12         commission to establish a common set of data
   13         definitions; authorizing administrative fines for an
   14         institution that fails to timely submit the data;
   15         requiring the commission to establish certain
   16         benchmarks by rule; amending s. 1005.21, F.S.;
   17         revising the commission membership; limiting the terms
   18         of commission members; amending s. 1005.22, F.S.;
   19         requiring the commission to approve an annual budget;
   20         providing for the review of certain complaints
   21         concerning institutions or programs which are not
   22         closed within a specified time; authorizing the
   23         commission, under certain circumstances, to prohibit
   24         the enrollment of new students, or limit the number of
   25         students in a program at a licensed institution;
   26         amending s. 1005.31, F.S.; revising the commission’s
   27         evaluation standards for licensure of an institution;
   28         requiring certain institutions to post a surety bond
   29         or similar financial security for specified purposes;
   30         requiring the commission to adopt rules; requiring the
   31         commission to examine an application for licensure and
   32         take certain actions within a specified period;
   33         amending s. 1005.32, F.S.; revising the minimum
   34         criteria for an independent postsecondary educational
   35         institution to apply for a license by accreditation;
   36         deleting a provision authorizing certain institutions
   37         to apply for licensure by means of accreditation;
   38         requiring certain institutions to file a retention and
   39         completion management plan; amending s. 1005.36, F.S.;
   40         revising the criminal penalty for the unlawful closure
   41         of certain institutions; requiring the commission to
   42         create a Closed Institution Panel by a specified date;
   43         providing membership and duties of the panel; amending
   44         s. 1005.37, F.S.; requiring the commission to annually
   45         determine fees to support the Student Protection Fund;
   46         providing that fees may not be collected under certain
   47         circumstances; amending s. 1005.39, F.S.; requiring
   48         the commission to determine whether certain personnel
   49         of licensed institutions are qualified and to require
   50         certain personnel to complete continuing education and
   51         training; requiring the commission to annually verify
   52         that certain personnel have completed certain training
   53         by a specified date; authorizing the provision of
   54         continuing education by licensed institutions under
   55         certain circumstances; requiring that certain evidence
   56         be included in initial or renewal application forms
   57         provided by the commission; amending ss. 1011.81 and
   58         1011.905, F.S.; requiring that Florida College System
   59         institution performance funding for industry
   60         certifications and State University System institution
   61         performance funding take into consideration an
   62         institution’s federal student loan cohort default
   63         rate; providing an effective date.
   65  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   67         Section 1. Section 1005.04, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   68  read:
   69         1005.04 Fair consumer practices; federal student loan
   70  default rates.—
   71         (1) Every institution that is under the jurisdiction of the
   72  commission or is exempt from the jurisdiction or purview of the
   73  commission pursuant to s. 1005.06(1)(c) or (f) and that either
   74  directly or indirectly solicits for enrollment any student shall
   75  do all of the following:
   76         (a) Provide each student with an accurate, stand-alone
   77  disclosure statement, in a format prescribed by the commission,
   78  as a condition of any financial obligation of the student to the
   79  institution. The institution must provide the disclosure
   80  statement individually to each student at least 1 week before
   81  enrollment or collection of tuition from the student. The
   82  disclosure statement must include, at a minimum:
   83         1.The purpose of the institution, its educational programs
   84  and curricula, and a description of its physical facilities;
   85         2.The institution’s licensure status with the commission
   86  and its status as an accredited institution or program, as
   87  applicable, by an accrediting agency recognized by the United
   88  States Department of Education, and any effect that
   89  accreditation or lack of accreditation will have on the
   90  student’s ability to sit for a professional examination or
   91  qualify for financial aid;
   92         3.The institution’s fee schedule; all fees required to be
   93  paid by the student, including tuition, laboratory fees,
   94  graduation fees, and any other nonrefundable fees; and the
   95  institution’s policies regarding the retention of student fees
   96  if a student withdraws from the institution;
   97         4.The transferability of credits to other institutions and
   98  from other institutions; and
   99         5.Requirements or limitations, such as physical or
  100  language capabilities or lack of a criminal record, which will
  101  limit career options related to the student’s course of study.
  102  Disclose to each prospective student a statement of the purpose
  103  of such institution, its educational programs and curricula, a
  104  description of its physical facilities, its status regarding
  105  licensure, its fee schedule and policies regarding retaining
  106  student fees if a student withdraws, and a statement regarding
  107  the transferability of credits to and from other institutions.
  108  The institution shall make the required disclosures in writing
  109  at least 1 week prior to enrollment or collection of any tuition
  110  from the prospective student. The required disclosures may be
  111  made in the institution’s current catalog;
  112         (b) Use a reliable method to assess, before accepting a
  113  student into a program, the student’s ability to complete
  114  successfully the course of study for which he or she has
  115  applied.;
  116         (c) Inform each student accurately about financial
  117  assistance and obligations for repayment of loans; describe any
  118  employment placement services provided and the limitations
  119  thereof; and refrain from promising or implying guaranteed
  120  placement, market availability, or salary amounts.;
  121         (d) Provide to prospective and enrolled students accurate
  122  information regarding the relationship of its programs to state
  123  licensure requirements for practicing related occupations and
  124  professions in Florida.;
  125         (e) Ensure that all advertisements are accurate and not
  126  misleading.;
  127         (f) Publish and follow an equitable prorated refund policy
  128  for all students, and follow both the federal refund guidelines
  129  for students receiving federal financial assistance and the
  130  minimum refund guidelines set by commission rule.;
  131         (g) Follow the requirements of state and federal laws that
  132  require annual reporting with respect to crime statistics and
  133  physical plant safety and make those reports available to the
  134  public.; and
  135         (h) Publish and follow procedures for handling student
  136  complaints, disciplinary actions, and appeals.
  137         (2) In addition, Institutions that are required to be
  138  licensed by the Commission for Independent Education shall
  139  disclose to prospective students that additional information
  140  regarding the institution may be obtained by contacting the
  141  commission for Independent Education, Department of Education,
  142  Tallahassee.
  143         Section 2. Section 1005.11, Florida Statutes, is created to
  144  read:
  145         1005.11Accountability for institutions licensed by the
  146  Commission for Independent Education.—
  147         (1)By March 15 of each year, the Commission for
  148  Independent Education shall prepare an accountability report for
  149  licensed institutions. The report must contain, at a minimum,
  150  the graduation rates, including the number of graduates by
  151  program; retention rates; and placement rates for all licensed
  152  institutions.
  153         (2)By November 30 of each year, each licensed institution
  154  shall provide data to the commission in a format prescribed by
  155  the commission. Placement rates must be determined using Florida
  156  Education and Training Placement Information Program
  157  methodology. The commission shall establish a common set of data
  158  definitions that are consistent with those used by the United
  159  States Department of Education for institutional reporting
  160  purposes.
  161         (3)The commission shall impose an administrative fine of
  162  not more than $1,000 when a licensed institution fails to timely
  163  submit the required data to the commission pursuant to this
  164  section. Administrative fines collected under this subsection
  165  must be deposited into the Student Protection Fund.
  166         (4)The commission shall establish by rule performance
  167  benchmarks to identify high-performing institutions licensed by
  168  the commission. Licensed institutions with graduation rates,
  169  retention rates, and placement rates equal to or higher than the
  170  average rates of all Florida universities, colleges, or career
  171  centers, as appropriate, may receive and use the designation of
  172  “high performing.”
  173         Section 3. Paragraphs (c) and (d) of subsection (2) and
  174  subsection (3) of section 1005.21, Florida Statutes, are amended
  175  to read:
  176         1005.21 Commission for Independent Education.—
  177         (2) The Commission for Independent Education shall consist
  178  of seven members who are residents of this state. The commission
  179  shall function in matters concerning independent postsecondary
  180  educational institutions in consumer protection, program
  181  improvement, and licensure for institutions under its purview.
  182  The Governor shall appoint the members of the commission who are
  183  subject to confirmation by the Senate. The membership of the
  184  commission shall consist of:
  185         (c) One member who employs graduates of institutions
  186  licensed by the commission. The member may not have any other
  187  relationship with an institution subject to licensure by the
  188  commission except for his or her status as an employer of
  189  graduates of the institution from a public school district or
  190  Florida College System institution who is an administrator of
  191  career education.
  192         (d) One member who is a graduate of an institution subject
  193  to licensure by the commission. The member may not have any
  194  other relationship with an institution subject to licensure by
  195  the commission except for his or her status as an alumnus
  196  representative of a college that meets the criteria of s.
  197  1005.06(1)(f).
  198         (3) The members of the commission shall be appointed to 3
  199  year terms. Members may serve no more than three consecutive
  200  terms or and until their successors are appointed and qualified,
  201  whichever occurs first. If a vacancy on the commission occurs
  202  before the expiration of a term, the Governor shall appoint a
  203  successor to serve the unexpired portion of the term.
  204         Section 4. Paragraphs (e) and (k) of subsection (1) of
  205  section 1005.22, Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph
  206  (j) is added to subsection (2), to read:
  207         1005.22 Powers and duties of commission.—
  208         (1) The commission shall:
  209         (e) Administer the provisions of this chapter. To this end,
  210  the commission has the following administrative powers and
  211  responsibilities:
  212         1. The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to ss.
  213  120.536(1) and 120.54 for the operation and establishment of
  214  independent postsecondary educational institutions. The
  215  commission shall submit the rules to the State Board of
  216  Education for approval or disapproval. If the state board does
  217  not act on a rule within 60 days after receiving it, the rule
  218  shall be filed immediately with the Department of State.
  219         2. The commission shall approve and submit an annual budget
  220  to the State Board of Education.
  221         3. The commission shall transmit all fees, donations, and
  222  other receipts of money to the Institutional Assessment Trust
  223  Fund.
  224         4. The commission shall expend funds as necessary to assist
  225  in the application and enforcement of its powers and duties. The
  226  Chief Financial Officer shall pay out all moneys and funds as
  227  directed under this chapter upon vouchers approved by the
  228  Department of Education for all lawful purposes necessary to
  229  administering this chapter. The commission shall make annual
  230  reports to the State Board of Education showing in detail
  231  amounts received and all expenditures. The commission shall
  232  include in its annual report to the State Board of Education a
  233  statement of its major activities during the period covered by
  234  the report.
  235         (k) Establish and publicize the procedures for receiving
  236  and responding to complaints from students, faculty, and others
  237  concerning institutions or programs under the purview of the
  238  commission, and keep records of such complaints in order to
  239  determine the frequency and nature of complaints with respect to
  240  specific institutions of higher education. Complaints not closed
  241  within 90 days must be reviewed by a committee appointed by the
  242  commission.
  243         (2) The commission may:
  244         (j)Prohibit a licensed institution from enrolling new
  245  students, or limit the number of students in a program at a
  246  licensed institution, based on the institution’s performance.
  247         Section 5. Present subsections (5) through (15) of section
  248  1005.31, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (6)
  249  through (16), respectively, subsection (2) and present
  250  subsection (6) are amended, and a new subsection (5) is added to
  251  that section, to read:
  252         1005.31 Licensure of institutions.—
  253         (2) The commission shall develop minimum standards to use
  254  by which to evaluate institutions for licensure. These standards
  255  must include, at a minimum, at least the institution’s name;,
  256  financial stability;, purpose;, administrative organization;,
  257  admissions and recruitment;, educational programs and
  258  curricula;, retention and, completion, including a retention and
  259  completion management plan; career placement; federal student
  260  loan cohort default rate as calculated by the United States
  261  Department of Education;, faculty;, learning resources;, student
  262  personnel services;, physical plant and facilities;,
  263  publications;, and disclosure statements about the status of the
  264  institution with respect to professional certification and
  265  licensure. The commission may adopt rules to ensure that
  266  institutions licensed under this section meet these standards in
  267  ways that are appropriate to achieve the stated intent of this
  268  chapter, including provisions for nontraditional or distance
  269  education programs and delivery. The commission shall deny a
  270  renewal of an annual license for an institution whose federal
  271  student loan cohort default rate exceeds 30 percent.
  272         (5)The commission may require institutions that do not
  273  provide sufficient evidence of financial stability at the time
  274  of application for a provisional license or that are dependent
  275  upon financial resources located outside of the United States to
  276  post and maintain a surety bond to assist each enrolled student
  277  in completing his or her program of enrollment in the event that
  278  the institution closes before receiving its first annual
  279  licensure renewal. In lieu of a surety bond, the commission may
  280  require an institution to establish and maintain a cash deposit
  281  escrow account or an irrevocable letter of credit payable to the
  282  commission in an amount not to exceed 50 percent of the
  283  institution’s first year projected revenue. The commission shall
  284  adopt rules to implement this subsection.
  285         (7)(6) The commission shall ensure through an investigative
  286  process that applicants for licensure meet the standards as
  287  defined in rule. Within 30 days after receipt of an application,
  288  the commission shall examine the application, notify the
  289  applicant of any apparent errors or omissions, and request any
  290  additional necessary information from the applicant. When the
  291  investigative process is not completed within the time set out
  292  in s. 120.60(1) and the commission has reason to believe that
  293  the applicant does not meet licensure standards, the commission
  294  or the executive director of the commission may issue a 90-day
  295  licensure delay, which shall be in writing and sufficient to
  296  notify the applicant of the reason for the delay. The provisions
  297  of this subsection shall control over any conflicting provisions
  298  of s. 120.60(1).
  299         Section 6. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) and subsection
  300  (3) of section 1005.32, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  301         1005.32 Licensure by means of accreditation.—
  302         (1) An independent postsecondary educational institution
  303  that meets the following criteria may apply for a license by
  304  means of accreditation from the commission:
  305         (e) The institution’s federal student loan cohort default
  306  rate, as calculated by the United States Department of
  307  Education, does not exceed 30 percent The institution is a
  308  Florida corporation.
  309         (3) The commission may not require an institution granted a
  310  license by means of accreditation to submit reports that differ
  311  from the reports required by its accrediting association, except
  312  that each institution must file with the commission an annual
  313  audit report and a retention and completion management plan
  314  pursuant to s. 1005.31. The institution shall also follow the
  315  commission’s requirements for orderly closing, including
  316  provisions for trainout or refunds and arranging for the proper
  317  disposition of student and institutional records.
  318         Section 7. Present subsections (3) and (4) of section
  319  1005.36, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (4)
  320  and (5), respectively, subsection (2) is amended, and a new
  321  subsection (3) is added to that section, to read:
  322         1005.36 Institutional closings.—
  323         (2) At least 30 days before prior to closing an
  324  institution, its owners, directors, or administrators shall
  325  notify the commission in writing of the closure of the
  326  institution. The owners, directors, and administrators must
  327  organize an orderly closure of the institution, which means at
  328  least providing for the completion of training of its students.
  329  The commission must approve any such plan. An owner, director,
  330  or administrator who fails to notify the commission at least 30
  331  days before prior to the institution’s closure, or who fails to
  332  organize the orderly closure of the institution and the trainout
  333  of the students, commits a misdemeanor of the first second
  334  degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  335         (3)By October 1, 2017, the commission shall establish a
  336  Closed Institution Panel. The panel shall consist of at least
  337  one commission member, one commission staff member, one
  338  accrediting body staff member, and one administrator with
  339  experience in managing licensed institutions. The commission
  340  shall notify the panel upon the closing of a licensed
  341  institution. For any closure that does not comply with the
  342  requirements of subsection (2), or at the discretion of the
  343  commission chair, the panel shall convene to implement measures
  344  to minimize the academic, logistical, and financial impact on
  345  students of the institution. The panel is authorized to secure
  346  student records and, to the extent possible, maintain the
  347  educational programs at the institution for at least 30 days
  348  after it receives notification that the institution is closing
  349  to assist each student with completion of his or her educational
  350  program. The panel’s activities shall be conducted at the
  351  expense of the institution that is closing.
  352         Section 8. Section 1005.37, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  353  read:
  354         1005.37 Student Protection Fund.—
  355         (1) The commission shall establish and administer a
  356  statewide, fee-supported financial program through which funds
  357  will be available to complete the training of a student who
  358  enrolls in a licensed institution nonpublic school that
  359  terminates a program or ceases operation before the student has
  360  completed his or her program of study. The financial program is
  361  named the Student Protection Fund.
  362         (2) The commission is authorized to assess a fee from the
  363  licensed institutions schools within its jurisdiction for such
  364  purpose. The commission shall assess a licensed institution
  365  school an additional fee for its eligibility for the Student
  366  Protection Fund. Fees to support the fund must be determined
  367  annually by the commission; however, if the fund balance exceeds
  368  $5 million on November 1 of any year, the fees may not be
  369  collected in the next calendar year.
  370         (3) If a licensed institution school terminates a program
  371  before all students complete it, the commission shall also
  372  assess that institution school a fee adequate to pay the full
  373  cost to the Student Protection Fund of completing the training
  374  of students.
  375         (4) The fund shall consist entirely of fees assessed to
  376  licensed institutions schools and may shall not be funded under
  377  any circumstances by public funds, nor shall the commission make
  378  payments or be obligated to make payments in excess of the
  379  assessments actually received from licensed institutions schools
  380  and deposited in the Institutional Assessment Trust Fund to the
  381  credit of the Student Protection Fund.
  382         (5) At each commission meeting, the commission shall
  383  consider the need for and shall make required assessments, shall
  384  review the collection status of unpaid assessments and take all
  385  necessary steps to collect them, and shall review all moneys in
  386  the fund and expenses incurred since the last reporting period.
  387  This review must include administrative expenses, moneys
  388  received, and payments made to students or to lending
  389  institutions.
  390         (6) Staff of the commission must immediately inform the
  391  commission upon learning of the closing of a licensed
  392  institution school or the termination of a program that could
  393  expose the fund to liability.
  394         (7) The Student Protection Fund must be actuarially sound,
  395  periodically audited by the Auditor General in connection with
  396  his or her audit of the Department of Education, and reviewed to
  397  determine if additional fees must be charged to licensed
  398  institutions schools eligible to participate in the fund.
  399         Section 9. Subsections (1), (3), and (4) of section
  400  1005.39, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  401         1005.39 Continuing education and training for
  402  administrators and faculty.—
  403         (1) The commission shall determine whether is authorized to
  404  ensure that the administrators of licensed institutions are
  405  qualified to conduct the operations of their respective
  406  positions and to require such administrators and faculty to
  407  receive continuing education and training as adopted by rule of
  408  the commission. The positions for which the commission must may
  409  review qualifications and require continuing education and
  410  training may include the positions of chief administrator or
  411  officer, chief campus officer, director of education or
  412  training, placement director, admissions director, and financial
  413  aid director and faculty members. By July 1, 2018, and annually
  414  thereafter, the commission must verify that all administrators
  415  subject to continuing education requirements have completed
  416  training on state and federal laws and regulations specifically
  417  pertaining to the operation of nonpublic postsecondary
  418  institutions.
  419         (3) The commission shall adopt general qualifications for
  420  each of the respective positions and establish guidelines for
  421  the minimum amount and type of continuing education and training
  422  to be required. The continuing education and training may be
  423  provided by the commission, appropriate state or federal
  424  agencies, or professional organizations familiar with the
  425  requirements of the particular administrative positions.
  426  Continuing education may also be provided by licensed
  427  institutions upon approval of the commission. The actual
  428  curricula should be left to the discretion of those agencies,
  429  and organizations, and, if approved, licensed institutions.
  430         (4) Evidence of administrator the administrator’s and
  431  faculty member’s compliance with the continuing education and
  432  training requirements established by the commission must may be
  433  included in the initial and renewal application forms provided
  434  to by the commission. Actual records of the continuing education
  435  and training received by administrators and faculty shall be
  436  maintained at the institution and available for inspection at
  437  all times.
  438         Section 10. Subsection (2) of section 1011.81, Florida
  439  Statutes, is amended to read:
  440         1011.81 Florida College System Program Fund.—
  441         (2) Performance funding for industry certifications for
  442  Florida College System institutions must take into consideration
  443  an institution’s federal student loan cohort default rate and is
  444  contingent upon specific appropriation in the General
  445  Appropriations Act and shall be determined as follows:
  446         (a) Occupational areas for which industry certifications
  447  may be earned, as established in the General Appropriations Act,
  448  are eligible for performance funding. Priority shall be given to
  449  the occupational areas emphasized in state, national, or
  450  corporate grants provided to Florida educational institutions.
  451         (b) The Chancellor of the Florida College System shall
  452  identify the industry certifications eligible for funding on the
  453  CAPE Postsecondary Industry Certification Funding List approved
  454  by the State Board of Education pursuant to s. 1008.44, based on
  455  the occupational areas specified in the General Appropriations
  456  Act.
  457         (c) Each Florida College System institution shall be
  458  provided $1,000 for each industry certification earned by a
  459  student. The maximum amount of funding appropriated for
  460  performance funding pursuant to this subsection shall be limited
  461  to $15 million annually. If funds are insufficient to fully fund
  462  the calculated total award, such funds shall be prorated.
  463         Section 11. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of section
  464  1011.905, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  465         1011.905 Performance funding for state universities.—
  466         (1) State performance funds for the State University System
  467  shall be based on indicators of system and institutional
  468  attainment of performance expectations. For the 2012-2013
  469  through at least the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Board of
  470  Governors shall review and rank each state university that
  471  applies for performance funding, as provided in the General
  472  Appropriations Act, based on the following formula:
  473         (c) Fifty percent of a state university’s score shall be
  474  based on:
  475         1. Factors determined by the Board of Governors which
  476  relate to increasing the probability that graduates who have
  477  earned degrees in the programs described in paragraph (a) will
  478  be employed in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand
  479  employment; and.
  480         2.An institution’s federal student loan cohort default
  481  rate.
  482         Section 12. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.