Florida Senate - 2017 SB 668 By Senator Bean 4-00898-17 2017668__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to postsecondary distance education; 3 creating s. 1000.35, F.S.; authorizing this state to 4 participate in a reciprocity agreement for delivery of 5 postsecondary distance education; providing 6 definitions; establishing the Postsecondary Reciprocal 7 Distance Education Coordinating Council within the 8 Department of Education; providing a purpose; 9 requiring the Commission for Independent Education to 10 provide administrative support for the council; 11 providing membership and duties of the council; 12 requiring the council to propose an annual fee 13 schedule and collect fees from Florida institutions 14 participating in the reciprocity agreement; requiring 15 the State Board of Education to approve the fee 16 schedule; providing for deposit of such fees into a 17 specified trust fund; authorizing the council to 18 revoke a Florida institution’s participation in the 19 reciprocity agreement for noncompliance; authorizing 20 such institution to withdraw from participation in the 21 reciprocity agreement after providing notice; 22 exempting council decisions from the Administrative 23 Procedure Act; providing that provisions relating to 24 the jurisdiction of the commission are not superseded; 25 requiring the state board to adopt rules; amending s. 26 1005.06, F.S.; providing that the commission does not 27 have jurisdiction over certain non-Florida 28 institutions participating in the reciprocity 29 agreement; amending s. 1005.31, F.S.; conforming a 30 provision to changes made by the act; providing an 31 effective date. 32 33 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 34 35 Section 1. Section 1000.35, Florida Statutes, is created to 36 read: 37 1000.35 Reciprocity agreement.— 38 (1) The purpose of this section is to authorize this state 39 to participate in a reciprocity agreement with other states for 40 the delivery of postsecondary distance education. Each member 41 state or institution participating in the reciprocity agreement 42 must accept the accreditation standards and criteria of each 43 other member state and institution participating in the 44 reciprocity agreement to offer postsecondary distance education. 45 (2) For purposes of this section, the term: 46 (a) “Commission” means the Commission for Independent 47 Education. 48 (b) “Complaint” means a formal assertion in writing that a 49 person, institution, state, agency, or other entity operating 50 under the reciprocity agreement has violated the terms of the 51 reciprocity agreement or the laws, standards, or regulations 52 incorporated therein. 53 (c) “Council” means the Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance 54 Education Coordinating Council, which serves as the single 55 portal agency designated by the state to administer the 56 reciprocity agreement and serves as the interstate point of 57 contact for questions, complaints, and other matters related to 58 the reciprocity agreement. 59 (d) “Department” means the Department of Education. 60 (e) “Florida institution” means a postsecondary educational 61 institution in this state approved by the council to participate 62 in the reciprocity agreement. 63 (f) “Institution” means a public or private postsecondary 64 educational institution that is accredited by a federally 65 recognized accrediting body and that awards, at a minimum, 66 associate-level degrees requiring at least 2 years of full-time 67 equivalent college coursework. 68 (g) “Member state” means a state, territory, or district 69 within the United States that has been approved to participate 70 in the reciprocity agreement. 71 (h) “Non-Florida institution” means an institution approved 72 by a member state other than this state to participate in the 73 reciprocity agreement. 74 (i) “Reciprocity agreement” means an agreement that 75 establishes reciprocity between member states to authorize 76 institutions to offer postsecondary distance education in such 77 states pursuant to the terms and conditions in the agreement. 78 (j) “State board” means the State Board of Education. 79 (3) The council is established within the department for 80 the purpose of administering the reciprocity agreement, and 81 except as otherwise provided in this subsection, shall operate 82 consistent with s. 20.052. 83 (a) The council shall consist of the Chancellor of the 84 State University System, the Chancellor of the Florida College 85 System, the Chancellor of the Division of Career and Adult 86 Education, the Executive Director of the Commission for 87 Independent Education, and the President of the Independent 88 Colleges and Universities of Florida. The commission shall 89 provide administrative support for the council. 90 (b) The council shall: 91 1. Apply for this state to participate as a member of the 92 reciprocity agreement; 93 2. Serve as the portal agency for the administration of the 94 reciprocity agreement; 95 3. Review and approve applications from institutions in 96 this state to participate in the reciprocity agreement and 97 establish an appeals process for institutions that are not 98 approved to participate in the reciprocity agreement; 99 4. Ensure compliance by Florida institutions with the terms 100 and provisions of the reciprocity agreement; 101 5. Comply with the terms and provisions of the reciprocity 102 agreement relating to any member state, Florida institution, or 103 non-Florida institution; 104 6. Comply with the reporting requirements in the 105 reciprocity agreement and post any required reports on the 106 council’s website; 107 7. Develop and administer a complaint resolution process 108 for complaints related to the reciprocity agreement for which 109 all available remedies at a Florida institution have been 110 exhausted; 111 8. Delegate any responsibilities, obligations, or 112 authorities to the commission’s staff necessary for the 113 administration of this state’s participation in the reciprocity 114 agreement; and 115 9. Recommend rules necessary to administer this section for 116 adoption by the state board. 117 (c) The council shall propose an annual fee schedule and 118 collect fees from each Florida institution participating in the 119 reciprocity agreement. The fees shall be commensurate with the 120 costs incurred by the council and the commission for 121 administering the reciprocity agreement. The council shall 122 submit the proposed fee schedule to the state board for 123 approval. The department shall include the approved fee schedule 124 in its legislative budget request which takes effect unless 125 revised in the General Appropriations Act. All fees collected 126 pursuant to this paragraph shall be submitted through the 127 department to the Chief Financial Officer for deposit into a 128 separate account within the Institutional Assessment Trust Fund. 129 Any fee authorized by the council is nonrefundable unless paid 130 in error. 131 (d) The council may revoke a Florida institution’s 132 participation in the reciprocity agreement if the council 133 determines such institution is not in compliance with the terms 134 and provisions of the reciprocity agreement. 135 (e) A Florida institution may withdraw from participation 136 in the reciprocity agreement by submitting notice of its intent 137 to withdraw to the council which shall become effective at the 138 beginning of the next academic term after receipt of such 139 notice. 140 (f) Decisions by the council are not subject to chapter 141 120. 142 (4) This section does not supersede the requirements in 143 chapter 1005 relating to postsecondary educational institutions 144 under the jurisdiction of the commission. 145 (5) The state board shall adopt rules to implement this 146 section. 147 Section 2. Paragraph (h) is added to subsection (1) of 148 section 1005.06, Florida Statutes, to read: 149 1005.06 Institutions not under the jurisdiction or purview 150 of the commission.— 151 (1) Except as otherwise provided in law, the following 152 institutions are not under the jurisdiction or purview of the 153 commission and are not required to obtain licensure: 154 (h) Any non-Florida institution that has been approved by a 155 member state to participate in a reciprocity agreement, as those 156 terms are defined in s. 1000.35(2), entered into by the 157 Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education Coordinating Council 158 under s. 1000.35, and offers degree programs and conducts 159 activities that are limited to distance education degree 160 programs and activities in accordance with the reciprocity 161 agreement. 162 Section 3. Subsection (11) of section 1005.31, Florida 163 Statutes, is amended to read: 164 1005.31 Licensure of institutions.— 165 (11) The commission shall establish minimum standards for 166 the approval of agents. The commission may adopt rules to ensure 167 that licensed agents meet these standards and uphold the intent 168 of this chapter. An agent may not solicit prospective students 169 in this state for enrollment in any independent postsecondary 170 educational institution under the commission’s purview or in any 171 out-of-state independent postsecondary educational institution 172 unless the agent has received a license as prescribed by the 173 commission or solicits for a postsecondary educational 174 institution that is not under the jurisdiction of the commission 175 pursuant to s. 1005.06(1)(h). 176 Section 4. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.