Florida Senate - 2018                                    SB 1310
       By Senator Rodriguez
       37-00232-18                                           20181310__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to postsecondary educational
    3         institutions; amending s. 1005.04, F.S.; revising the
    4         required disclosures specified institutions must make
    5         to each prospective student; creating s. 1005.11,
    6         F.S.; requiring the commission to annually prepare an
    7         accountability report by a specified date; requiring
    8         licensed institutions to annually provide certain data
    9         to the commission by a specified date; requiring
   10         administrative fines for an institution that fails to
   11         timely submit the required data; requiring the
   12         commission to establish certain benchmarks by rule;
   13         amending s. 1005.21, F.S.; revising the membership of
   14         the commission; limiting the terms of commission
   15         members; amending s. 1005.22, F.S.; requiring the
   16         commission to approve an annual budget; providing for
   17         the review of certain complaints; authorizing the
   18         commission, under certain circumstances, to prohibit
   19         the enrollment of new students or to limit the number
   20         of students in a program at a licensed institution;
   21         amending s. 1005.31, F.S.; revising the commission’s
   22         evaluation standards for licensure of an institution;
   23         requiring the commission to deny a renewal of an
   24         annual license for institutions whose federal student
   25         loan cohort default rates exceed a specified percent;
   26         authorizing the commission to require certain
   27         institutions to post a surety bond or similar
   28         financial security for specified purposes; requiring
   29         the commission to adopt rules; requiring the
   30         commission to examine an application for licensure and
   31         take certain actions within a specified period;
   32         amending s. 1005.32, F.S.; revising criteria for
   33         independent postsecondary educational institutions to
   34         apply for a license by accreditation; requiring
   35         certain institutions to file a retention and
   36         completion management plan; amending s. 1005.36, F.S.;
   37         revising the criminal penalty for the unlawful closure
   38         of certain institutions; requiring the commission to
   39         create a Closed Institution Panel by a specified date;
   40         providing membership and duties of the panel; amending
   41         s. 1005.37, F.S.; requiring the commission to annually
   42         determine fees to support the Student Protection Fund;
   43         prohibiting the commission from collecting the fees
   44         under certain circumstances; amending s. 1005.39,
   45         F.S.; requiring the commission to determine the
   46         qualifications of certain personnel of licensed
   47         institutions; requiring the commission to annually
   48         verify that certain personnel have completed certain
   49         training by a specified date; authorizing the
   50         provision of continuing education by licensed
   51         institutions under certain circumstances; requiring
   52         that certain evidence be included in initial or
   53         renewal application forms provided by the commission;
   54         amending ss. 1011.81 and 1011.905, F.S.; requiring
   55         that Florida College System institution performance
   56         funding for industry certifications and State
   57         University System university performance funding take
   58         into consideration an institution’s federal student
   59         loan cohort default rate; providing an effective date.
   61  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   63         Section 1. Section 1005.04, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   64  read:
   65         1005.04 Fair consumer practices; federal student loan
   66  default rates.—
   67         (1) Every institution that is under the jurisdiction of the
   68  commission or is exempt from the jurisdiction or purview of the
   69  commission pursuant to s. 1005.06(1)(c) or (f) and that either
   70  directly or indirectly solicits for enrollment any student shall
   71  do all of the following:
   72         (a) Provide each student with an accurate, stand-alone
   73  disclosure statement, in a format prescribed by the commission,
   74  as a condition of any financial obligation of the student to the
   75  institution. The institution must provide the disclosure
   76  statement individually to each student at least 1 week before
   77  enrollment or collection of tuition from the student. The
   78  disclosure statement must include, at a minimum:
   79         1.The purpose of the institution, its educational programs
   80  and curricula, and a description of its physical facilities;
   81         2.The institution’s licensure status with the commission
   82  and its status as an accredited institution or program, as
   83  applicable, by an accrediting agency recognized by the United
   84  States Department of Education, and any effect that
   85  accreditation or lack of accreditation will have on the
   86  student’s ability to sit for a professional examination or
   87  qualify for financial aid;
   88         3.The institution’s fee schedule; all fees required to be
   89  paid by the student, including tuition, laboratory fees,
   90  graduation fees, and any other nonrefundable fees; and the
   91  institution’s policies regarding the retention of student fees
   92  if a student withdraws from the institution;
   93         4.The transferability of credits to other institutions and
   94  from other institutions; and
   95         5.Requirements or limitations, such as physical or
   96  language capabilities or lack of a criminal record, which will
   97  limit career options related to the student’s course of study
   98  Disclose to each prospective student a statement of the purpose
   99  of such institution, its educational programs and curricula, a
  100  description of its physical facilities, its status regarding
  101  licensure, its fee schedule and policies regarding retaining
  102  student fees if a student withdraws, and a statement regarding
  103  the transferability of credits to and from other institutions.
  104  The institution shall make the required disclosures in writing
  105  at least 1 week prior to enrollment or collection of any tuition
  106  from the prospective student. The required disclosures may be
  107  made in the institution’s current catalog;
  108         (b) Use a reliable method to assess, before accepting a
  109  student into a program, the student’s ability to complete
  110  successfully the course of study for which he or she has
  111  applied.;
  112         (c) Inform each student accurately about financial
  113  assistance and obligations for repayment of loans; describe any
  114  employment placement services provided and the limitations
  115  thereof; and refrain from promising or implying guaranteed
  116  placement, market availability, or salary amounts.;
  117         (d) Provide to prospective and enrolled students accurate
  118  information regarding the relationship of its programs to state
  119  licensure requirements for practicing related occupations and
  120  professions in Florida.;
  121         (e) Ensure that all advertisements are accurate and not
  122  misleading.;
  123         (f) Publish and follow an equitable prorated refund policy
  124  for all students, and follow both the federal refund guidelines
  125  for students receiving federal financial assistance and the
  126  minimum refund guidelines set by commission rule.;
  127         (g) Follow the requirements of state and federal laws that
  128  require annual reporting with respect to crime statistics and
  129  physical plant safety and make those reports available to the
  130  public.; and
  131         (h) Publish and follow procedures for handling student
  132  complaints, disciplinary actions, and appeals.
  133         (2) In addition, Institutions that are required to be
  134  licensed by the commission shall disclose to prospective
  135  students that additional information regarding the institution
  136  may be obtained by contacting the commission for Independent
  137  Education, Department of Education, Tallahassee.
  138         Section 2. Section 1005.11, Florida Statutes, is created to
  139  read:
  140         1005.11Accountability for institutions licensed by the
  141  Commission for Independent Education.—
  142         (1)By March 15 of each year, the Commission for
  143  Independent Education shall prepare an accountability report for
  144  licensed institutions. The report must contain, at a minimum,
  145  the graduation rates, including the number of graduates by
  146  program; the retention rates; and the placement rates for all
  147  licensed institutions.
  148         (2)By November 30 of each year, each licensed institution
  149  shall provide data on the graduation rate, retention rate, and
  150  placement rate of the licensed institution to the commission in
  151  a format prescribed by the commission. Placement rates must be
  152  determined using the Florida Education and Training Placement
  153  Information Program methodology. The commission shall establish
  154  a common set of data definitions that are consistent with those
  155  used by the United States Department of Education for
  156  institutional reporting purposes.
  157         (3)The commission shall impose an administrative fine of
  158  not more than $1,000 when a licensed institution fails to timely
  159  submit the required data to the commission pursuant to this
  160  section. Administrative fines collected under this subsection
  161  must be deposited into the Student Protection Fund.
  162         (4)The commission shall establish by rule performance
  163  benchmarks to identify high-performing institutions licensed by
  164  the commission. Licensed institutions with graduation rates,
  165  retention rates, and placement rates equal to or higher than the
  166  average rates of all Florida universities, colleges, or career
  167  centers, as appropriate, may receive and use the designation of
  168  “high performing.”
  169         Section 3. Paragraphs (c) and (d) of subsection (2) and
  170  subsection (3) of section 1005.21, Florida Statutes, are amended
  171  to read:
  172         1005.21 Commission for Independent Education.—
  173         (2) The Commission for Independent Education shall consist
  174  of seven members who are residents of this state. The commission
  175  shall function in matters concerning independent postsecondary
  176  educational institutions in consumer protection, program
  177  improvement, and licensure for institutions under its purview.
  178  The Governor shall appoint the members of the commission who are
  179  subject to confirmation by the Senate. The membership of the
  180  commission shall consist of:
  181         (c) One member who employs graduates of institutions
  182  licensed by the commission. The member may not have any other
  183  relationship with an institution subject to licensure by the
  184  commission except for his or her status as an employer of
  185  graduates of the institution from a public school district or
  186  Florida College System institution who is an administrator of
  187  career education.
  188         (d) One member who is a graduate of an institution subject
  189  to licensure by the commission. The member may not have any
  190  other relationship with an institution subject to licensure by
  191  the commission except for his or her status as an alumnus
  192  representative of a college that meets the criteria of s.
  193  1005.06(1)(f).
  194         (3) The members of the commission shall be appointed to 3
  195  year terms. Members may serve no more than three consecutive
  196  terms or and until their successors are appointed and qualified,
  197  whichever occurs first. If a vacancy on the commission occurs
  198  before the expiration of a term, the Governor shall appoint a
  199  successor to serve the unexpired portion of the term.
  200         Section 4. Paragraphs (e) and (k) of subsection (1) of
  201  section 1005.22, Florida Statutes, are amended, and paragraph
  202  (j) is added to subsection (2) of that section, to read:
  203         1005.22 Powers and duties of commission.—
  204         (1) The commission shall:
  205         (e) Administer the provisions of this chapter. To this end,
  206  the commission has the following administrative powers and
  207  responsibilities:
  208         1. The commission shall adopt rules pursuant to ss.
  209  120.536(1) and 120.54 for the operation and establishment of
  210  independent postsecondary educational institutions. The
  211  commission shall submit the rules to the State Board of
  212  Education for approval or disapproval. If the state board does
  213  not act on a rule within 60 days after receiving it, the rule
  214  shall be filed immediately with the Department of State.
  215         2. The commission shall approve and submit an annual budget
  216  to the State Board of Education.
  217         3. The commission shall transmit all fees, donations, and
  218  other receipts of money to the Institutional Assessment Trust
  219  Fund.
  220         4. The commission shall expend funds as necessary to assist
  221  in the application and enforcement of its powers and duties. The
  222  Chief Financial Officer shall pay out all moneys and funds as
  223  directed under this chapter upon vouchers approved by the
  224  Department of Education for all lawful purposes necessary to
  225  administering this chapter. The commission shall make annual
  226  reports to the State Board of Education showing in detail
  227  amounts received and all expenditures. The commission shall
  228  include in its annual report to the State Board of Education a
  229  statement of its major activities during the period covered by
  230  the report.
  231         (k) Establish and publicize the procedures for receiving
  232  and responding to complaints from students, faculty, and others
  233  concerning institutions or programs under the purview of the
  234  commission, and keep records of such complaints in order to
  235  determine the frequency and nature of complaints with respect to
  236  specific institutions of higher education. The commission shall
  237  appoint a committee to review any complaint that is not closed
  238  within 90 days after receipt of the complaint.
  239         (2) The commission may:
  240         (j)Based on the performance of an institution licensed by
  241  the commission, prohibit the institution from enrolling new
  242  students or limit the number of students in a program at the
  243  institution.
  244         Section 5. Present subsections (5) through (15) of section
  245  1005.31, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (6)
  246  through (16), respectively, subsection (2) and present
  247  subsection (6) of that section are amended, and a new subsection
  248  (5) is added to that section, to read:
  249         1005.31 Licensure of institutions.—
  250         (2) The commission shall develop minimum standards by which
  251  to evaluate institutions for licensure. These standards must
  252  include, at a minimum, at least the institution’s name;,
  253  financial stability;, purpose;, administrative organization;,
  254  admissions and recruitment;, educational programs and
  255  curricula;, retention and, completion, including a retention and
  256  completion management plan; career placement; federal student
  257  loan cohort default rate as calculated by the United States
  258  Department of Education;, faculty;, learning resources;, student
  259  personnel services;, physical plant and facilities;,
  260  publications;, and disclosure statements about the status of the
  261  institution with respect to professional certification and
  262  licensure. The commission may adopt rules to ensure that
  263  institutions licensed under this section meet these standards in
  264  ways that are appropriate to achieve the stated intent of this
  265  chapter, including provisions for nontraditional or distance
  266  education programs and delivery. The commission shall deny a
  267  renewal of an annual license for an institution whose federal
  268  student loan cohort default rate exceeds 30 percent.
  269         (5)The commission may require an institution that does not
  270  provide sufficient evidence of financial stability at the time
  271  of application for a provisional license or that is dependent
  272  upon financial resources located outside the United States to
  273  post and maintain a surety bond to assist each enrolled student
  274  in completing the student’s program of enrollment in the event
  275  that the institution closes before receiving its first annual
  276  licensure renewal. In lieu of a surety bond, the commission may
  277  require an institution to establish and maintain a cash-deposit
  278  escrow account, or an irrevocable letter of credit, payable to
  279  the commission in an amount not to exceed 50 percent of the
  280  institution’s first-year projected revenue. The commission shall
  281  adopt rules to administer this subsection.
  282         (7)(6) The commission shall ensure through an investigative
  283  process that applicants for licensure meet the standards as
  284  defined in rule. Within 30 days after receipt of an application,
  285  the commission shall examine the application, notify the
  286  applicant of any apparent error or omission, and request any
  287  additional necessary information from the applicant. When the
  288  investigative process is not completed within the time set out
  289  in s. 120.60(1) and the commission has reason to believe that
  290  the applicant does not meet licensure standards, the commission
  291  or the executive director of the commission may issue a 90-day
  292  licensure delay, which shall be in writing and sufficient to
  293  notify the applicant of the reason for the delay. The provisions
  294  of this subsection shall control over any conflicting provisions
  295  of s. 120.60(1).
  296         Section 6. Paragraph (e) of subsection (1) and subsection
  297  (3) of section 1005.32, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  298         1005.32 Licensure by means of accreditation.—
  299         (1) An independent postsecondary educational institution
  300  that meets the following criteria may apply for a license by
  301  means of accreditation from the commission:
  302         (e) The institution’s federal student loan cohort default
  303  rate, as calculated by the United States Department of
  304  Education, does not exceed 30 percent The institution is a
  305  Florida corporation.
  306         (3) The commission may not require an institution granted a
  307  license by means of accreditation to submit reports that differ
  308  from the reports required by its accrediting association, except
  309  that each institution must file with the commission an annual
  310  audit report and a retention and completion management plan
  311  pursuant to s. 1005.31. The institution shall also follow the
  312  commission’s requirements for orderly closing, including
  313  provisions for trainout or refunds and arranging for the proper
  314  disposition of student and institutional records.
  315         Section 7. Present subsections (3) and (4) of section
  316  1005.36, Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (4)
  317  and (5), respectively, subsection (2) of that section is
  318  amended, and a new subsection (3) is added to that section, to
  319  read:
  320         1005.36 Institutional closings.—
  321         (2) At least 30 days before prior to closing an
  322  institution, its owners, directors, or administrators must shall
  323  notify the commission in writing of the closure of the
  324  institution. The owners, directors, and administrators must
  325  organize an orderly closure of the institution, which means at
  326  least providing for the completion of training of its students.
  327  The commission must approve any such plan. An owner, director,
  328  or administrator who fails to notify the commission at least 30
  329  days before prior to the institution’s closure, or who fails to
  330  organize the orderly closure of the institution and the trainout
  331  of the students, commits a misdemeanor of the first second
  332  degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
  333         (3)By October 1, 2018, the commission shall establish a
  334  Closed Institution Panel. The panel shall consist of at least
  335  one commission member, one commission staff member, one
  336  accrediting body staff member, and one administrator with
  337  experience in managing licensed institutions. The commission
  338  shall notify the panel upon the closing of a licensed
  339  institution. For any closure that does not comply with the
  340  requirements of subsection (2), or at the discretion of the
  341  commission chair, the panel shall convene to implement measures
  342  to minimize the academic, logistical, and financial impact on
  343  students of the institution. The panel may secure student
  344  records and, to the extent possible, maintain the educational
  345  programs at the institution for at least 30 days after the panel
  346  receives notification that the institution is closing in order
  347  to assist each student with completion of his or her educational
  348  program. The institution that is closing shall pay for all the
  349  expenses incurred by the panel to conduct activities described
  350  in this subsection.
  351         Section 8. Section 1005.37, Florida Statutes, is amended to
  352  read:
  353         1005.37 Student Protection Fund.—
  354         (1) The commission shall establish and administer a
  355  statewide, fee-supported financial program through which funds
  356  will be available to complete the training of a student who
  357  enrolls in a licensed institution nonpublic school that
  358  terminates a program or ceases operation before the student has
  359  completed his or her program of study. The financial program is
  360  named the Student Protection Fund.
  361         (2) The commission is authorized to assess a fee from the
  362  licensed institutions schools within its jurisdiction for such
  363  purpose. The commission shall assess a licensed institution
  364  school an additional fee for its eligibility for the Student
  365  Protection Fund. The commission shall annually determine the
  366  fees to support the fund; however, if the fund balance exceeds
  367  $5 million on November 1 of any year, the commission may not
  368  collect the fees in the next calendar year.
  369         (3) If a licensed institution school terminates a program
  370  before all students complete it, the commission shall also
  371  assess that institution school a fee adequate to pay the full
  372  cost to the Student Protection Fund of completing the training
  373  of students.
  374         (4) The fund shall consist entirely of fees assessed to
  375  licensed institutions schools and may shall not be funded under
  376  any circumstances by public funds, nor shall the commission make
  377  payments or be obligated to make payments in excess of the
  378  assessments actually received from licensed institutions schools
  379  and deposited in the Institutional Assessment Trust Fund to the
  380  credit of the Student Protection Fund.
  381         (5) At each commission meeting, the commission shall
  382  consider the need for and shall make required assessments, shall
  383  review the collection status of unpaid assessments and take all
  384  necessary steps to collect them, and shall review all moneys in
  385  the fund and expenses incurred since the last reporting period.
  386  This review must include administrative expenses, moneys
  387  received, and payments made to students or to lending
  388  institutions.
  389         (6) Staff of the commission must immediately inform the
  390  commission upon learning of the closing of a licensed
  391  institution school or the termination of a program which that
  392  could expose the fund to liability.
  393         (7) The Student Protection Fund must be actuarially sound,
  394  periodically audited by the Auditor General in connection with
  395  his or her audit of the Department of Education, and reviewed to
  396  determine if additional fees must be charged to licensed
  397  institutions schools eligible to participate in the fund.
  398         Section 9. Subsections (1), (3), and (4) of section
  399  1005.39, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
  400         1005.39 Continuing education and training for
  401  administrators and faculty.—
  402         (1) The commission shall determine whether is authorized to
  403  ensure that the administrators of licensed institutions are
  404  qualified to conduct the operations of their respective
  405  positions and shall to require such administrators and faculty
  406  to receive continuing education and training as adopted by rule
  407  of the commission. The positions for which the commission must
  408  may review qualifications and require continuing education and
  409  training may include the positions of chief administrator or
  410  officer, chief campus officer, director of education or
  411  training, placement director, admissions director, and financial
  412  aid director and faculty members. By July 1, 2019, and annually
  413  thereafter, the commission shall verify that all administrators
  414  subject to continuing education requirements have completed
  415  training on state and federal laws and regulations specifically
  416  pertaining to the operation of nonpublic postsecondary
  417  educational institutions.
  418         (3) The commission shall adopt general qualifications for
  419  each of the respective positions and establish guidelines for
  420  the minimum amount and type of continuing education and training
  421  to be required. The continuing education and training may be
  422  provided by the commission, appropriate state or federal
  423  agencies, or professional organizations familiar with the
  424  requirements of the particular administrative positions.
  425  Licensed institutions may also provide continuing education upon
  426  approval of the commission. The actual curricula should be left
  427  to the discretion of those agencies, and organizations, and, if
  428  approved, licensed institutions.
  429         (4) Evidence of administrator the administrator’s and
  430  faculty member’s compliance with the continuing education and
  431  training requirements established by the commission shall may be
  432  included in the initial and renewal application forms provided
  433  to by the commission. Actual records of the continuing education
  434  and training received by administrators and faculty shall be
  435  maintained at the institution and available for inspection at
  436  all times.
  437         Section 10. Subsection (2) of section 1011.81, Florida
  438  Statutes, is amended to read:
  439         1011.81 Florida College System Program Fund.—
  440         (2) Performance funding for industry certifications for
  441  Florida College System institutions must take into consideration
  442  an institution’s federal student loan cohort default rate and is
  443  contingent upon specific appropriation in the General
  444  Appropriations Act and shall be determined as follows:
  445         (a) Occupational areas for which industry certifications
  446  may be earned, as established in the General Appropriations Act,
  447  are eligible for performance funding. Priority shall be given to
  448  the occupational areas emphasized in state, national, or
  449  corporate grants provided to Florida educational institutions.
  450         (b) The Chancellor of the Florida College System shall
  451  identify the industry certifications eligible for funding on the
  452  CAPE Postsecondary Industry Certification Funding List approved
  453  by the State Board of Education pursuant to s. 1008.44, based on
  454  the occupational areas specified in the General Appropriations
  455  Act.
  456         (c) Each Florida College System institution shall be
  457  provided $1,000 for each industry certification earned by a
  458  student. The maximum amount of funding appropriated for
  459  performance funding pursuant to this subsection shall be limited
  460  to $15 million annually. If funds are insufficient to fully fund
  461  the calculated total award, such funds shall be prorated.
  462         Section 11. Paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of section
  463  1011.905, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
  464         1011.905 Performance funding for state universities.—
  465         (1) State performance funds for the State University System
  466  shall be based on indicators of system and institutional
  467  attainment of performance expectations. For the 2012-2013
  468  through at least the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Board of
  469  Governors shall review and rank each state university that
  470  applies for performance funding, as provided in the General
  471  Appropriations Act, based on the following formula:
  472         (c) Fifty percent of a state university’s score shall be
  473  based on:
  474         1. Factors determined by the Board of Governors which
  475  relate to increasing the probability that graduates who have
  476  earned degrees in the programs described in paragraph (a) will
  477  be employed in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand
  478  employment; and.
  479         2.The state university’s federal student loan cohort
  480  default rate.
  481         Section 12. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.