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                                                                  H.B. No. 1172




AN ACT
relating to policies and measures to promote timely graduation of students from public institutions of higher education. BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Subchapter H, Chapter 51, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 51.4032 to read as follows: Sec. 51.4032. REPORT OF EFFORTS CONCERNING TIMELY GRADUATION. (a) Not later than November 1 of each year, the president of each general academic teaching institution, as defined by Section 61.003, shall provide to the governing board of the institution a report for the preceding academic year that examines the institution's efforts concerning timely graduation of its undergraduate students. (b) The report must: (1) state, for each undergraduate degree program, the average number of semester credit hours attempted and the average number of fall and spring semesters attended by a student completing the program; (2) state the specific efforts implemented by the institution to ensure that undergraduate students graduate in a timely manner and do not attempt an excessive number of semester credit hours beyond the minimum number required to complete the students' degree programs, including the institution's efforts to provide academic counseling concerning timely graduation, including the development of an online student degree progress report which compares the courses taken and credit received by a student to the courses completed and needed for degree and graduation requirements for each academic term, and to implement tuition policies that encourage timely graduation; and (3) include any other information required by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. (c) An institution's report must be in the form prescribed by coordinating board rule adopted in consultation with general academic teaching institutions. SECTION 2. Section 52.91(c), Education Code, is amended to read as follows: (c) The board shall repay bonds issued by the board to fund the Texas B-On-time student loan program using legislative appropriations and money collected by the board as repayment for Texas B-On-time student loans awarded by the board. The board may use tuition set aside under Section 56.465 to repay bonds issued by the board for the Texas B-On-time student loan program. The board may not use money collected by the board as repayment for student loans awarded by the board under Subchapter C to repay bonds issued by the board for the Texas B-On-time student loan program under Section 56.464(b). SECTION 3. Section 54.068, Education Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 54.068. TUITION FOR REPEATED OR EXCESSIVE UNDERGRADUATE HOURS. (a) An institution of higher education may charge a resident undergraduate student tuition at a higher rate than the rate charged to other resident undergraduate students, not to exceed the rate charged to nonresident undergraduate students, if before the semester or other academic session begins the student has previously attempted a number of semester credit hours for courses taken at any institution of higher education while classified as a resident student for tuition purposes that exceeds by at least 30 [45] hours the number of semester credit hours required for completion of the degree program in which the student is enrolled. For purposes of this subsection, an undergraduate student who is not enrolled in a degree program is considered to be enrolled in a degree program or programs requiring a minimum of 120 semester credit hours, including minors and double majors, and for completion of any certificate or other special program in which the student is also enrolled, including a program with a study-abroad component. An institution of higher education that charges students tuition at a higher rate under this subsection may adopt a policy under which the institution exempts from the payment of that higher rate a student that is subject to the payment of the higher rate solely as a result of hardship as determined by the institution under the policy. (b) Semester credit hours or other credit listed in Section 61.0595(d) is not counted in determining the number of semester credit hours previously attempted by a student for purposes of Subsection (a). (c) Subsection (a) applies only [does not apply] to the tuition charged to a student who initially enrolled as an undergraduate student in an institution of higher education during or after [before] the 1999 fall semester, except that the institution of higher education may not require a student who initially enrolls as an undergraduate student in an institution of higher education before the 2006 fall semester to pay higher tuition as permitted by Subsection (a) until the number of semester credit hours previously attempted by the student as described by that subsection exceeds the number of semester credit hours required for the student's degree program by at least 45 hours. (d) In its appropriations to institutions of higher education, the legislature shall compute the local funds available to each institution as if the tuition collected under Subsections [Subsection] (a) and (f) were not collected. (e) Each institution of higher education shall inform each new undergraduate student enrolling at the institution in writing of the limitation provided by this section on the number of hours or type of courses that a Texas resident is entitled to complete while paying tuition at the rate provided for Texas residents. (f) An institution of higher education may charge a resident undergraduate student tuition at a higher rate than the rate charged to other resident undergraduate students, not to exceed the rate charged to nonresident undergraduate students, for any course in which the student enrolls that is the same as or substantively identical to a course for which the student previously completed. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall adopt a rule that exempts a resident undergraduate student from this subsection if the student enrolls in a course that is the same as or substantially similar to a course that the student previously completed, solely as a result of a hardship or other good cause. SECTION 4. Section 56.076, Education Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 56.076. ELIGIBLE EMPLOYER. An eligible institution may enter into agreements with employers that participate in the work-study program. To be eligible to participate in the work-study program, an employer must: (1) provide part-time employment to an eligible student in nonpartisan and nonsectarian activities; (2) provide, insofar as is practicable, employment to an eligible student that is related to the student's academic interests; (3) use Texas college work-study program positions only to supplement and not to supplant positions normally filled by persons not eligible to participate in the work-study program; (4) provide from sources other than federal college work-study program funds a percentage [not less than 30 percent] of an employed student's wages that is equal to the percentage of a student's wages that the employer would be required to provide to the student in that academic year under the [and 100 percent of other employee benefits for the employed student from sources other than] federal college work-study program [funds, if the employer is a nonprofit entity]; and (5) provide from sources other than federal college work-study funds [not less than 50 percent of an employed student's wages and] 100 percent of other employee benefits for the employed student[, if the employer is a profit-making entity]. SECTION 5. Subchapter E, Chapter 56, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 56.079 to read as follows: Sec. 56.079. WORK-STUDY STUDENT MENTORSHIP PROGRAM. (a) In this section, "general academic teaching institution" has the meaning assigned by Section 61.003. (b) A general academic teaching institution may establish a work-study student mentorship program under which students who are enrolled in their junior or senior year at the institution and who meet the eligibility requirements for employment in the Texas college work-study program under Section 56.075 may be employed by the institution under the Texas college work-study program to mentor students who are on academic probation at the institution. (c) A general academic teaching institution that has established a work-study student mentorship program under this section may require students who are on academic probation at the institution to be matched with a student mentor employed under the program. (d) Not later than November 1 of each year, each general academic teaching institution that has established a work-study student mentorship program under this section shall submit to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board a report regarding the progress of the institution's program. The report must include the number of students employed by the institution as mentors under the program in the preceding academic year and information relating to the costs of the program and the academic progress of the students receiving mentoring under the program in that year. (e) Each general academic teaching institution that has established a work-study student mentorship program under this section shall set aside a portion of the institution's Texas college work-study program funds to pay for the state's contribution toward the costs of the program. (f) Notwithstanding Section 56.076, a general academic teaching institution that employs a student mentor under the work-study student mentorship program shall provide from sources other than federal college work-study funds: (1) not less than 10 percent of the employed student's wages; and (2) 100 percent of other employee benefits for the employed student. SECTION 6. Section 56.304, Education Code, is amended by amending Subsection (e) and adding Subsections (e-1) and (e-2) to read as follows: (e) If a person is initially awarded a TEXAS grant before the 2005 fall semester, the [A] person's eligibility for a TEXAS grant ends on the sixth anniversary of the initial award of a TEXAS grant to the person and the person's enrollment in an eligible institution, unless the person is provided additional time during which the person may receive a TEXAS grant under Subsection (e-2) [this subsection]. (e-1) If a person is initially awarded a TEXAS grant during or after the 2005 fall semester, unless the person is provided additional time during which the person may receive a TEXAS grant under Subsection (e-2), the person's eligibility for a TEXAS grant ends on: (1) the fifth anniversary of the initial award of a TEXAS grant to the person, if the person is enrolled in a degree or certificate program of four years or less; or (2) the sixth anniversary of the initial award of a TEXAS grant to the person, if the person is enrolled in a degree program of more than four years. (e-2) The coordinating board shall adopt rules to provide a person who is otherwise eligible to receive a TEXAS grant additional time during which the person may receive a TEXAS grant in the event of a hardship or other good cause shown that prevents the person from continuing the person's enrollment during the period the person would otherwise have been eligible to receive a TEXAS grant, including a showing of a severe illness or other debilitating condition or that the person is or was responsible for the care of a sick, injured, or needy person. SECTION 7. Section 56.305, Education Code, is amended by amending Subsections (e) and (g) and adding Subsection (e-1) to read as follows: (e) For the purpose of this section, a person who is initially awarded a TEXAS grant before the 2005 fall semester makes satisfactory academic progress toward an undergraduate degree or certificate only if: (1) in the person's first academic year the person meets the satisfactory academic progress requirements of the institution at which the person is enrolled; and (2) in a subsequent academic year, the person: (A) completes at least 75 percent of the semester credit hours attempted in the student's most recent academic year; and (B) earns an overall grade point average of at least 2.5 on a four-point scale or the equivalent on coursework previously attempted at institutions of higher education. (e-1) For purposes of this section, a person who is initially awarded a TEXAS grant during or after the 2005 fall semester makes satisfactory academic progress toward an undergraduate degree or certificate only if: (1) in the person's first academic year the person meets the satisfactory academic progress requirements of the institution at which the person is enrolled; and (2) in a subsequent academic year, the person: (A) completed at least 24 semester credit hours in the student's most recent academic year; and (B) has earned an overall grade point average of at least 2.5 on a four-point scale or the equivalent on coursework previously attempted at institutions of higher education. (g) The coordinating board shall adopt rules to allow a person who is otherwise eligible to receive a TEXAS grant, in the event of a hardship or for other good cause shown, including a showing of a severe illness or other debilitating condition that may affect the person's academic performance or that the person is responsible for the care of a sick, injured, or needy person and that the person's provision of care may affect the person's academic performance, to receive a TEXAS grant: (1) while enrolled in a number of semester credit hours that is less than the number of semester credit hours required under Subsection (a)(3); or (2) if the student's grade point average or the student's completion rate or number of semester credit hours completed, as applicable, falls below the satisfactory academic progress requirements of Subsection (e) or (e-1). SECTION 8. Subchapter M, Chapter 56, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 56.3071 to read as follows: Sec. 56.3071. EFFECT OF ELIGIBILITY FOR TUITION EQUALIZATION GRANT. (a) Notwithstanding Section 56.307, the total amount of financial aid that a student enrolled in a private or independent institution of higher education is eligible to receive in a state fiscal year from TEXAS grants awarded under this subchapter may not exceed the maximum amount the student may receive in tuition equalization grants in that fiscal year as determined under Subchapter F, Chapter 61. (b) Notwithstanding any other law, a student enrolled in a private or independent institution of higher education may not receive a TEXAS grant under this subchapter and a tuition equalization grant under Subchapter F, Chapter 61, for the same semester or other term, regardless of whether the student is otherwise eligible for both grants during that semester or term. A student who but for this subsection would be awarded both a TEXAS grant and a tuition equalization grant for the same semester or other term is entitled to receive only the grant of the greater amount. SECTION 9. Section 56.462, Education Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 56.462. LOAN FORGIVENESS. A student who receives a Texas B-On-time loan shall be forgiven the amount of the student's loan if the student is awarded an undergraduate certificate or degree at an eligible institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a four-point scale or the equivalent: (1) within: (A) four calendar years after the date the student initially enrolled in the institution or another eligible institution if: (i) the institution is a four-year institution; and (ii) the student is awarded a degree other than a degree in engineering, architecture, or any other program determined by the coordinating board to require more than four years to complete; (B) five calendar years after the date the student initially enrolled in the institution or another eligible institution if: (i) the institution is a four-year institution; and (ii) the student is awarded a degree in engineering, architecture, or any other program determined by the coordinating board to require more than four years to complete; or (C) two years after the date the student initially enrolled in the institution or another eligible institution if the institution is a public junior college or public technical institute; or (2) with a total number of semester credit hours, including transfer credit hours and excluding hours earned exclusively by examination, hours earned for a course for which the student received credit toward the student's high school academic requirements, and hours earned for developmental coursework that an institution of higher education required the student to take under Section 51.3062 or under the former provisions of Section 51.306, that is not more than six hours more than the minimum number of semester credit hours required to complete the certificate or degree. SECTION 10. Section 56.463(b), Education Code, is amended to read as follows: (b) Money in the Texas B-On-time student loan account may be used only to pay any costs of the coordinating board related to the operation of the Texas B-On-time loan program and as otherwise provided by this subchapter. SECTION 11. Section 56.465(b), Education Code, is amended to read as follows: (b) The amount of tuition set aside under Subsection (a) shall be deposited to the credit of the Texas B-On-time student loan account established under Section 56.463 or to the interest and sinking fund established by the coordinating board under Section 52.91(b) in accordance with the resolution of the board establishing such fund. SECTION 12. Subchapter C, Chapter 61, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 61.0515 to read as follows: Sec. 61.0515. SEMESTER CREDIT HOURS REQUIRED FOR BACCALAUREATE DEGREE. (a) To earn a baccalaureate degree, a student may not be required by a general academic teaching institution to complete more than the minimum number of semester credit hours required for the degree by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or its successor unless the institution determines that there is a compelling academic reason for requiring completion of additional semester credit hours for the degree. (b) The board may review one or more of an institution's baccalaureate degree programs to ensure compliance with this section. (c) Subsection (a) does not apply to a baccalaureate degree awarded by an institution to a student enrolled in the institution before the 2008 fall semester. This subsection does not prohibit the institution from reducing the number of semester credit hours the student must complete to receive the degree. SECTION 13. Section 61.0595, Education Code, is amended by amending Subsections (a) and (e) and adding Subsections (f) and (g) to read as follows: (a) In the formulas established under Section 61.059, the board may not include funding for semester credit hours earned by a resident undergraduate student who before the semester or other academic session begins has previously attempted a number of semester credit hours for courses taken at any institution of higher education while classified as a resident student for tuition purposes that exceeds by at least 30 [45] hours the number of semester credit hours required for completion of the degree program or programs in which the student is enrolled, including minors and double majors, and for completion of any certificate or other special program in which the student is also enrolled, including a program with a study-abroad component. (e) Subsection (a) applies only [does not apply] to funding for semester credit hours earned by a student who initially enrolled as an undergraduate student in any institution of higher education during or after [before] the 1999 fall semester, except that with respect to semester credit hours earned by a student who initially enrolls as an undergraduate student in any institution of higher education before the 2006 fall semester, the board may not reduce funding under this section until the number of semester credit hours previously attempted by the student as described by this section exceeds the number of semester credit hours required for the student's degree program by at least 45 hours. (f) In the formulas established under Section 61.059, the board shall include without consideration of Subsection (a) funding for semester credit hours earned by a student who initially enrolled as an undergraduate student in any institution of higher education before the 1999 fall semester [for those semester credit hours without consideration of Subsection (a)]. (g) To the extent practicable, the savings to the state resulting from the exclusion of funding for excess undergraduate semester credit hours from the funding formulas of the board as required by this section shall be used to finance the Toward EXcellence, Access, & Success (TEXAS) grant program under Subchapter M, Chapter 56. SECTION 14. Section 61.225, Education Code, is amended to read as follows: Sec. 61.225. ELIGIBILITY [QUALIFICATIONS] FOR GRANT; PERSONS AWARDED GRANTS BEFORE 2005-2006 ACADEMIC YEAR. (a) This section applies only to a person who initially received a tuition equalization grant before the 2005-2006 academic year. (b) To be eligible for a tuition equalization grant, a person must: (1) be a Texas resident as defined by the coordinating board and meet, at a minimum, the resident requirements defined by law for Texas resident tuition in fully state-supported institutions of higher education; (2) be enrolled for at least one-half of a full course load conforming to an individual degree plan in an approved college or university; (3) be required to pay more tuition than is required at a public college or university and be charged no less than the regular tuition required of all students enrolled at the institution; (4) establish financial need in accordance with procedures and regulations of the coordinating board; (5) not be a recipient of any form of athletic scholarship; and (6) have complied with other requirements adopted by the coordinating board under this subchapter. (c) A grant to a part-time student under this section shall be made on a pro rata basis of a full-time equivalent. SECTION 15. Subchapter F, Chapter 61, Education Code, is amended by adding Section 61.2251 to read as follows: Sec. 61.2251. ELIGIBILITY FOR GRANT; PERSONS INITIALLY AWARDED GRANTS DURING OR AFTER 2005-2006 ACADEMIC YEAR. (a) This section does not apply to a person who initially received a tuition equalization grant before the 2005-2006 academic year. (b) To be eligible for a tuition equalization grant in the first academic year in which the person receives the grant, a person must: (1) be a Texas resident as defined by the coordinating board and meet, at a minimum, the resident requirements defined by law for Texas resident tuition in fully state-supported institutions of higher education; (2) be enrolled for a full course load conforming to an individual degree plan in an approved college or university; (3) be required to pay more tuition than is required at a public college or university and be charged no less than the regular tuition required of all students enrolled at the institution; (4) establish financial need in accordance with procedures and regulations of the coordinating board; (5) not be a recipient of any form of athletic scholarship; and (6) have complied with other requirements adopted by the coordinating board under this subchapter. (c) After qualifying for a tuition equalization grant under Subsection (b), a person may receive a tuition equalization grant in a subsequent academic year in which the person is enrolled at an approved institution only if the person: (1) meets the requirements of Subsection (b); (2) completed at least: (A) 24 semester credit hours in the person's most recent academic year, if the person is enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program; or (B) 18 semester credit hours in the person's most recent academic year, if the person is enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program; and (3) has earned an overall grade point average of at least 2.5 on a four-point scale or the equivalent on coursework previously attempted at public or private institutions of higher education. (d) Notwithstanding Subsections (b) and (c), a person's eligibility for a tuition equalization grant ends on: (1) the fifth anniversary of the initial award of a tuition equalization grant to the person, if the person is enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program of four years or less; or (2) the sixth anniversary of the initial award of a tuition equalization grant to the person, if the person is enrolled in an undergraduate degree program of more than four years. (e) The coordinating board shall adopt rules to allow a person who is otherwise eligible to receive a tuition equalization grant, in the event of a hardship or for other good cause shown, to receive a tuition equalization grant if the person does not: (1) complete the semester credit hours required by Subsection (c)(2); (2) maintain the grade point average required by Subsection (c)(3); or (3) complete the person's certificate or degree program within the period prescribed by Subsection (d). SECTION 16. Section 61.227, Education Code, is amended by amending Subsection (c) and adding Subsection (d) to read as follows: (c) In no event shall a tuition equalization grant paid pursuant to this subchapter in behalf of any student during any one fiscal year exceed an amount equal to 50 percent of the average state appropriation in the biennium preceding the biennium in which the grant is made for a full-time student or the equivalent at public senior colleges and universities, as determined by the board. [A grant to a part-time student shall be made on a pro-rata basis of a full-time equivalent.] (d) Notwithstanding any other law, a student enrolled in a private or independent institution of higher education may not receive a tuition equalization grant under this subchapter and a TEXAS grant under Subchapter M, Chapter 56, for the same semester or other term, regardless of whether the student is otherwise eligible for both grants during that semester or term. A student who but for this subsection would be awarded both a tuition equalization grant and a TEXAS grant for the same semester or other term is entitled to receive only the grant of the greater amount. SECTION 17. Section 56.307(h), Education Code, is repealed. SECTION 18. (a) The change in law made by this Act to Subchapter M, Chapter 56, Education Code, applies beginning with the 2005-2006 academic year, but does not affect the amount of or entitlement to any grant awarded before the effective date of this Act. (b) The changes in law made by this Act to Section 56.076, Education Code, apply only to an agreement entered into by an institution of higher education and an employer under that section on or after the effective date of this Act. (c) The changes in law made by this Act to Section 56.462, Education Code, apply to a student who is awarded an undergraduate certificate or degree on or after the effective date of this Act, without regard to when the student is awarded a Texas B-On-time loan. (d) The changes in law made by this Act by amending Sections 61.225 and 61.227, Education Code, and by adding Section 61.2251, Education Code, apply beginning with tuition equalization grants for the 2005-2006 academic year, but only for tuition equalization grants awarded on or after the effective date of this Act. A tuition equalization grant awarded before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect immediately before the effective date, and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose. SECTION 19. (a) The changes in law made by this Act to Sections 54.068 and 61.0595, Education Code, apply beginning with the 2005 fall semester. (b) Not later than May 31, 2006, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall adopt the rules required by Section 61.0515, Education Code, as added by this Act, relating to the number of semester credit hours required for completion of a baccalaureate degree program at a general academic teaching institution. (c) Not later than May 31, 2006, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall develop recommendations for the core curriculum to conform to the requirements of Section 61.822, Education Code, as amended by this Act. Each public institution of higher education in this state shall revise its core curriculum as necessary to conform to the requirements of Section 61.822, Education Code, as amended by this Act, and shall require students to comply with the institution's revised core curriculum beginning with the 2008 fall semester, except that an institution shall permit a student who was enrolled in the institution before the 2008 fall semester to comply with the core curriculum requirements applicable to that student before that semester. Each institution of higher education shall issue course catalogs that reflect the applicable core curriculum under Section 61.822, Education Code, consistent with this subsection. This subsection expires at the beginning of the 2010 fall semester. (d) The change in law made by this Act to Subsection (c), Section 61.822, Education Code, applies to students who transfer between institutions of higher education beginning with the 2008 fall semester. Students who transfer between institutions of higher education before the 2008 fall semester are covered by Subsection (c), Section 61.822, Education Code, as that subsection existed before its amendment by this Act, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose. SECTION 20. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board shall, as necessary, adopt rules consistent with Sections 52.91, 56.463, and 56.465, Education Code, as amended by this Act, as soon as practicable after this Act takes effect. For that purpose, the coordinating board may adopt the rules in the manner provided by law for emergency rules. SECTION 21. This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2005. ______________________________ ______________________________ President of the Senate Speaker of the House I certify that H.B. No. 1172 was passed by the House on May 3, 2005, by a non-record vote; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B. No. 1172 on May 26, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 140, Nays 0, 2 present, not voting. ______________________________ Chief Clerk of the House I certify that H.B. No. 1172 was passed by the Senate, with amendments, on May 24, 2005, by the following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0. ______________________________ Secretary of the Senate APPROVED: __________________ Date __________________ Governor