BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 386
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   May 8, 2013

                        ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
                                  Mike Gatto, Chair

                    AB 386 (Levine) - As Amended:  April 30, 2013 

          Policy Committee:                              Higher  
          EducationVote:13-0

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          No     Reimbursable:               

           SUMMARY  

          This bill allows students at the California State University  
          (CSU) to enroll in courses offered entirely online by any CSU  
          campus. Specifically, this bill:

          1)Provides that, by the 2015-16 academic year, a California  
            resident enrolled at a CSU campus may enroll for credit,  
            without formal admission and without paying additional  
            tuition, in a course provided entirely online by another CSU  
            campus.

          2)Stipulates that (1) also applies to nonresident and  
            international CSU students, but these students must pay the  
            per unit fees for such courses at the host campus.

          3)Authorizes the host campus, which is providing the online  
            course, to charge participating students from other campuses  
            reasonable administrative and course-based fees sufficient to  
            cover host's campus costs for these students' participation.

          4)Requires the CSU Chancellor's Office to establish an online  
            methodology for students to be informed of the opportunity to  
            access the online courses and to simultaneously enroll in  
            courses at the home campus and online courses at another  
            campus.

          5)Provides priority for enrollment in the online classes to  
            students from the host campus.

          6)Requires the CSU Trustees, by January 1, 2015, to establish  
            (a) an online database of online courses available at all CSU  








                                                                  AB 386
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            campuses, and (b) plans for the intrasystem cross-enrollment  
            process as described above.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          The CSU, over two years, will incur one-time General Fund costs  
          of about $1.1 million to: (a) develop systems and processes for  
          students to enroll and register in available online courses at  
          any CSU campus, including reliable and timely authentication of  
          grading and integration into student transcripts; and (b)  
          establish a reliable systemwide database of available online  
          courses and a means for students to determine course  
          availability. Ongoing GF costs are estimated at around $200,000.

          The CSU indicates that it would use existing resources plus a  
          portion of the Governor's budget augmentation (see below) to  
          implement the above changes.

          To the extent the cross-enrollment in online courses assists CSU  
          students expediting achievement of their educational goals,  
          students, the system, and the state will benefit from this  
          increased efficiency.

           COMMENTS  

           1)Background  . According to the Legislative Analyst's Office  
            (LAO), distance learning offers numerous benefits, including  
            providing greater access to educational and training  
            opportunities due to increased scheduling flexibility, as well  
            as allowing campuses to serve more students without additional  
            physical infrastructure. The Governor has encouraged the  
            segments to expand their online offerings. Specifically, his  
            2013-14 budget proposal earmarks $16.9 million to CCC and $10  
            million each to CSU and UC for this purpose.

            Launched in January 2013, CSU Online is the newest platform of  
            services that supports students and faculty in teaching and  
            learning through online programs.  CSU Online will host both  
            graduate and undergraduate programs, but has an initial focus  
            on former students who have had to drop out of the CSU and are  
            looking to complete their degrees.

           2)Purpose  . According to the author, while the CSU does permit  
            students to concurrently enroll in courses at campuses other  
            than their home campus, the option is severely underutilized.   








                                                                  AB 386
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            According to CSU, each campus currently provides its students  
            with an online registration portal allowing students to easily  
            enroll in courses provided at their home campus. Each portal  
            currently operates as an isolated entity, however, and does  
            not provide students the ability to seek and enroll in online  
            courses provided at other CSU campuses.

            This bill is supported by the CSU and by the California State  
            Student Association. 

           3)Related Legislation  . The following online education bills are  
            pending in this committee:

             a)   AB 387 (Levine) requires CSU to report performance date  
               regarding online courses.

             b)   AB 944 (Nestande) establishes a common definition of  
               distance learning course and requires data gathering and  
               reporting on such courses offered by the state public  
               postsecondary institutions.

             c)   AB 985 (Rendon) establishes a task force to examine  
               online education in California's public higher education  
               systems.

               In addition, SB 520 (Steinberg) seeks to provide a  
               statewide mechanism for online course providers to offer  
               transferable courses for credit throughout the state's  
               public postsecondary education, and SB 547 (Block) requires  
               the UC, CSU, and CCC academic senates to identify online  
               courses to be available for students of all three segments.

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916) 319-2081