BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Carol Liu, Chair
                           2013-2014 Regular Session

          BILL NO:       AB 386
          AUTHOR:        Levine
          AMENDED:       May 28, 2013
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  July 3, 2013
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:Kathleen Chavira

           SUBJECT  :  California State University online education.

          This bill authorizes any California State University (CSU)  
          student enrolled at a CSU campus, who meets specified  
          requirements, to enroll in an online course provided by  
          another CSU campus, requires the CSU Trustees to establish  
          an easily accessible online database of these courses by  
          January 1, 2015, and requires the Trustees to report key  
          performance data on online courses, as specified, to the  
          Legislature by January 1, 2017, and every two years  


          Current law authorizes a student enrolled in any campus of  
          the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State  
          University, or the University of California to who meets  
          specified requirements to enroll, without formal admission  
          and payment of additional fees, in a maximum of one course  
          per academic term at a campus of either of the other  
          systems on a space available basis, as specified.  
          (Education Code  66751)

          Current law provides that a student enrolled in any campus  
          of the CCC, CSU, or UC may cross-enroll if they meet the  
          following requirements:

             1)   The student completed at least one term at the home  
               campus as a matriculated student and is taking at  
               least 6 units at the home campus during the current  

             2)   The student has attained a 2.0 grade point average.


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             3)   The student has paid appropriate tuition and/or  
               fees required by the home campus for that academic  

             4)   The student has the appropriate academic  
               preparation for the course, as determined by the host  
               campus, consistent with the standard applied to  
               currently enrolled students. (EC  66752)

          Current law prohibits the host campus from counting the  
          cross-enrolled student in the calculation of its headcount  
          or full-time equivalent student enrollment. The home campus  
          is authorized to count these students in its calculation of  
          headcount or full-time equivalent student enrollment only  
          for those units in which the student is enrolled at the  
          home campus. (EC  66753.5)

           This bill  :

          1)   Authorizes, by the beginning of the 2015-16 academic  
               year, a student who meets specified requirements to  
               enroll, without formal admission and without paying  
               additional tuition and fees, in a course provided  
               entirely online by another California State University  
               (CSU) campus on a space-available basis.

          2)   Requires a student to meet the following requirements  
               for enrollment:

                    a)             Be enrolled at a CSU campus.

                    b)             Attain a 2.0 GPA.

                    c)             Pay appropriate tuition and/or  
                    fees for full time enrollment for the academic  
                    term in which they intend to enroll.

                    d)             Have no outstanding tuition/fees  
                    to be paid at the home campus.

          3)   Establishes the following requirements and authorities  


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               for cross enrollment in online courses at the CSU:

                    a)             Authorizes nonresident and  
                    international CSU students who meet the  
                    conditions outlined in #2 to cross-enroll, but  
                    requires that these students pay the per unit  
                    fees for the course at the host campus.

                    b)             Authorizes a host campus to charge  
                    participating students a reasonable  
                    administration fee and specific course-based  
                    fees, as specified.

                    c)             Requires the Chancellor's office  
                    to establish an online methodology to allow  
                    students to be informed of the online  
                    cross-enrollment option and to simultaneously  
                    enroll in both home and host campuses.

                    d)             Requires a matriculated CSU  
                    student to have priority access to, and  
                    enrollment opportunity in, online courses at  
                    his/her home campus, while requiring host  
                    campuses to adopt a campus enrollment policy that  
                    encourages cross-enrollment. 

                    e)             Requires that the course be  
                    accepted for credit at the home campus on the  
                    same basis as that for a matriculated student at  
                    the host campus. 
                    f)             Authorizes the host campus to  
                    count cross-enrolled students in the calculation  
                    of headcount or full-time equivalent student  
                    enrollment at the host campus, but limits both  
                    the home and host campus to counting a  
                    cross-enrolled student only for those units in  
                    which the student is enrolled at each respective  

                    g)             Requires the Trustees to establish  
                    an easily accessible online database of online  
                    courses available at all California State  
                    University (CSU) campuses that provides a  
                    streamlined method of finding and enrolling in  


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                    courses that lead toward graduation, general  
                    education and major requirements, as well as plan  
                    for a 2015-16 operational intrasystem  
                    cross-enrollment process by January 1, 2015.

          4)   Establishes the following reporting related  
               requirements for measuring the effectiveness of online  
               education at the CSU:

                    a)             Requires the Trustees to establish  
                    a series of uniform definitions for online  
                    education, as specified, by January 1, 2015.

                    b)             Requires the Trustees to report  
                    key performance data on online courses (to be  
                    made available by demographics, including age,  
                    gender, and ethnicity) to the Legislature, to  
                    include, but not be limited to the number of  
                    students enrolled at each campus, course  
                    completion rates for both online courses and  
                    other than online courses, completion rates for  
                    degree programs that include online courses and  
                    those that do not, the grade point average for  
                    students enrolled in online courses, and the  
                    number of students cross-enrolled in online  
                    courses at a CSU campus other than the campus at  
                    which they are matriculated, by January 1, 2017,  
                    and on or before January 1 every two years  

                    c)             Deletes these reporting  
                    requirements on July 1, 2021.

          5)   Requires the CSU Trustees to report to the  
               Legislature, on or before January 1, 2015, on the  
               feasibility of developing an accelerated bachelor's  
               degree completion program consisting of online  
               courses, aimed at students who started college but  
               never obtained a degree.

          6)   Defines various terms for purposes of the bill.

          7)   Makes a number of related findings and declarations.


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          STAFF COMMENTS  

           1)   Need for the bill.   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. The CSU reports that  
               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  
               California State University (CSU) campuses.

           2)   Language based on cross enrollment in regular  
               classrooms  . The provisions of this bill parallel the  
               current statutes governing cross-enrollment across the  
               public postsecondary education system. The  
               requirements that are to be met by students for  
               enrollment in online courses are essentially the same  
               as those for regular courses. But are these courses  
               the same? 

               According to a study by the Columbia University  
               College Research Center, "Adaptability Online  
               Learning: Differences Across Types of Students and  
               Academic Subject Areas", all students who take more  
               online courses, no matter the demographic, are less  
               likely to attain a degree, and some groups, including  
               black, male, younger and lower grade-point-average  
               students are particularly susceptible to this pattern.  
               The study was based on a dataset of nearly 500,000  
               courses taken by over 40,000 community and technical  
               college students in Washington State in fall 2004.  
               According to the researchers, their findings support  
               the notion that students are not homogenous in their  
               adaptability to the online delivery format and may  
               have substantially different outcomes for online  
               learning, and that these patterns suggest that  
               performance gaps between key demographic groups  
               already observed in face-to-face settings are  
               exacerbated in online courses. 

               Online education is one of many strategies possible  


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               for successfully meeting the increasing demand for  
               higher education opportunity in California. Is online  
               education the objective or is it simply a tool? Recent  
               policy discussion around our public institutions has  
               acknowledged that while California has traditionally  
               been committed to access, we have not always ensured  
               student success. Should the criteria for online cross  
               enrollment be the same for regular cross enrollment  
               courses? Can we expect students that meet these  
               criteria to successfully complete these courses?

               Staff recommends the bill be amended to additionally  
               require that each campus of the CSU inform potential  
               students of the technical requirements a student must  
               satisfy in order to successfully participate in and  
               complete the online courses, the necessary academic  
               preparation for the online course, and to inform  
               students of any other necessary elements to ensure  
               their success in an online course.

           3)   Need for an independent analysis/evaluation  . This bill  
               currently requires the CSU to report specified  
               information on online courses to the Legislature.  
               However, an independent analysis and evaluation may be  
               a better way of assessing the CSU's progress in making  
               online cross enrollment opportunities available to  
               matriculated students as well as the effectiveness of  
               this strategy for increasing persistence, completion  
               and graduation rates. 

               Staff recommends the bill be amended to require the  
               CSU to report the key performance data to the  
               Legislative Analyst by January 1, 2017 and to require  
               the Legislative Analyst Office to provide a status  
               update on CSU's implementation of the bill's  
               provisions and an assessment of the extent to which  
               CSU's online programs are operating in a manner  
               consistent with legislative intent and requirements by  
               October 2017. 

           4)   Related budget action  . The Governor's 2013-14 proposed  
               budget included funding to expand the delivery of  
               higher education courses through the use of  
               technology. The proposal provided a $16.9 million  


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               augmentation to the community colleges and a set aside  
               of $10 million each in the University of California  
               (UC) and California State University (CSU) budget to  
               increase the number of online courses available to  
               matriculated undergraduates, specifically those  
               courses that have the highest demand, fill quickly,  
               and are prerequisites for many different degrees. The  
               proposal also stipulated that courses must be aimed at  
               advanced students who are likely to succeed in these  
               types of courses.
                The Budget Act (AB 110, Chapter 20, Budget Act of  
               2013) was signed by the Governor on June 27, 2013.  
               However, while the Governor included the $20 million  
               he had allocated for purposes of expanding online  
               courses at the UC and CSU, the final budget deleted  
               the requirement that these funds be expended for  
               online courses. The Governor cited concerns that the  
               requirements to expend funds for this purpose would  
               create cost pressures and unnecessary restrictions and  
               that elimination of these earmarks would give both the  
               UC and the CSU greater flexibility to manage resources  
               to meet obligations, operate instructional programs  
               more effectively, and avoid tuition and fee increases.  

               Staff notes that the provisions deleted by the  
               Governor closely parallel the provisions of this bill.  

           5)   Similar legislation . Several bills addressing  
               postsecondary online education were introduced this  
               session.  These include:

               a)        SB 520 (Steinberg) creates an incentive  
                    grant program to assist faculty and individual  
                    campuses of the UC and the CSU and the CCC to  
                    provide increased opportunities for students to  
                    take online courses. SB 520 is currently awaiting  
                    action in Assembly Higher Education. 

               b)        SB 547 (Block) requires the academic senates  
                    of the UC, the CSU, and the California Community  
                    Colleges to jointly develop and identify online  


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                    courses available for enrollment by matriculated  
                    students at each of the three segments by fall of  
                    2014. SB 547 was heard and passed by this  
                    committee by a vote of 9-0 in April 2013, but was  
                    subsequently held under submission in the  
                    Assembly Appropriations Committee.

               c)        AB 387 (Levine) requires the California  
                    State University (CSU) to report performance data  
                    for students taking online courses. AB 387 was  
                    held under submission in the Assembly  
                    Appropriations Committee, but some of its  
                    provisions were incorporated into 
                    AB 386, which is before the committee today. 

               d)        AB 895 (Rendon) establishes the California  
                    Postsecondary Online Education Task Force to  
                    evaluate and collect data on the current status  
                    of postsecondary online education. AB 895 was  
                    held under submission in the Assembly  
                    Appropriations Committee. 

               e)        AB 944 (Nestande) requires the Trustees of  
                    the CSU and the Board of Governors of the  
                    California Community Colleges, and requests the  
                    Regents of the University of California, to  
                    report to the Legislature, by January 1, 2016,  
                    and every two years thereafter, on workload and  
                    key performance data on distance learning  
                    courses. AB 944 was held under submission in the  
                    Assembly Appropriations Committee.


          California State University


           None on file.