BILL ANALYSIS Ó Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary Senator Kevin de León, Chair SB 520 (Steinberg) - California Online Student Access Platform Amended: April 25, 2013 Policy Vote: Education 8-0 Urgency: No Mandate: Yes Hearing Date: May 23, 2013 Consultant: Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez SUSPENSE FILE. AS PROPOSED TO BE AMENDED. Bill Summary: SB 520 creates an incentive grant program to assist faculty and individual campuses of the University of California (UC), the California State University (CSU), and the California Community Colleges (CCC), to provide increased opportunities for students to take online courses, as specified. Fiscal Impact: Unknown, potentially substantial ongoing costs, depending on the amount of the incentive grants and the extent of their use. Background: Existing law requires the CCC, the UC, and the CSU, with appropriate consultation with the Academic Senates of the respective segments, to jointly develop, maintain, and disseminate a common core curriculum in general education courses for the purposes of transfer. Existing law further provides that any person who has successfully completed the transfer core curriculum is deemed to have completed all lower division general education requirements for the UC and the CSU. This transfer core curriculum is commonly referred to as "IGETC" - the Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum. (Education Code § 66721) Existing law establishes the CVC, until January 1, 2014, and outlines the purposes that it may pursue. Among other things, the CVC issues grants and recipients may use the grants to lead efforts to make online courses available to students across the state. (EC § 78910.10) Proposed Law: SB 520 establishes the Platform and provides that it be developed and administered jointly by the segments. This SB 520 (Steinberg) Page 1 bill further provides that the Platform: a) Facilitate appropriate partnerships, including but not necessarily limited to intersegmental and intrasegmental partnerships and partnerships between online course providers and faculty members of the segments to develop and deploy high-quality online options for strategically selected lower division courses. b) Provide statewide facilitation of intersegmental and intrasegmental partnerships developed pursuant to the provisions of SB 547 (Block) and appropriate partnerships between UC, CSU, and CCC faculty and online course technology providers, to offer transferable courses for credit. c) Create a pool of up to 50 approved and transferable online credit courses. d) Provide a state-level faculty-led process that places the highest priority on educational quality through which online courses can be subjected to high-quality standards and review. In order to accomplish those objectives, this bill requires the President of the UC, the Chancellor of the CSU, and the Chancellor of the CCC, jointly with each of their academic senates to: a) Develop a list of the 50 most impacted lower division courses at each of the segments that are deemed necessary for program completion, for meeting general education requirements, or in areas defined as high-demand transferable lower division courses under IGETC. b) For any courses that meet the criteria in (a), facilitate partnerships including, but not necessarily limited to, intersegmental and intrasegmental partnerships developed pursuant to the provisions of SB 547 (Block) and partnerships between online course technology providers and UC, CSU, and CCC faculty with the goal of significantly SB 520 (Steinberg) Page 2 increasing online course options for students for fall term of the 2014-15 academic year. c) Create and administer a standardized review and approval process for online courses developed, as specified. This bill further specifies that the courses developed are for matriculated students at the UC, CSU, CCC, or for California high school students, and: a) Prohibits the approval of any course for this purpose unless it is associated with a faculty sponsor who is a member of the faculty at the UC, CSU, or CCC, and is approved by the academic senate of the appropriate segment. b) Provides that a course developed pursuant to these processes be deemed to meet the lower division transfer and degree requirements for the segments. c) Requires the regular solicitation and consideration of advice and guidance on implementation of the Platform from the statewide student associations. d) Requires the collection, review and public availability of data and information related to student success including enrollment, retention and completion. Requires the placement of approved courses in the CVC, and extends the sunset on the CVC until January 1, 2017. This bill also requires that funding for implementation of these provisions be provided in the Annual Budget Act, and declares the Legislature's intent that receipt of funding for implementing these provisions by the UC is contingent upon its compliance with the bill's requirements. This bill prohibits the use of public funds to fund any private aspect of a partnership developed pursuant to the bill's provisions between UC, CSU, or CCC faculty and an online course technology provider. It also requires that the state retain all appropriate rights to intellectual property it creates or develops in the implementation of the bill's provisions. Related Legislation: SB 547 (Block) requires the academic SB 520 (Steinberg) Page 3 senates of the UC, CSU, and CCC to jointly develop and identify online courses available for enrollment by matriculated students at each of the three segments by fall of 2014, as specified, and requires that the Board of Governors of the CCC create a portal for enrolling in these courses through the CVC. This bill is currently on the Suspense File in this Committee. Staff Comments: This bill would provide public funding to faculty and the administration at the UC, CSU, and CCC and require the use of that funding to develop and administer the Platform to facilitate the development of partnerships, including those developed under the provisions of SB 547 (Block), to develop up to 50 courses that would be offered to matriculated students at the public segments and to California high school students through the CVC by the fall of 2014 for purposes of meeting lower division general education degree and transfer requirements. The upfront costs of this bill are unclear, because the implementation path is unclear. This bill places the governance and administration jointly with both the academic senates and the heads of each segment. It also specifies that up to 50 courses be developed, and that a course can only be developed if it has a faculty sponsor at one of the segments, is approved by the academic senate of the appropriate segment, and is deemed to meet the lower division transfer and degree requirements for each segment. While the bill clearly requires substantial upfront collaboration work on the part of the segments, the costs could vary widely based upon how successful they are in producing results that meet the various tests for allowing courses to move forward. Considering the segments' resistance to the bill expressed in public testimony during the Senate Education Committee and recent letters to this Committee, it is unclear that consensus will be reached sufficient to develop courses that meet the tests. To the extent that courses are created, they will require significant staff time from each segment to develop and approve them. The CCC estimates that its faculty costs will range from $50,000 to $100,000 per course; CSU and UC are likely to have higher costs because their faculty members are typically paid more. Ongoing administration of the Platform will result in annual costs to each of the segments of hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, depending on a segment's SB 520 (Steinberg) Page 4 level of involvement, the scope of the project, and the number of courses created and evaluated. This bill also requires that the Platform provide students with services such as instructional support, faculty interaction, student assessment, and adaptive learning technology. This level of service will require the use of an LMS. The cost for a common LMS for the CCC is about $13 million for the first year and around $7.2 million in subsequent years; across three segments, the cost is likely to double (accounting for both expansion and the efficiencies of building just one LMS). This bill places course delivery in the CVC; the CCC-administered CVC would be the portal through which students access the courses. This bill would expand the CVC's purposes, and extends the sunset on the CVC until January 1, 2017. The CCC has indicated that the cost of the expansion would $1.4 million in the first year, and $1 million annually for each subsequent year. This bill only extends the sunset of the CVC to 2017, but it is likely that if this program is developed there will be cost pressure to continue it. AS PROPOSED TO BE AMENDED: Amend per author to remove requirements on the segments and to create an incentive grant program to further online course creation and utilization, as specified.