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  

          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  
          (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