BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 968

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          968 (Williams)

          As Enrolled  September 15, 2015

          2/3 vote

          |ASSEMBLY:  |80-0  |(June 3, 2015) |SENATE: |39-0  |(September 9,    |
          |           |      |               |        |      |2015)            |
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          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |

          |ASSEMBLY:  |78-0  |(September 10, |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |2015)          |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |
          |           |      |               |        |      |                 |

          Original Committee Reference:  HIGHER ED.

          SUMMARY:  Requires California public and private educational  
          institutions to indicate on student transcripts when a student  
          has been suspended or expelled.  Specifically, this bill:  

          1)Establishes the following findings and declarations:


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             a)   At public and private colleges and universities across  
               California, the student academic transcript is recognized  
               as the official record of a student's academic progress  
               from admission until separation from the institution;

             b)   The transcript is often the only document that must  
               accompany a student in the process of transferring to  
               another institution, and it is thus important for both  
               students and institutions that the transcript accurately  
               reflects the student's performance;

             c)   A violation of a student code of conduct, including the  
               commission of sexual assault, can result in a student being  
               temporarily or permanently separated from an institution;

             d)   Significant inconsistencies exist in current policies  
               and practices related to the notation of disciplinary  
               dismissals on student transcripts;

             e)   The absence of this pertinent information can put a  
               receiving institution and its students at risk, and may  
               raise liability concerns for the institution from which the  
               student transfers; and,

             f)   The disclosure of student suspensions and expulsions on  
               student transcripts ensures the integrity and transparency  
               of student transcripts and the safety and security of  
               California campuses.

          2)Requires the governing board of each community college  
            district (CCD), the Trustees of the California State  


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            University (CSU), the Regents of the University of California  
            (UC), the governing body of each independent institution of  
            higher education, and the governing body of each private  
            postsecondary educational institution to indicate when a  
            student is ineligible to reenroll due to suspension or  
            expulsion on the student's transcript for the period of time  
            the student is ineligible to reenroll.

          3)Provides, for CCDs only, the aforementioned requirement to  
            become operative on July 1, 2016.

          4)Provides for reimbursement to CCD's if the Commission on State  
            Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by  
            the state.

          The Senate amendments delay implementation for CCDs until July  
          1, 2016 and add coauthors.

          EXISTING LAW:  Requires the UC Regents, the CSU Trustees, and  
          the governing board of every CCD to adopt specific rules  
          governing student behavior and applicable penalties for  
          violations of the rules; institutions must also adopt procedures  
          by which students are informed of rules and associated  
          penalties.  (Education Code Section 66300)

          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, costs likely ranging from about $200,000 to $300,000  
          for CCCs to develop and implement the required notation on  
          student transcripts.  These costs could be required to be  
          reimbursed by the state if the Commission on State Mandates  
          determines this bill to impose a state mandate.  If determined a  
          mandate, it could create pressure to increase the CCC mandate  
          block grant to reflect the new mandate (Proposition 98 of 1988).  
           UC and CSU do not anticipate additional costs.  


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          COMMENTS:  Purpose of this bill.  According to the author,  
          ensuring that the various university campuses are communicating  
          with each other is a vital step toward providing a safe learning  
          environment for students.  A standard notation on a student's  
          transcript will notify the university to perform a background  
          check on the potential transfer student so they can best  
          determine whether they should enroll the student into their  

          Existing practice among California's public institutions.   
          California's public postsecondary education institutions do not  
          currently follow a standard method of noting on an academic  
          transcript when a student is suspended or expelled.  UC makes a  
          general notation when a student is expelled.  CSU makes a  
          general notation if the student is expelled, or suspended for  
          one academic year or more.  Committee staff understands that  
          CCDs provide for a notation on the transcript if a student was  
          expelled for academic reasons, but that there is no standard for  
          notations for students expelled for reasons other than academic  
          deficiencies.  This bill would require all California  
          institutions, public and private, to indicate when a student is  
          ineligible to reenroll due to suspension or expulsion on the  
          student's transcript for the period of time the student is  
          ineligible to reenroll.  

          National standard.  The Association for Student Conduct  
          Administration (ASCA), a national membership based organization  
          that provides education and resources to facilitate best  
          practices of student conduct administration and conflict  
          resolution on college campuses, recommends that all institutions  
          place an appropriate notation on an academic transcript to  
          indicate when a student is ineligible to re-enroll at that  
          institution as a consequence of disciplinary action.  


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          ASCA notes that transcript notations are important, but will not  
          be effective at reducing the risk of violence to a campus absent  
          a comprehensive approach to admissions, review of information,  
          and appropriate action based on that review.  Thus, ASCA also  
          recommends that institutions:

          1)Ask key questions to solicit information about a potential  
            student's conduct and/or criminal history prior to being  
            admitted to the institution;  

          2)Have systemic ways to review and utilize this information in  
            relevant admission decisions, as well as to promote individual  
            student success and safer campus communities; 

          3)Develop and communicate procedures explaining the notation,  
            duration of notation, and retention and release of records;  

          4)Communicate these practices to students through their  
            appropriate institutional privacy or other record policies,  
            including via website to current and prospective students. 


          The bill would require all public and private postsecondary  
          educational institutions to note suspension or expulsion on a  
          student's transcript for the period of time the student is  
          ineligible to reenroll at the institution.

          Colleges currently have the ability to make a notation if a  
          student is suspended or expelled, and community colleges already  
          may deny or conditionally admit a student who has previously  
          been expelled or is under expulsion proceedings. If further  
          protection is needed to screen transfer applications, that is  
          something best left to individual colleges themselves.


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          Campus safety is a serious issue - one that has received much  
          attention and led to several changes in law and policy.  
          Increased vigilance may still be necessary, but I would caution  
          against overcorrections that could result in some individuals  
          being marked for the rest of their lives.

          While the desire to provide students with safe campuses is  
          well-intentioned, I am not prepared to support this mandate.

          Analysis Prepared by:                                             
                          Laura Metune / HIGHER ED. / (916) 319-3960  FN: