BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                    AB 2419


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          Date of Hearing:  April 19, 2016


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION


                                 Jose Medina, Chair


          AB 2419  
          (Jones) - As Introduced February 19, 2016


          SUBJECT:  Public postsecondary education:  The New University of  
          California


          SUMMARY:  Establishes the New University of California (New UC)  
          as a segment of public higher education to provide college  
          credit and baccalaureate and associate degrees to any person  
          capable of passing appropriate examinations.  Specifically, this  
          bill:  


          1)Establishes the New UC under the administration of the New UC  
            Board of Trustees (BOT) to provide no instruction, and with  
            the limited mission of issuing college credit and  
            baccalaureate and associate degrees to any person capable of  
            passing the examinations administered by the New UC. 



          2)Provides that the goal of the New UC is for its students to  
            obtain the requisite knowledge and skills to pass the  
            examinations administered by the university from any source,  
            such as massive open online courses, the student deems  
            appropriate. 










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          3)Provides that when the student feels that he or she is ready  
            to take an examination, the student shall pay the examination  
            fee, present acceptable identification at the examination,  
            and, upon passage of the examination, receive academic credit.  
             Requires the New UC to issue the appropriate degree when a  
            student receives sufficient academic credit.



          4)Provides that New UC may contract with qualified entities for  
            the formulation of peer-reviewed course examinations the  
            passage of which would demonstrate that the student has the  
            knowledge and skill necessary to receive college credit for  
            that course.



          5)Provides that New UC may charge students a fee for the taking  
            of examinations and those fees charged may not exceed the  
            amount necessary to recover the costs of administering the  
            examination.



          6)Provides the New UC may apply for accreditation to the Western  
            Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), or a successor  
            body, or any other appropriate accrediting entity.



          7)Provides that the New UC BOT shall authorize a Chancellor to  
            grant baccalaureate and associate degrees in fields of study  
            they deem appropriate. In selecting the fields in which  
            degrees are to be awarded by the university, the board of  
            trustees shall consult the labor needs forecasts issued by the  
            Employment Development Department.










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          8)Provides that the New UC BOT shall include 11 voting members,  
            as follows:



             a)   Five ex officio members: the Governor, the Lieutenant  
               Governor, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the  
               Speaker of the Assembly, or their designees; and the person  
               named by the BOT to serve as the Chancellor; and, 



             b)   Six members of the public appointed by the Governor and  
               subject to confirmation by a majority of the membership of  
               the Senate.  Provides that the terms of two of the members  
               of the public appointed shall commence on July 1, 2017, and  
               terminate on July 1, 2019. The terms of two of the members  
               of the public appointed shall commence on July 1, 2017, and  
               terminate on July 1, 2021. The terms of two of the members  
               appointed shall commence on July 1, 2017, and terminate on  
               July 1, 2023. Thereafter, the terms of all of the members  
               of the public appointed under this paragraph shall be six  
               years.



          9)Provides that members of the BOT shall receive no salary for  
            their service, but shall be reimbursed for the expenses they  
            incur while carrying out their duties.



          10)Provides that all meetings of the board of trustees shall be  
            subject to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act.



          11)Provides that the Chancellor of the New UC shall be the chief  








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            executive officer of the university. The chancellor shall be  
            appointed by, and serve at the pleasure of, the BOT. The  
            chancellor shall be authorized to employ and fix the salaries  
            of, employees to assist him or her in carrying out the  
            functions of the university. 
          EXISTING LAW:  Establishes California's public higher education  
          segments as the California Community Colleges (CCC), the  
          California State University (CSU) and the University of  
          California (UC) with the goals of providing access to education  
          for all qualified Californians, quality teaching and programs to  
          provide students the opportunity to address issues central to  
          their full development as responsible citizens and educational  
          equity through diverse and representative student body and  
          faculty.  Each of the segments has distinct missions and  
          responsibilities, but also is required to collaborate and  
          coordinate toward California's common educational goals.   
          (Education Code Section 66000 et seq.) 


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.


          COMMENTS:  Purpose of this bill.  According to the author, "for  
          centuries and even for millennia, special knowledge has resided  
          and was created in the minds and libraries of institutions of  
          higher learning throughout the world.  Students had to travel to  
          those institutions in order to obtain that knowledge.  When the  
          institution determined that the student had obtained the  
          requisite knowledge and skills a certificate in the form of a  
          college degree was awarded to the student.


            The advent of the Internet has changed the whole concept of  
          learning.  Nearly all of the special knowledge of the world is  
          now or is quickly becoming available to anyone with access to  
          the internet.  What is sorely lacking is an institution that  
          specializes in certifying competencies - certifying that a  
          student is sufficiently knowledgeable to be deserving of a  
          college degree.  This new type of institution also needs to be  








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          of sufficient statue to provide legitimacy to the degree awarded  
          and so it needs to be created and operated by the state as  
          another segment of public higher education.


            There is no such institution under current law although most,  
          if not all, public institutions have a hint of it in the form of  
          credit by exam, such as Advanced Placement.  This new  
          institution would essentially be credit by exam on steroids."   


          Is existing credit by examination and distance learning efforts  
          insufficient?  All three segments currently have policies  
          providing for awarding alternative credit and making distance  
          education available to students for degree credit. According to  
          a 2010 Legislative Analyst Office report, Using Distance  
          Education to Increase College Access and Efficiency, distance  
          education courses are offered at virtually all CCCs.  CSU  
          reports that it offers 84 undergraduate and master's programs  
          online, over 13,000 full online and hybrid courses, and 150  
          professional development certificate programs online. In  
          addition, individual faculty and institutions throughout the  
          public postsecondary education system have voluntarily partnered  
          with private online providers to develop courses, some of which  
          are available for credit.  If the author believes existing  
          efforts are insufficient, rather than establish a New UC to  
          provide degrees solely through credit by examination it might be  
          more appropriate to expand opportunities for alternative credit  
          and distance education at the existing public segments.


          Is credit by examination a substitute for faculty and classroom  
          learning?  Credit by examination is just one of many strategies  
          possible for successfully meeting the increasing demand for  
          higher education opportunity in California.  This bill, however,  
          would allow a college associate and baccalaureate degree to be  
          granted through credit by examination; these degrees would be  
          issued with no requirements for specific coursework and  
          faculty/student engagement.  In recent years California has  








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          moved away from measuring student preparedness through a single  
          examination score.  While the author points out that a variety  
          of online sources for information exists, in general online  
          courses have shown mixed results as a tool for student learning  
          and success.  

          Quality of credit by examination degrees.  This bill would  
          authorize, but not require, the New UC to be accredited by WASC.  
           However, based on the requirements for WASC accreditation  
          (faculty, libraries, student learning outcomes, etc.) it is  
          unlikely that the New UC could obtain WASC accreditation.  In  
          the absence of accreditation, how would these degrees be valued  
          in the marketplace?  Would other institutions recognize these  
          degrees for purposes of transfer?  Would the State of California  
          recognize these degrees for purposes of licensure?      


          Funding is not provided.  According to information provided by  
          the author, the New UC would be self-sustaining through  
          examination fees.  However, costs associated with administration  
          of the examinations and, should the New UC apply, accreditation  
          by WASC could be significant.  It is unclear if the author  
          intends for fees to be sufficient to cover these additional  
          costs.  If that is the case, this would impact the affordability  
          of this option for students.  


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          None on File











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          Opposition


          California Federation of Teachers




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