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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 17, 2014 04:23 PM
From: Senator Rob Teplitz
To: All Senate members
Subject: Legislation – State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation that would give the Department of Education the authority to enter into an interstate reciprocity agreement for the provision of postsecondary distance education to students in other states.

Recently, distance learning programs have expanded across the United States in postsecondary education. Because states and territories regulate higher education within their borders, this has created a complex and expensive process for institutions that wish to secure approval in many states.

By entering into a state-level reciprocity agreement, state authorization for our institutions will be more efficient and uniform, less costly, and more effective in dealing with quality and integrity issues.

Benefits to Students

  • Expands access to educational offerings.
  • Leads to better resolution of complaints from students in participating states.
  • Reduces a rapidly growing institutional cost that is in one way or another passed along to students.
  • Enhances overall quality of distance education.
Benefits to States

  • Expands educational offerings to state residents.
  • Shifts primary oversight responsibilities from the state in which the distance education is being received to the “home state” of the institution offering the instruction.
  • Preserves state approval and oversight of on-the-ground campuses.
  • Reduces costs for institutions, lessening this particular need to raise fees and thereby supporting affordability.
Benefits to Institutions

  • Enables more efficient provision of distance education to a broader market.
  • Reduces number of applications to other states.
  • Reduces number of other-state regulations to monitor for changes.
  • Reduced costs could lend to lower fees for students.
  • Expands access to educational offerings..
Pennsylvania has some of the highest costs for public, private and community college education in the nation. Pennsylvania funds public higher education at approximately 50 percent of the national average. In Pennsylvania, an estimated 71 percent of students graduate with a debt, with the average of $32,258 per student.

This bill is part of the multi-faceted College Access Plan (CAP). CAP is a comprehensive package of legislation designed to improve student access to higher education, reduce student debt and jump-start Pennsylvania's economy.

Please join me in sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB108