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Pennsylvania State Senate
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=S&SPick=20170&cosponId=25545
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 2, 2018 01:58 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument
To: All Senate members
Subject: Private Licensed School Act Update
 
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation that will provide the Commonwealth the authority to create a centralized repository for student records of institutions licensed through the “Private Licensed School Board” (PLS).

As Chairman of the Senate Education Sub-Committee on Career and Technical Education, numerous schools have expressed significant concern for Pennsylvania’s current system of student record-keeping and disposition of records for technical colleges and postsecondary trade schools that are licensed under the Private Licensed School Act (Act 174 of 1986).

In 1986, when Act 174 was first authorized, the law required schools to set up direct arrangements with other institutions to agree to house student records should a campus close. This provision of the original legislation has never been amended since, and what has happened in the last three decades is a patchwork system of student records has been created, where student records are disbursed across the state, often with no logistical or geographic reason to explain why a student record may be located where it is. In some cases, it has been difficult to locate or access the records if individuals in control of them become deceased, move, disassociate themselves to an institution, or for other reasons. The state often has no copy of these records either.

This current system has caused significant difficulty for some students who attended and/or graduated from an institution that closed when they are trying to locate where their student records are stored. It has also impacted some existing schools that are being tasked with maintaining old records for students the school never educated. It has also been difficult for the state to try and assist students and graduates when seeking records.

While there is broad support for looking at a way to change the current system to make it more centralized and accountable, the existing language of Act 174 of 1986 needs to be amended to provide the authority to change the current system.

This proposed change will provide appropriate flexibility to change the current system for the benefit of students, graduates, licensed institutions, employers looking to confirm records, and the Commonwealth by having a more uniform and accountable system to access these records. I anticipate the new record system will be electronic with appropriate safeguards to protect the privacy and security of the records.

It is also important to note this legislation will only be applicable to institutions that are licensed by the PLS and will not impact the State System of Higher Education, community colleges, state-related institutions, or independent colleges or universities.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important update to allow better record keeping for our private technical colleges and postsecondary trade schools and their students.



Introduced as SB1159