HARTFORD, CT -- Today the House passed, in concurrence with the Senate, Senate Bill 26 - An Act Making Permanent the Moratorium on the Approval of Programs at Independent Institutions of Higher Education. The legislation that would make permanent the moratorium that permits independent institutions of higher education to create up to twelve new programs per year without approval from Connecticut’s Office of Higher Education (OHE).
Connecticut is one of the few states that requires some institutions of higher education to submit new curricula for program approval to OHE. Most independent institutions of higher education in the state are now operating under a moratorium that exempts up to twelve new courses from the approval process of the OHE.
“The current process of program approval has seriously hindered the ability of our private colleges and universities to be competitive for talent and respond appropriately to the needs of Connecticut businesses,” said Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield). “I stand in strong support of this legislation. It gives our institutions the flexibility they need and allows them to provide the kinds of courses our students want and need. We have seen great improvements operating under this moratorium, and it is clear this is the right way to operate as we continue into the future. It is critical to the continued success of our private university partners.”
John J. Petillo, Ph.D., President, Sacred Heart University said, "We are grateful for the leadership of our state delegation in the passage of SB 26. This will allow us to respond to shifting demographics and a changing economy with new programs in a timely manner and is a critical step in helping us work with the business community to enhance the state's economic growth and development.”
"On behalf of Fairfield University, I want to thank the members of our delegation for their unwavering support of the passage of SB 26, said Mark R Nemec, PhD, President Fairfield University. "As I stressed in my testimony before the Senate Committee in Hartford, passing this legislation allows University's to respond quickly to societal needs with innovative programming in growing fields such as STEM, data analytics, nutrition; and will continue to attract students to the state, positively affecting our economic outlook."
Rep. Brenda Kupchick, (R-132) said, “Universities need to be able to respond to the needs of students in an ever changing workforce. I’m happy to work with the Fairfield delegation to deliver this common sense flexibility”
“Both Sacred Heart and Fairfield Universities are strong assets to our community and our state. This legislation will enable them to remain at the cutting edge of offering programming that will provide strong opportunities for students to stay in Connecticut by best meeting the needs of businesses in our state,” said Rep. Laura Devlin (R-134). “I was happy to do my part in supporting this legislation.”
“Colleges and universities must be nimble and responsive to meet the ever-evolving needs of employers and provide the most effective preparation for today’s students. Making the exemption from program approval permanent will put Sacred Heart and Fairfield University in a better position to help students succeed in the workforce,” said Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey (D-Fairfield).
Fostering the success of Connecticut businesses is the key to Connecticut’s comeback, and businesses need a talent pool that is trained in the skills they need. By eliminating the requirements to go through the OHE in order to offer new programs and curricula, Connecticut colleges will no longer lose applicants who want to go to a school that already offers those courses.
SB 26 received broad support, passing the Senate 35 -1 and the House 113-34. The legislation now heads to the Governor Lamont’s desk for final action.