Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of SB3441
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Full Text of SB3441  98th General Assembly


Sen. Pat McGuire

Filed: 3/18/2014





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2    AMENDMENT NO. ______. Amend Senate Bill 3441 by replacing
3everything after the enacting clause with the following:
4    "Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Higher Education Distance Learning Act.
6    Section 5. Legislative declaration of public policy. In
7recent years, distance education offered by institutions of
8higher learning has been increasing, with such distance
9education being offered on an interstate basis by many
10institutions of higher learning. Often, students participate
11in such education in states where the institution of higher
12learning maintains no actual physical presence. Both the
13regulation and the availability of institutions of higher
14learning to participate in distance learning have been hampered
15by multi-jurisdictional differences between the states and
16uneven regulation among the states for the same programs.



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1Various multi-state compacts have addressed this problem by
2creating a voluntary system of interstate reciprocity for
3institutions of higher learning to streamline authorization
4and regulations for institutions of higher learning that
5voluntarily agree to participate in a reciprocity program. The
6provision of such distance education is declared to affect the
7public safety and welfare and to be subject to regulation and
8control in the public interest. It is further the public policy
9of this State that such a program of reciprocity be made
10available on a voluntary basis to participating institutions of
11higher learning and that any other institutions of higher
12learning that choose not to participate continue to be
13regulated under current laws and rules that govern distance
15    Section 10. Definitions. In this Act:
16    "Board" means the Board of Higher Education.
17    "Distance learning" means instruction offered by any means
18where the student and faculty member are in separate physical
19locations. It includes, but is not limited to, online,
20interactive video or correspondence courses or programs.
21    "Home state" means the state that regulates a participating
22institution and its distance learning programs. A state cannot
23be the "home state" unless the institution of higher learning
24either has a physical presence in that state or holds its
25principal institutional accreditation in that state.



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1    "Participation agreement" means the agreement that each
2participating institution is required to sign and abide by in
3order to take advantage of the reciprocity agreement.
4    "Participating institution" means any institution of
5higher learning that offers an associate's degree or higher, in
6whole or in part, through distance learning and has voluntarily
7or willingly entered into a participation agreement to be
8regulated by a participating home state with respect to
9institutional and program approval, complaints, and
10institutional and program reviews.
11    "Physical presence" means on-going occupation of a
12physical location for instructional purposes or maintenance of
13an administrative office to facilitate instruction.
14    "State" means any state, commonwealth, district, or
15territory of the United States that is a participant in good
16standing in a state authorization reciprocity agreement.
17    "State authorization reciprocity agreement" or
18"reciprocity agreement" means a voluntary agreement that
19establishes reciprocity between willing states for approval of
20postsecondary educational services delivered by distance
21learning beyond state boundaries.
22    Section 15. Authorization. The Board is authorized to
23participate in a state authorization reciprocity agreement on
24behalf of this State. The Board shall be the lead agency in
25coordinating interstate reciprocity for distance learning for



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1participating institutions in this State.
2    Section 20. Illinois as the home state. If this State has
3been designated as the home state for a participating
4institution, then the Board shall approve, investigate,
5authorize, monitor, and establish common standards,
6reauthorize, establish, and investigate complaints, and attend
7to other administrative matters involving distance learning,
8including complaints from students and others in this State and
9from other states where the participating institutions are
10offering distance learning under a reciprocity agreement.
11    Section 25. Illinois as the reciprocal state. If another
12state has been designated as the home state, a participating
13institution has received required approval, the participating
14institution has no physical presence in this State, and the
15participating institution does not hold its principal
16institutional accreditation in this State, then the Board shall
17allow such participating institution to offer distance
18learning in this State under a participation agreement
19authorized by this Act. The Board may not charge a fee for
20granting such reciprocal distance learning approval.
21    However, if the participating institution has another home
22state, but also has a physical presence in this State or has
23its principal institutional accreditation in this State, the
24Board may regulate the institution of higher learning and its



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1distance learning programs in this State and is not bound by
2the reciprocity agreement.
3    Section 30. Application of the Act. This Act applies only
4to distance learning programs and does not affect other
5approvals of institutions of higher learning or programs
6required under the laws of this State, nor does it affect any
7exemptions of institutions of higher learning or programs
8granted by the laws of this State. However, except as required
9in Section 25 of this Act, any participating institution that
10remains eligible and in good standing under this Act is not
11required to obtain any other approval for distance learning
12required by State law, unless the institution of higher
13learning withdraws and is removed from this reciprocity
15    Section 35. Fees. Fees to cover the cost of administration
16and enforcement of this Act shall be set by the Board by rule.
17    Section 40. Distance Learning Fund. The Distance Learning
18Fund is created as a special fund in the State treasury. All
19fees collected for the administration and enforcement of this
20Act shall be deposited into the Fund. All money in the Fund
21shall be used, subject to appropriation, by the Board to
22supplement support for the administration and enforcement of
23this Act and may not be used for any other purpose.



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1    Section 45. Student refund policy. The Board, by rule,
2shall establish minimum standards for a fair and equitable
3policy that governs refunds for students, which must be
4required for all participating institutions subject to this
6    Section 50. Equitable treatment of students. Students who
7are enrolled in institutions of higher learning governed by
8this Act, either because they are residents of the home state
9or because they are residents of participating reciprocal
10states, and who receive services from the Board under this Act
11are entitled to the same remedies, services, and redress under
12this Act, regardless of their state of residency.
13    Section 90. Rules. The Board shall adopt rules for the
14execution of the powers and duties delegated to it by this Act,
15including, but not limited to, minimum standards for
16institutions of higher learning.
17    Section 500. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
18Section 5.855 as follows:
19    (30 ILCS 105/5.855 new)
20    Sec. 5.855. The Distance Learning Fund.".