(1)(a) The Legislature recognizes that public and private postsecondary educational institutions play an essential role in improving the quality of life and economic well-being of the state and its residents. The Legislature also recognizes that economic development needs and the educational needs of place-bound, nontraditional students have increased the demand for local access to baccalaureate degree programs. It is therefore the intent of the Legislature to further expand access to baccalaureate degree programs through the use of 1Florida colleges.
(b) For purposes of this section, the term “district” refers to the county or counties served by a 1Florida college pursuant to s. 1000.21(3).
(2) Any 1Florida college that offers one or more baccalaureate degree programs must:
(a) Maintain as its primary mission:
1. Responsibility for responding to community needs for postsecondary academic education and career degree education as prescribed in s. 1004.65(5).
2. The provision of associate degrees that provide access to a university.
(b) Maintain an open-door admission policy for associate-level degree programs and workforce education programs.
(c) Continue to provide outreach to underserved populations.
(d) Continue to provide remedial education.
(e) Comply with all provisions of the statewide articulation agreement which relate to 2-year and 4-year public degree-granting institutions as adopted by the State Board of Education pursuant to s. 1007.23.
(f) Not award graduate credit.
(g) Not participate in intercollegiate athletics beyond the 2-year level.
(3) A 1Florida college may not terminate its associate in arts or associate in science degree programs as a result of being authorized to offer one or more baccalaureate degree programs. The Legislature intends that the primary responsibility of a 1Florida college, including a 1Florida college that offers baccalaureate degree programs, continues to be the provision of associate degrees that provide access to a university.
(a) Offer specified baccalaureate degree programs through formal agreements between the 1Florida college and other regionally accredited postsecondary educational institutions pursuant to s. 1007.22.
(b) Offer baccalaureate degree programs that were authorized by law prior to July 1, 2009.
(c) Beginning July 1, 2009, establish a first or subsequent baccalaureate degree program for purposes of meeting district, regional, or statewide workforce needs if approved by the State Board of Education under this section.
Beginning July 1, 2009, the Board of Trustees of the St. Petersburg College is authorized to establish one or more bachelor of applied science degree programs based on an analysis of workforce needs in Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando Counties and other counties approved by the Department of Education. For each program selected, St. Petersburg College must offer a related associate in science or associate in applied science degree program, and the baccalaureate degree level program must be designed to articulate fully with at least one associate in science degree program. The college is encouraged to develop articulation agreements for enrollment of graduates of related associate in applied science degree programs. The Board of Trustees of the St. Petersburg College is authorized to establish additional baccalaureate degree programs if it determines a program is warranted and feasible based on each of the factors in paragraph (5)(d). Prior to developing or proposing a new baccalaureate degree program, St. Petersburg College shall engage in need, demand, and impact discussions with the state university in its service district and other local and regional, accredited postsecondary providers in its region. Documentation, data, and other information from inter-institutional discussions regarding program need, demand, and impact shall be provided to the college’s board of trustees to inform the program approval process. Employment at St. Petersburg College is governed by the same laws that govern 1community colleges, except that upper-division faculty are eligible for continuing contracts upon the completion of the fifth year of teaching. Employee records for all personnel shall be maintained as required by s. 1012.81.
(5) The approval process for baccalaureate degree programs shall require:
(a) Each 1Florida college to submit a notice of its intent to propose a baccalaureate degree program to the Division of Florida Colleges at least 100 days before the submission of its proposal under paragraph (d). The notice must include a brief description of the program, the workforce demand and unmet need for graduates of the program, the geographic region to be served, and an estimated timeframe for implementation. Notices of intent may be submitted by a 1Florida college at any time throughout the year.
(b) The Division of Florida Colleges to forward the notice of intent within 10 business days after receiving such notice to the Chancellor of the State University System, the President of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, and the Executive Director of the Council for Independent Education. State universities shall have 60 days following receipt of the notice by the Chancellor of the State University System to submit an alternative proposal to offer the baccalaureate degree program. If a proposal from a state university is not received within the 60-day period, the State Board of Education shall provide regionally accredited private colleges and universities 30 days to submit an alternative proposal. Alternative proposals shall be submitted to the Division of Florida Colleges and must be considered by the State Board of Education in making its decision to approve or deny a 1Florida college’s proposal.
(c) An alternative proposal submitted by a state university or private college or university to adequately address:
1. The extent to which the workforce demand and unmet need described in the notice of intent will be met.
2. The extent to which students will be able to complete the degree in the geographic region proposed to be served by the 1Florida college.
3. The level of financial commitment of the college or university to the development, implementation, and maintenance of the specified degree program, including timelines.
4. The extent to which faculty at both the 1Florida college and the college or university will collaborate in the development and offering of the curriculum.
5. The ability of the 1Florida college and the college or university to develop and approve the curriculum for the specified degree program within 6 months after an agreement between the 1Florida college and the college or university is signed.
6. The extent to which the student may incur additional costs above what the student would expect to incur if the program were offered by the 1Florida college.
(d) Each proposal submitted by a 1Florida college to, at a minimum, include:
1. A description of the planning process and timeline for implementation.
2. An analysis of workforce demand and unmet need for graduates of the program on a district, regional, or statewide basis, as appropriate.
3. Identification of the facilities, equipment, and library and academic resources that will be used to deliver the program.
4. The program cost analysis of creating a new baccalaureate degree when compared to alternative proposals and other program delivery options.
5. The program’s admission requirements, academic content, curriculum, faculty credentials, student-to-teacher ratios, and accreditation plan.
6. The program’s enrollment projections and funding requirements.
7. A plan of action if the program is terminated.
(e) The Division of Florida Colleges to review the proposal, notify the 1Florida college of any deficiencies in writing within 30 days following receipt of the proposal, and provide the 1Florida college with an opportunity to correct the deficiencies. Within 45 days following receipt of a completed proposal by the Division of Florida Colleges, the Commissioner of Education shall recommend approval or disapproval of the proposal to the State Board of Education. The State Board of Education shall consider such recommendation, the proposal, and any alternative proposals at its next meeting. If the State Board of Education disapproves the 1Florida college’s proposal, it shall provide the 1Florida college with written reasons for that determination.
(f) The 1Florida college to obtain from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation as a baccalaureate-degree-granting institution if approved by the State Board of Education to offer its first baccalaureate degree program.
(g) The 1Florida college to notify the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools of subsequent degree programs that are approved by the State Board of Education and to comply with the association’s required substantive change protocols for accreditation purposes.
(6)(a) Beginning July 1, 2010, and each subsequent July 1, the Division of Florida Colleges may accept and review applications from a 1Florida college to obtain an exemption from the State Board of Education’s approval for subsequent degrees as required in subsection (5), if the 1Florida college is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a baccalaureate-degree-granting institution and has been offering baccalaureate degree programs for 3 or more years. The division shall develop criteria for determining eligibility for an exemption based upon demonstrated compliance with the requirements for baccalaureate degrees, primary mission, and fiscal, including, but not limited to:
1. Obtaining and maintaining appropriate SACS accreditation;
2. The maintenance of qualified faculty and institutional resources;
3. The maintenance of enrollment projections in previously approved programs;
4. The appropriate management of fiscal resources;
5. Compliance with the primary mission and responsibility requirements in subsections (2) and (3);
6. The timely submission of the institution’s annual performance accountability report; and
7. Other indicators of success such as program completers, placements, and surveys of students and employers.
(b) If the 1Florida college has demonstrated satisfactory progress in fulfilling the eligibility criteria in this subsection, the Division of Florida Colleges may recommend to the State Board of Education that the institution be exempt from the requirement in subsection (5) for approval of future baccalaureate degree programs. The State Board of Education shall review the division’s recommendation and determine if an exemption is warranted. If the State Board of Education approves the application, the 1Florida college is exempt from subsequent program approval under subsection (5) and such authority is delegated to the 1Florida college board of trustees. If the State Board of Education disapproves of the 1Florida college’s request for an exemption, the college shall continue to be subject to the State Board of Education’s approval of subsequent baccalaureate degree programs.
(c) Prior to developing or proposing a new baccalaureate degree program, all 1Florida colleges, regardless of an exemption from subsection (5), shall:
1. Engage in need, demand, and impact discussions with the state university in their service district and other local and regional, accredited postsecondary providers in their region.
2. Send documentation, data, and other information from the inter-institutional discussions regarding program need, demand, and impact required in subparagraph 1. to the college’s board of trustees, the Division of Florida Colleges, and the Chancellor of the State University System.
3. Base board of trustees approval of the new program upon the documentation, data, and other information required in this paragraph and the factors in subsection (5)(d).
The Division of Florida Colleges shall use the documentation, data, and other information required in this subsection, including information from the Chancellor of the State University System, in its compliance review.
(d) The board of trustees of a 1Florida college that is exempt from subsection (5) must submit newly approved programs to the Division of Florida Colleges and SACS within 30 days after approval.
(e) Within 30 days after receiving the approved baccalaureate degree program, the Division of Florida Colleges shall conduct a compliance review and notify the college if the proposal meets the criteria for implementation based upon the criteria in paragraphs (5)(d) and (6)(c). If the program fails to meet the criteria for implementation as determined by the Division of Florida Colleges, the college may not proceed with implementation of the program until the State Board of Education reviews the proposal and the compliance materials and gives its final approval of the program.
(7) The State Board of Education shall adopt rules to prescribe format and content requirements and submission procedures for notices of intent, proposals, and alternative proposals under subsection (5).
History.—s. 363, ch. 2002-387; s. 122, ch. 2007-217; s. 7, ch. 2007-246; s. 7, ch. 2009-228.
1Note.—Section 21, ch. 2010-70, directs the Division of Statutory Revision to prepare a reviser’s bill to substitute the term “Florida College System institution” for the terms “Florida college,” “community college,” and “junior college” where those terms appear in the Florida K-20 Education Code.