THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

119

TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2013

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

REQUESTING THE AUDITOR TO CONDUCT A STUDY OF THE REGULATION OF UNACCREDITED DEGREE GRANTING INSTITUTIONS IN THE STATES.

 

 

 


†††† WHEREAS, the Legislature finds that obtaining a college degrees can cost tens of thousands of dollars and often represents a significant commitment of a familyís financial resources; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, the United States Department of Education relies, among other things, on an institutionís accreditation from a recognized accrediting agency to determine eligibility for certain federal funds; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, many employers require a degree from an accredited educational institution as a condition of employment; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, many educational institutions will not recognize a studentís degrees or credits unless the degree or credits were earned through an accredited institution; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, prospective students may be unaware of the significance of an institution's accreditation status when selecting a college or university, particularly if the institution offers a degree through distance education; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii is one of a small number of states that does not license, approve, or prohibit unaccredited degree-granting institutions; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, unaccredited degree granting universities and colleges that operate in the State are subject to the Unaccredited Degree Granting Institutions law, codified in chapter 446E, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, the State Office of Consumer Protection has been active in enforcing chapter 446E, Hawaii Revised Statutes, through the filing of numerous lawsuits; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, House Bill No. 1200, H.D. 2 (2013), proposes, among other things, to revise the state unaccredited degree granting institution law, chapter 446E, Hawaii Revised Statutes, by transferring oversight to the Postsecondary Education Commission; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, section 26H-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, requires the Auditor to review proposals to regulate professions, vocations, or occupations that are currently unregulated and to assess alternative forms of regulation; and

 

†††† WHEREAS, although unaccredited degree granting institutions are currently subject to chapter 446E, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and unaccredited degree granting institutions may not be traditionally considered a profession or vocation, a sunrise analysis under chapter 26H, Hawaii Revised Statutes, may be useful in evaluating the current and alternative forms of regulation; now, therefore,

 

†††† BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2013, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Auditor is respectfully requested to conduct a sunrise review of the regulation of unaccredited degree granting institutions, as proposed under House Bill No. 1200, H.D. 2 (2013), including an assessment of the current and alternative forms of regulation, pursuant to section 26H-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and

 

†††† BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Auditor is requested that its review include:

 

(1)† An estimate of the number of unaccredited degree granting institutions operating under chapter 446E, Hawaii Revised Statutes;

 

(2)† An estimate of the number of unaccredited degree granting institutions physically located in the State;

 

(3)† An estimate of the number of students enrolled in each unaccredited degree granting institution;

 

(4)† A review of the level of compliance by unaccredited degree granting institutions with chapter 446E, Hawaii Revised Statutes, including a review of:

 

(A)† The types of enforcement actions brought by the Office of Consumer Protection; and

 

(B)† The number of enforcement actions brought by the Office of Consumer Protection;

 

(5)† A review of the laws governing unaccredited degree granting institutions in other states, including those state laws that require all degree granting institutions to be accredited;

 

(6)† A review of best practices available for the regulation of unaccredited degree granting institutions;

 

(7)† A determination of whether regulation of unaccredited degree granting institutions should also apply to online unaccredited degree granting institutions regardless of whether the institutions are:

 

(A)† Located in Hawaii; or

 

(B)† Located out-of-state, but enroll students who are Hawaii residents; and

 

(8)† An examination of the findings in the 1993 report of the Legislative Reference Bureau, entitled Private Accreditation and State Authorization of Degree Granting and Non-Degree Granting Limitations in Hawaii, to determine whether the recommendations in the report were carried out; and

 

†††† BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Auditor is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Legislature not later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2014; and

 

†††† BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Auditor and the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:†

Unaccredited Universities and Colleges