In a Senate Education Committee meeting last night, numerous committee members and higher education leaders voiced concerns on proposed legislation that would authorize nationally accredited for-profit schools to sidestep existing regulations and award any degree of their choosing, such as an academic Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree. After strong testimony highlighting the consumer protection side of the argument, it appeared that most members of the nine-person committee would be voting no on the bill.
To keep the issue alive and after conferring with proponents of the legislation, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), asked the committee to move the bill to a summer study. The committee chair, Sen. Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), then recommended that the Higher Education Oversight Committee discuss the issue this summer. The bill was then sent to General Sub, effectively stalling the bill for this year.
This avoided a roll call vote on the issue and allows the exact legislation to be revived next year. The move was a strategic one by Sen. Campfield to keep the bill alive in the Senate.
Many UT advocates took time to contact their elected officials on this issue, and it generated widespread concern in committee regarding the bill. We thank each advocate for helping protect the value of degrees from regionally accredited schools in Tennessee. Of equal value, you helped keep important consumer protections in place for prospective students.
The legislation unanimously passed in the House Education Subcommittee one week ago. The full House Education Committee has deferred action on the bill until Tuesday, April 9.
To view previous coverage on this issue, click here.