Differences emerge in House colleges bill


In another divergence on higher-education policy, a House subcommittee Tuesday approved a bill (HB 929) that rejects a Senate plan to create a State Board of Community Colleges to oversee the 28-school system.

Instead, the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Jake Raburn, R-Lithia, would create a study commission to review the "governance" of the state college system and report back to the Legislature by Oct. 31.

The bill, which was unanimously approved by the House Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee, also takes a different direction from the Senate bill (SB 374) on the issue of capping the number of baccalaureate students in state colleges.

Raburn's bill would limit students seeking bachelor's degrees to no more than 20 percent of the overall system enrollment.

"We're still leaving quite a bit of room for growth," Raburn said, explaining baccalaureate students only represent about 4 percent of the enrollment now.

The Senate bill would set enrollment caps for each school, triggered by whether baccalaureate students represented less than or more than 10 percent of the total students.

Raburn's bill next heads to the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, while the Senate bill is pending in the Appropriations Committee.