2023 Regular Session
To: Universities and Colleges
By: Representative Scoggin
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 37-101-241 AND 37-101-243, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE AUTHORITY TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING TO APPOINT STAFF TO ASSIST AND PROVIDE NECESSARY FACILITIES, SUPPORT AND OTHER SERVICES TO FURTHER THE PROPER MANAGEMENT OF THE DUTIES OF THE MISSISSIPPI COMMISSION ON COLLEGE ACCREDITATION; TO PERMIT THE BOARD TO CHARGE THE COMMISSION FOR THE ACTUAL COSTS INCURRED TO PROVIDE STAFFING AND SUPPORT ASSISTANCE; TO CLARIFY THE POWER AND AUTHORITY GRANTED TO THE COMMISSION; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 37-101-241, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-101-241. (1) There is
hereby created the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation. * * *
The commission shall be composed of
the Executive Director of the Mississippi Community College Board, the
Commissioner of Higher Education, or their designees, and three (3) additional
members, one (1) of whom shall be selected by the foregoing two (2) members and
who shall represent the private colleges within the state, and two (2) of whom
shall be selected by the Mississippi Association of Colleges. The latter three
(3) members shall each serve for a term of three (3) years.
(2) The commission shall meet and organize by electing from among its membership a chairman, a vice chairman and a secretary. The commission shall keep full and complete minutes and records of all its proceedings and actions.
(3) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning shall appoint staff as may be required for the performance of the commission's duties and provide necessary facilities, support, equipment, supplies, travel and other expenses required to properly manage the duties of the commission.
(4) The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning may charge the commission for the actual cost incurred by the Board to assist in the performance of the commission's duties.
( * * *
5) The commission shall have the power
and authority, and it shall be its duty, to * * * authorize and maintain an
approved list of * * * all public and
private postsecondary, academic degree-granting institutions or any other
entities domiciled, incorporated or otherwise located in the State of Mississippi
which offer postsecondary academic degrees, programs or coursework. For
purposes of this chapter, "domiciled" shall mean conducting
postsecondary academic activity, including field placements, within the State
of Mississippi. Postsecondary academic degrees include, but are not
limited to, associate, bachelor, masters and doctorate degrees. The
commission shall adopt standards which are in keeping with the best educational
practices in accreditation and receive reports from the institutions seeking to
be placed on the approved list.
( * * *
6) The above-described community,
junior and senior colleges and universities or other entities must be
approved annually by the commission in order to grant diplomas of graduation,
degrees or offer instruction.
( * * *
7) The commission shall petition the
chancery court of the county in which a person or agent offers one or more
postsecondary academic degrees subject to the provisions of this chapter or
advertises for the offering of such degrees without having first obtained
approval by the commission, for an order enjoining such offering or
advertising. The court may grant such injunctive relief upon a showing that
the respondent named in the petition is offering or advertising one or more
postsecondary academic degrees without having obtained prior approval of the
commission. The Attorney General or the district attorney of the district,
including the county in which such action is brought, shall, upon request of
the commission, represent the commission in bringing any such action.
( * * *
8) The provisions of subsection (5)
shall not apply to community, junior and senior colleges and universities with
the main campus in Mississippi that were chartered, authorized or approved by
the commission prior to July 1, 1988.
( * * *
9) The provisions of this section
shall not apply to the proprietary schools and colleges subject to regulation
under Section 75-60-1 et seq.
( * * *
10) The Mississippi Commission
on College Accreditation may promulgate rules and regulations and establish
appropriate fees for the implementation of this section.
(9) The commission shall have the power and authority, and it shall be its duty, to execute site visits when deemed necessary by the commission. The members of the commission and commission-appointed evaluation teams shall receive reasonable traveling expenses and other authorized expenses incurred in the performance of commission duties, together with other expenses of the operation of the commission. The members of the Commission on College Accreditation shall serve without salary compensation but shall receive a per diem and mileage as authorized by law including time of going to and returning from site visits of said commission, together with actual travel and hotel expenses incident to the site visits of the commission, and in the discharge of duties prescribed by the commission.
SECTION 2. Section 37-101-243, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
37-101-243. (1) For the purposes of this section, these words are defined as follows:
(a) "Commission" means the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation created under Section 37-101-241; and
(b) "Institution" means and includes institutions of higher learning approved under Section 37-101-241 and proprietary schools and other entities subject to regulation under Section 75-60-1 et seq.
(2) The commission may enter into and administer interstate reciprocity agreements that allow institutions to offer postsecondary distance education. The commission is further authorized to carry out the following duties as related to interstate reciprocity agreements:
(a) Approve or disapprove participation in these agreements by institutions;
(b) Establish fees to be paid by participating institutions to cover the commission's direct and indirect administrative costs incurred by the commission or by the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning on the commission's behalf;
(c) Serve as the state point of contact for questions, complaints and other communications;
(d) Enter into agreements with other state agencies regarding state responsibilities; and
(e) Form committees to assist in establishing policies and procedures.
(3) The commission shall not:
(a) Require institutions to participate in interstate reciprocity agreements; or
(b) Prohibit institutions that do not participate in these agreements from offering postsecondary distance education.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2023.