HOUSE DOCKET, NO. FILED ON: 3/19/2012
HOUSE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . No. 4085
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
In the Year Two Thousand Twelve
An Act to form a commission on for-profit colleges, universities, and proprietary schools.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. There is hereby established a commission for the purpose of studying and making recommendations concerning the impact of for-profit colleges, universities, and proprietary schools, who receive public investments in the form of federal and state student financial aid, on residents of the commonwealth who are or have been enrolled in such institutions. The commission shall consist of 19 members as follows: the undersecretary of consumer affairs and business regulation, or a designee, who shall serve as chair; the attorney general, or a designee; the state auditor, or a designee; the secretary of education, or a designee; the commissioner of banks, or a designee; the house chair of the joint committee on consumer protection and professional licensure, or a designee; the house chair of the joint committee on higher education, or a designee; the senate chair of the joint committee on consumer protection and professional licensure, or a designee; the senate chair of the joint committee on higher education, or a designee; the minority leader of the house, or a designee; the minority leader of the senate, or a designee; and 8 members appointed by the governor: 1 of whom shall have expertise in federal, state and private student loans, and other student financial aid programs, 1 of whom shall be a person who was enrolled or is currently enrolled in a for-profit college, university, or proprietary school in Massachusetts, 3 of whom shall represent for- profit colleges, universities, and proprietary schools, 1 of whom shall represent the Crittenton Women’s Union, 1 of whom shall represent the Midas Collaborative, and 1 of whom shall represent a consumer protection group.
This commission shall study and make recommendations on the following: (a) the need for improved financial auditing procedures and improved enforcement or changes to relevant Massachusetts criminal and consumer protection laws, including, but not limited to, the areas of advertising, recruitment, retention, financial aid practices, credit transfer practices, and fees or penalties; (b) the need for new criminal or civil laws to deter deceptive or fraudulent acts by for- profit colleges, universities and proprietary schools and provide compensation to victims; (c) the adequacy of free or low-cost loan counseling and legal support for residents of the state in default on student loans; (d) the need for increased consumer education about for-profit colleges, universities, and proprietary schools and the financial responsibilities associated with student loans; (e) the need for greater transparency regarding compliance with state and federal laws, loan default rates, or whether a for-profit college, university, or proprietary school has been sanctioned in Massachusetts or in other states; (f) issues surrounding financing education at for-profit colleges, universities, and proprietary schools including, but not limited to, the need for counseling of students considering financing their education in-part with loans, and the status of loans in the event of closure of a school.
The commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendation into effect, by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives no later than 18 months after the passage of this act.