Section 37A. If a school committee or the board of trustees of any industrial, technical, agricultural or vocational school subject to this chapter determines that sufficient need exists in such school for a course or courses beyond secondary school level and designed to prepare students for greater opportunities for employment in industrial, agricultural and technical occupations, it may submit in writing its plans for such course or courses to the board of higher education. Upon the written approval of said plans by said board, such school committee or board of trustees may establish and maintain such extended courses of instruction on a technical institute level, and public funds may be appropriated for said purpose; provided, that such courses of instruction conform to such standards as said board may establish, and are maintained by said school committee or said trustees under the general regulations of the board. Any such school may use the designation ''technical institute'' with respect to the maintenance of such courses at such school, and the school committee or trustees of such school may, subject to the approval of the state board and the board of higher education, grant the degree of Associate in Applied Science to persons who complete such course or courses of instruction. Tuition fees in an amount approved by the commissioner of education may be charged to students enrolled in a program leading to the degree of Associate in Applied Science offered by any such school.
This section shall not be applicable to the board of regional community colleges, or any action of said board under section twenty-seven of chapter fifteen, or to any regional community college.