The Senate moved a bill forward that would allow for school districts and institutions of higher education to give tuition breaks to some teachers completing a master’s degree in their subject area. If passed these schools could give assistance to dual credit high school teachers, who teach classes where students get high school and college credit, like an AP class.
House Bill 1370 was proposed after new rules from the state’s federal accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, started requiring dual credit teachers to have a master’s degree in the subject they teach, or complete 18 credit hours in that field at a higher education institution.
As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Eric Weddle reported back in November, this new rule affects many of these dual credit teachers in the state:
It is estimated that 71 percent of instructors teaching nearly 45,000 students in dual credit courses in liberal arts do not meet the new requirements that also include 18-credit hours in the subject area they teach.
The Higher Learning Commission, the federally backed regional accreditor for Indiana’s colleges and universities, approved the increased requirements that go into effect fall 2017. But after pushback by some states, including Indiana, the commission is allowing higher education institutions to request a deadline extension to 2022.
Now that teachers must get more education or not be able to teach these classes, many will have to return to school. HB 1370 states:
“A state educational institution or school corporation may enter into an agreement with a state educational institution providing for a waiver of tuition in whole or in part as part of the dual credit course plan.”
This legislation makes this kind of tuition break possible, but it doesn’t put aside money or create a state funded scholarship for the purpose. Colleges and universities around the state still have to agree to such tuition breaks.
This passed the Senate today 7-0, sending it to second reading in the Senate. It has already passed the House.