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Rep.Wray, John

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Rep. Wray Legislation Allowing Texas Junior Colleges to Apply for BSN Degree Programs Moves in the House  print page

by: Rep. Wray, John
04/11/2019

(Austin, TX) - The House Committee on Higher Education heard State Representative John Wray's House Bill 1749. This legislation will allow community colleges such as Navarro College to apply for accreditation to offer baccalaureate degree programs, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Dr. Kevin Fagan, President of Navarro College, Cindy Murray, Director of Nursing at Baylor Scott and White Hospital Waxahachie, and Angela Gentry, Navarro College nursing student, testified in favor of the bill.

"The credentialing requirements of hospitals in our service area has grown and changed. The work needs in our service area are not being met and will not be met without Navarro College having the opportunity to offer a BSN degree program," Dr. Fagan testified.

House Bill 1749 removes the $6 billion taxable valuation requirement which prevents junior colleges from even beginning the application process. Currently, 28 of the 50 junior colleges in Texas meet this requirement. HB 1749 allows all Texas junior colleges to apply.

"Currently, only some junior colleges are eligible to seek accreditation. I could have drafted the bill to try to include just Navarro College, but after 11 years of trying to reach this goal, I feel the better policy for Texas is to simply take the bracket away altogether," said Wray.

If HB 1749 passes, community colleges in Texas, regardless of the size of their taxing district, will be eligible to make their case that they are ready to offer a baccalaureate degree program. This rigorous process includes a review by the
Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and any overseeing board, and includes numerous financial, academic, and other requirements before approval.

HB 1749 will be next heard before the House of Representatives before it heads to the Texas Senate. Upon passing the upper chamber, it will be sent to the Governor's desk for a signature before becoming law.

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