ACC(LEGAL) - GEOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES AND SERVICE AREAS: BRANCH CAMPUSES
Branch Campuses, Centers, Extension Facilities
The board of trustees of a junior college district may establish and operate branch campuses, centers, or extension facilities within the junior college district's service area provided that each branch campus, center, or extension facility, and each course or program offered in such locations, is subject to the prior and continuing approval of the Coordinating Board.
Before any course may be offered by a public junior college within the service area of another operating public junior college, it must be established that the second public junior college is not capable of or is unable to offer the course. After the need is established and the course is not locally available, then the first public junior college may offer the course when approval is granted by the Coordinating Board. This restriction does not apply to a course offered by a public junior college with a service area located wholly or partly in a county with a population of more than three million for high school students enrolled in a school district located wholly or partly in a county with a population of more than three million.
Notwithstanding Education Code, Chapter 130, Subchapter J [regarding junior college district service areas], the service area of a junior college district does not include territory within the boundaries of the taxing district of another junior college district. If a branch campus, center, or extension facility operated by a junior college district outside its taxing district becomes located within the taxing district of another junior college district when the other district is established or annexes the territory that includes the campus, center, or facility, the junior college district operating the campus, center, or facility must discontinue the campus, center, or facility within a reasonable period, not to exceed one academic year. The junior college district in which the campus, center, or facility is located must fairly compensate the junior college district that discontinues the campus, center, or facility for any capital improvements that the discontinuing district acquired or constructed for the campus, center, or facility, to the extent the discontinuing district is otherwise unable to recover the current value of its investment in that capital improvement, as determined by the Coordinating Board.
Education Code 130.251(a), (d), (f)
"Branch campuses" operate as out-of-district units of existing community college districts and provide programs as defined in Texas Education Code Chapter 130 and set out in 19 Administrative Code 8.25 on an ongoing and permanent basis. 19 TAC 8.1(3)
"Extension Center or Extension Facility"
An "extension center or extension facility" is any single or multiple location, other than the main campus of a community college district, and is outside the boundaries of the taxing authority of a community college district. Extension centers and extension facilities are subject to 19 Administrative Code Chapter 4, Subchapter E relating to approval of distance education and off-campus instruction. [See EBA(LEGAL)] 19 TAC 8.1(7)
The governing board of a community college district may establish and operate a branch campus through conversion of an extension center or extension facility, provided that each course and program has been approved and is subject to the continuing approval of the Coordinating Board.
The governing board of a community college district requesting authority to convert an out-of-district center/facility to a branch campus must submit a Letter of Application to the commissioner. 19 TAC 8.73, .74(a)
A self-study must be performed by the district to assess whether the proposed branch campus meets the criteria outlined below. The self-study and the extension center or extension facility shall be reviewed by a Coordinating Board-appointed team, a majority of which should be community college presidents, for the purposes of documenting that it meets the standards and criteria described below for quality instruction and support services, as required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and Coordinating Board rules and regulations. 19 TAC 8.74(b)
Role, Mission, and Purpose
In its program aspects, a branch campus is equivalent to a public community college; therefore, it must provide:
Technical programs up to two years in length leading to associate degrees or certificates;
Vocational programs leading directly to employment in semi-skilled and skilled occupations;
Freshman and sophomore courses in arts and sciences, including the state-mandated core curriculum;
Continuing adult education programs for occupational or cultural upgrading;
Compensatory education programs designed to fulfill the commitment of an admissions policy allowing enrollment of disadvantaged students;
A continuing program of counseling and guidance designed to assist students in achieving their individual educational goals;
Workforce development programs designed to meet local and statewide needs;
Adult literacy and other basic skills programs for adults; and
Such other purposes as may be prescribed by the Coordinating Board, or local governing boards, in the best interest of postsecondary education in Texas.
Education Code 130.251(b); 19 TAC 8.74(b)(1)
Programs and Courses
All courses, programs, and degrees shall be offered in the name of the parent district and shall be subject to the following criteria:
Courses and programs must meet the role, mission, and purposes as described herein;
Courses and programs must be developed and operated with the ongoing assistance and involvement of the parent district faculty and staff; and
Instructional faculty credentials, full-time/part-time faculty ratios, teaching loads, faculty performance evaluation and effectiveness, student accessibility to faculty, etc., must be reviewed to ensure that these elements contribute to the quality of courses and programs offered.
19 TAC 8.74(b)(2)
Description of Staffing Plan
There must be sufficient academic and student support staff to meet the needs of faculty and students at the branch campus. 19 TAC 8.74(b)(3)
The branch campus shall be supported either by means of a branch campus maintenance tax as set forth in 19 Administrative Code Chapter 8, Subchapter E (relating to Branch Campus Maintenance Tax, see CAI), or by local sources of community and/or economic support.
If a local tax is not levied, local sources of support must be furnished at a level sufficient to provide adequate facilities needed at the proposed branch campus location. "Facilities" include the operation and maintenance of the physical plant including any rehabilitation and repairs. Local sources of support may be "in kind."
Appropriate accounts that comply with generally accepted accounting principles for the branch campus must be kept and financial reports submitted as required for community college districts.
State aid shall be earned according to appropriated formula rates.
19 TAC 8.74(b)(4)
Regional Higher Education Council Review and Certification
The regional higher education council within which the proposed branch campus is to be located must review the branch campus request only if the proposed branch campus is within a shared services area designated by statute. Member institutions must discuss the proposal with all councils affected, and the minutes shall reflect the discussions. If appropriate, a recommendation for approval or disapproval shall be submitted to the commissioner but shall not be binding on the commissioner or the Coordinating Board. 19 TAC 8.74(b)(5)
The Coordinating Board's Committee on Institutional Effectiveness and Excellence may conduct one or more public hearings on the proposed branch campus to:
Assess public sentiment regarding the proposed branch campus;
Determine whether programs in the proposed branch campus will create unnecessary duplication or seriously harm programs in existing community college districts or other institutions of higher education in the area; and
Assess the potential impact of the proposed branch campus on existing community colleges or other institutions of higher education in the area and on the state of Texas.
19 TAC 8.74(c)
After the self-study has been reviewed and a site visit conducted by Coordinating Board staff, a report from the Coordinating Board staff shall be submitted to the commissioner indicating whether the criteria as set out in 19 Administrative Code 8.74(b) [see Self-Study, above] have been met. The report shall include a recommendation for approval or denial of the request for the establishment of the proposed branch campus but shall not be binding on the commissioner or the Coordinating Board. 19 TAC 8.74(d)
Coordinating Board Approval
Coordinating Board action on the request for approval for establishment of the branch campus shall be taken at the next regularly scheduled quarterly Coordinating Board meeting. In making its decision, the Coordinating Board shall consider the needs of the district, the needs of the community served by the proposed branch campus, the potential impact on other institutions of higher education, and the welfare of the state as a whole.
Branch campus designation shall be used only upon approval by the Coordinating Board.
If the Coordinating Board approves establishment of a branch campus, the governing board of the community college district may accept or acquire by purchase or rent, land and facilities in the name of the said institution.
Coordinating Board-approved branch campus sites shall be considered as auxiliary locations for the purposes of the Coordinating Board's distance learning rules and regulations as outlined under 19 Administrative Code Chapter 4, Subchapter E, relating to approval of distance education and off-campus instruction for public colleges and universities. [See EBA]
19 TAC 8.75(a), (c)–(e)
Withdrawal of Approval
The Coordinating Board may withdraw approval for a branch campus whenever the Coordinating Board:
Approves the establishment of a community college district that includes the site of the branch campus;
Approves the merger of the out-of-district area that includes the site of the branch campus with the parent district; or
Determines that the community college district has failed to maintain the standards and criteria of Coordinating Board rules and regulations at the branch campus.
19 TAC 8.76
South Texas College Branch Campus
The board of trustees of the South Texas Community College District shall adopt and implement a plan to expand opportunity for instructional programs consisting of postsecondary courses leading to an associate degree offered in a classroom setting within the corporate limits of the municipality of Edcouch or Elsa. Any instructional program provided under this section is subject to the requirements of Education Code 130.251. Education Code 130.254