An Act relative to transparency in higher education


The abrupt closure and sale of Mt. Ida College to UMass Amherst caught the current students, newly accepted students, faculty and staff by surprise. Equally as troubling was Mt. Ida’s decision to close its doors without a school closure plan and without appropriate notice to the Attorney General and the Board of Higher Education. This legislation works to address issues of notice by requiring that when higher education institutions begin discussions or deliberations, or enter into written agreements to: (i) close; (ii) merge; (iii) acquire the facilities or land of another institution; or (iv) to open a branch campus, they must provide the board of higher education with reasonable notice not less than 120 days before the intended action. In addition, when a higher education institution realizes that it may not have the financial resources to sustain the quality of its education programs, support institutional improvements, or graduate its entering class, it must notify the board of higher education not less than 14 days after the institution becomes aware of those circumstances. Lastly, it requires that the proposals to merge, acquire, or open a branch campus shall be subject to the notice requirements and be reviewed by the board of higher education. During its review of the merger, acquisition or opening, these notices shall not be a public record and shall be exempt from disclosure.