The New York Senate released its report on the state of higher education in New York on January 28, 2013, as reported by David Lombardo of the Schenectady Daily Gazette. Higher Education Committee Chairman Ken LaValle gave his committee members credit for a year of sound oversight of post-high school education. He said in his statement that:
“I want to thank the committee members for their continued support and commitment throughout the 2012 legislative session. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the committee and in the entire Senate as we strive to make New York State higher education the best in the world.”
State licensing requirements and regulation of privately-run trade schools were chief among the state’s concerns in 2012.
About 500 for-profit trade schools now operate under state licenses. These schools offer many non-degree programs, and some of them are hybrid programs that combine aspects of study that are not strictly in business or trade, such as where record-keeping is combined with phlebotomy for a certificate in medical office assistance. 200 such schools are operating with pending licenses, and the state is aware of a need for strict oversight.
There have been reports of scams and other predatory behavior in this sector. 2012 laws have strengthened the state’s ability to carry out this regulation.
There are at least 50 professions that require licensing in New York State, and the committee considered many questions about these professions. The profession of Occupational Therapy has a new requirement for continuing education for 2013, but the committee is considering a bill that will allow veterinarians to provide free spaying and neutering services instead of continuing education credits. The state is also expanding pharmacists’ licenses to permit them to provide flu shots. Due to licensing requirements that make it difficult for some state agencies to hire social workers and therapists, a three-year extension for compliance was granted to these agencies. The committee is also examining professions that need to develop licensing programs, such as reflexology and genetic counseling.
A wide variety of other bills were discussed in committee. These included offers of tuition help for children of combat veterans and giving in-state tuition at CUNY campuses to US military personnel stationed in New York. Senior residents of New York could benefit, too, as the committee has considered a bill to permit free tuition at public universities for those over 60.