Monday, July 25, 2016

Rep. Muradian Appointed to Higher Education Distance Learning Study Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton) to a special state commission that will explore allowing Massachusetts colleges to provide distance learning programs to out-of-state students.

The special commission, which was created through an outside section of the Fiscal Year 2017 state budget, is charged with making recommendations for the Board of Higher Education to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements.  Accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities in Massachusetts will be allowed to voluntarily participate in these agreements to provide distance learning programs to students in other states.

The commission is scheduled to hold its first meeting the week of August 1, and to report back to the Legislature and the Board of Higher Education with its recommendations by October 31.

“As a member of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, Representative Muradian has a strong interest in promoting and expanding the rich variety of academic programs offered by our state colleges and universities,” said Representative Jones.  “I have full confidence that David will discharge his responsibilities admirably and that his talent and expertise will add significantly to the work of the commission.”

“I am honored to be appointed to this special commission,” said Representative Muradian.  “I look forward to working with the other members to develop a distance learning proposal for the Legislature’s consideration.”

Education Secretary James Peyser is chairing the 17-member special commission.  In addition to Representative Muradian, the commission’s members include Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago, Attorney General Maura Healey, the House and Senate Chairs of the Joint Committee on Higher Education, and North Shore Community College President Patricia A. Gentile.

Governor Charlie Baker will appoint 10 of the commission’s members.  These appointees will include a representative of a consumer advocacy organization; a student representative; a representative of an organization that advocates for students; and a representative of an online learning association.

Representative Muradian represents the Ninth Worcester District, which consists of the communities of Grafton, Northbridge and Upton.