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    The sponsor of a proposed ballot measure to divide California into hundreds of legislative mini-districts has invested $80,000 into the effort so far, state records show. John H. Cox, a Rancho Santa Fe businessman and the main force behind the idea of a “Neighborhood Legislature,” contends that it would make lawmakers more responsive to voters. The secretary of state’s office last week cleared proponents to begin collecting the necessary 807,615 valid voter signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot.

    – Jim Miller

The Buzz: Legislative analyst suggests changes to for-profit schools’ oversight

Published: Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am

Closer look at private colleges

urged by legislative analyst

California’s process of regulating hundreds of private colleges has been a decades-long saga, at one point earning the state a reputation as the “diploma mill capital of the world.” A 2009 state law overhauled the system, but there should be additional improvements, the Legislative Analyst’s Office recommends in a recent report.

About one in five of the state’s 3.7 million college students in 2011-12 attended nonprofit or for-profit private colleges. The LAO suggests that the state’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education focus its attention on schools that have a history of student complaints or raise other red flags. In addition, the report said, the state should license online schools based in other states that enroll students in California.

The state will likely be hearing from a lot of private colleges in the coming months. Under a federal rule taking effect in July 2014, private colleges have to be licensed by states if they want to tap into federal student aid programs. So far, the University of Phoenix and DeVry University have agreed to state bureau oversight to comply with the upcoming federal rules.

– Jim Miller



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