38 USC 3676 - Approval of nonaccredited courses
Sec. 3676. Approval of nonaccredited courses(a) No course of education which has not been approved by a State approving agency pursuant to section 3675 of this title, which is offered by a public or private, profit or nonprofit, educational institution shall be approved for the purposes of this chapter unless the educational institution offering such course submits to the appropriate State approving agency a written application for approval of such course in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(b) Such application shall be accompanied by not less than two copies of the current catalog or bulletin which is certified as true and correct in content and policy by an authorized owner or official and includes the following:
(1) Identifying data, such as volume number and date of publication;
(2) Names of the institution and its governing body, officials and faculty;
(3) A calendar of the institution showing legal holidays, beginning and ending date of each quarter, term, or semester, and other important dates;
(4) Institution policy and regulations on enrollment with respect to enrollment dates and specific entrance requirements for each course;
(5) Institution policy and regulations relative to leave, absences, class cuts, makeup work, tardiness and interruptions for unsatisfactory attendance;
(6) Institution policy and regulations relative to standards of progress required of the student by the institution (this policy will define the grading system of the institution, the minimum grades considered satisfactory, conditions for interruption for unsatisfactory grades or progress and a description of the probationary period, if any, allowed by the institution, and conditions of reentrance for those students dismissed for unsatisfactory progress. A statement will be made regarding progress records kept by the institution and furnished the student);
(7) Institution policy and regulations relating to student conduct and conditions for dismissal for unsatisfactory conduct;
(8) Detailed schedules of fees, charges for tuition, books, supplies, tools, student activities, laboratory fees, service charges, rentals, deposits, and all other charges;
(9) Policy and regulations of the institution relative to the refund of the unused portion of tuition, fees, and other charges in the event the student does not enter the course or withdraws or is discontinued therefrom;
(10) A description of the available space, facilities, and equipment;
(11) A course outline for each course for which approval is requested, showing subjects or units in the course, type of work or skill to be learned, and approximate time and clock hours to be spent on each subject or unit; and
(12) Policy and regulations of the institution relative to granting credit for previous educational training.
(c) The appropriate State approving agency may approve the application of such institution when the institution and its non-accredited courses are found upon investigation to have met the following criteria:
(1) The courses, curriculum, and instruction are consistent in quality, content, and length with similar courses in public schools and other private schools in the State, with recognized accepted standards.
(2) There is in the institution adequate space, equipment, instructional material, and instructor personnel to provide training of good quality.
(3) Educational and experience qualifications of directors, administrators, and instructors are adequate.
(4) The institution maintains a written record of the previous education and training of the eligible person and clearly indicates that appropriate credit has been given by the institution for previous education and training, with the training period shortened proportionately and the eligible person so notified.
(5) A copy of the course outline, schedule of tuition, fees, and other charges, regulations pertaining to absence, grading policy, and rules of operation and conduct will be furnished the eligible person upon enrollment.
(6) Upon completion of training, the eligible person is given a certificate by the institution indicating the approved course and indicating that training was satisfactorily completed.
(7) Adequate records as prescribed by the State approving agency are kept to show attendance and progress or grades, and satisfactory standards relating to attendance, progress, and conduct are enforced.
(8) The institution complies with all local, city, county, municipal, State, and Federal regulations, such as fire codes, building and sanitation codes. The State approving agency may require such evidence of compliance as is deemed necessary.
(9) The institution is financially sound and capable of fulfilling its commitments for training.
(10) The institution does not utilize advertising of any type which is erroneous or misleading, either by actual statement, omission, or intimation. The institution shall not be deemed to have met this requirement until the State approving agency
(A) has ascertained from the Federal Trade Commission whether the Commission has issued an order to the institution to cease and desist from any act or practice, and
(B) has, if such an order has been issued, given due weight to that fact.
(11) The institution does not exceed its enrollment limitations as established by the State approving agency.
(12) The institution’s administrators, directors, owners, and instructors are of good reputation and character.
(13) The institution has and maintains a policy for the refund of the unused portion of tuition, fees, and other charges in the event the eligible person fails to enter the course or withdraws or is discontinued therefrom at any time before completion and—
(A) in the case of an institution (other than
(i) a Federal, State, or local Government institution or
(ii) an institution described in subparagraph (B)), such policy provides that the amount charged to the eligible person for tuition, fees, and other charges for a portion of the course shall not exceed the approximate pro rata portion of the total charges for tuition, fees, and other charges that the length of the completed portion of the course bears to its total length; or
(B) in the case of an institution that is a nonaccredited public educational institution, the institution has and maintains a refund policy regarding the unused portion of tuition, fees, and other charges that is substantially the same as the refund policy followed by accredited public educational institutions located within the same State as such institution.
(14) Such additional criteria as may be deemed necessary by the State approving agency.
(d) The Secretary may waive, in whole or in part, the requirements of subsection (c)(13) of this section in the case of an educational institution which—
(1) is a college, university, or similar institution offering postsecondary level academic instruction that leads to an associate or higher degree,
(2) is operated by an agency of a State or of a unit of local government,
(3) is located within such State or, in the case of an institution operated by an agency of a unit of local government, within the boundaries of the area over which such unit has taxing jurisdiction, and
(4) is a candidate for accreditation by a regional accrediting association,
if the Secretary determines, pursuant to regulations which the Secretary shall prescribe, that such requirements would work an undue administrative hardship because the total amount of tuition, fees, and other charges at such institution is nominal.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title, a course of education shall not be approved under this section if it is to be pursued in whole or in part by independent study.
Last modified: July 21, 2011