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Legal Resources | Education Code |  EC  94885.1  

Private Postsecondary Institutions; Approval to Operate   

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(a) An institution that is not accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and offering at least one degree program, and that has obtained an approval to operate from the bureau on or before January 1, 2015, shall be required to satisfy at least one of the following no later than July 1, 2015:

(1) Accreditation by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, with the scope of that accreditation covering the offering of at least one degree program by the institution.

(2) Compliance with subdivision (b).

(b) The bureau shall identify institutions that are subject to subdivision (a) and notify those institutions by February 1, 2015, of the accreditation requirements pursuant to this section and that the institution is required to provide the following information to the bureau if the institution plans to continue to offer a degree program after July 1, 2015:

(1) An accreditation plan that, at a minimum, identifies an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education from which the institution will seek accreditation, with the scope of that accreditation covering the offering of at least one degree program, and outlines the process by which the institution will achieve accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation by July 1, 2017, and full accreditation by July 1, 2020.

(2) Evidence of having achieved accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation by July 1, 2017.

(3) Evidence of having obtained full accreditation by July 1, 2020.

(4) Any additional documentation the bureau deems necessary.

(c) An institution that satisfies the requirements of subdivision (b) shall comply with all of the following:

(1) Notify students seeking to enroll in the institution, in writing, prior to the execution of the student's enrollment agreement, that the institution's approval to offer a degree program is contingent upon the institution being subsequently accredited.

(2) A visiting committee, empaneled by the bureau pursuant to Section 94882, shall review the institution by January 1, 2017, and determine if the institution is likely to achieve full accreditation by July 1, 2020. If the visiting committee finds the institution deficient in its accreditation plan, the bureau may prohibit the institution from enrolling new students in its degree program or programs, and require the execution of a teach-out plan for its enrolled students.

(d) (1) The bureau shall, upon the timely submission of sufficient evidence that an unaccredited institution is making strong progress toward obtaining accreditation, grant an institution's request for an extension of time, not to exceed two years, to meet the requirements of this section.

(2) Evidence submitted to the bureau pursuant to paragraph (1) shall include, but is not limited to, an amended accreditation plan adequately identifying why pre-accreditation, accreditation candidacy, or accreditation outlined in the original plan submitted to the bureau was not achieved, active steps the institution is taking to comply with this section, and documentation from an accrediting agency demonstrating the institution's likely ability to meet the requirements of this section.

(3) The bureau may establish policies and procedures to comply with the requirements in this subdivision. Establishment of these policies and procedures are exempt from Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340), Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 11370), Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 11400), and Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 11500) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

(e) Any institution that fails to comply with the requirements of this section by the dates provided, as required, shall have its approval to operate automatically suspended on the applicable date. The bureau shall issue an order suspending the institution and that suspension shall not be lifted until the institution complies with the requirements of this section. A suspended institution shall not enroll new students in any of its degree programs, and shall execute a teach-out plan for its enrolled students.

(f) The bureau shall adopt emergency regulations for purposes of implementing this section. The adoption of these regulations shall be deemed to be an emergency and necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, or general welfare for purposes of Sections 11346.1 and 11349.6 of the Government Code. These emergency regulations shall become law through the regular rulemaking process within one year of the enactment of this section.

(g) This section shall remain in effect until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2023, deletes or extends that date.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 593, Sec. 14. Effective January 1, 2017. Repealed as of January 1, 2023, by its own provisions.)