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Legal Resources | Education Code |  EC  94885.5  

Private Postsecondary Institutions; Approval to Operate   

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(a) If an institution that has not been accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education seeks to offer one or more degree programs, the institution shall satisfy the following requirements in order to be issued a provisional approval to operate from the bureau:

(1) The institution may not offer more than two degree programs during the term of its provisional approval to operate.

(2) The institution shall submit an accreditation plan, approved by the bureau, for the institution to become fully accredited within five years of issuance of its provisional approval to operate. The plan shall include, at a minimum, identification of an accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, from which the institution plans to seek accreditation, and outline the process by which the institution will achieve accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation within two years, and full accreditation within five years, of issuance of its provisional approval.

(3) The institution shall submit to the bureau all additional documentation the bureau deems necessary to determine if the institution will become fully accredited within five years of issuance of its provisional approval to operate.

(b) If an institution is granted a provisional approval to operate pursuant to subdivision (a), the following is required:

(1) Students seeking to enroll in that institution shall be notified in writing by the institution, prior to the execution of the student's enrollment agreement, that the institution's approval to operate is contingent upon it being subsequently accredited.

(2) Within the first two years of issuance of the provisional approval, a visiting committee, empaneled by the bureau pursuant to Section 94882, shall review the institution's application for approval and its accreditation plan, and make a recommendation to the bureau regarding the institution's progress to achieving full accreditation.

(3) The institution shall provide evidence of accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation within two years of issuance of its provisional approval, and evidence of accreditation within five years of issuance of its provisional approval, with the scope of that accreditation covering the offering of at least one degree program.

(c) An institution required to comply with this section that fails to do so by the dates provided, as required, shall have its provisional 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.

(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 preaccreditation, 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) An institution issued a provisional approval under this section is required to comply with all other laws and regulations.

(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.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 593, Sec. 15. Effective January 1, 2017. Repealed as of January 1, 2021, pursuant to Section 94950.)