Responses Last Confirmed:

California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education

Agency Contact

Leeza Rifredi, Deputy Bureau Chief
(916) 574-8900
leeza.rifredi@dca.ca.gov

Additional Contact

Freshta Rasoli
(916) 574-8972

Secretary of State Contact

Alex Padilla
916-653-7244
secretary.padilla@sos.ca.gov
Topic

1: Important Agency Information to Note

a.
Provide any important information about your agency.

No response provided

Topic

2: Types of Educational Providers Authorized

a.
Indicate the types of institutions that your agency authorizes. Please provide a short explanation of any ambiguity in the comment section below.

____    Public, in-state degree granting institutions
____    Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions        
____    Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions 
____    Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions    
_X__    Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
____    Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
____    Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions
____    Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions
____    Non-degree, not-for profit institutions
____    Non-degree, for-profit institutions
____    Religious institutions
____    Tribally-controlled institutions
_____    Federal Institutions
_____    Municipal institutions

b.
Does your agency authorize specific academic programs offered by institutions, only institutions themselves, or both?

____ Institution   _____ Program   __X__ Both

c.
Clarifying comments:

The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (bureau) has oversight of California private postsecondary institutions that have a physical presence in California and offer postsecondary education to the public for an institutional charge. In July 2017 state law was amended to add the requirement for out of state private postsecondary educational institutions to register with the bureau, pay a fee and comply with specific sections of the California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009. The bureau has limited oversight of these out of state registered institutions.

The bureau provides approval for the institution and the programs offered by the institution.

Topic

3: Accreditation

a.
Is accreditation required for an institution to be authorized in your state?

Yes and No

b.
If yes, please check all that apply as appropriate.

No response provided

Accreditation Required for:
____ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions
____ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions
____ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions
____ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions
____ Non-degree, for-profit institutions
____ Religious institutions
____ Tribally-controlled institutions
____ Federal Institutions
____ Municipal institutions

c.
Clarifying comments:

The bureau approves both accredited and non-accredited institutions, however in 2015 all degree granting institutions were required to obtain accreditation from an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, to continue to offer degree programs. Degree granting institutions seeking approval after 2015 are limited to offering two degree programs, must file an accreditation plan with the bureau that outlines how the institution will achieve accreditation candidacy or pre-accreditation status within two years and full accreditation with five years. These institutions are granted a provisional approval until accreditation is achieved. If the institution is not making progress towards accreditation, the degree programs may be suspended.

Topic

4: Exemptions

a.
Are certain institutions or programs exempt by law or policy from your state authorization requirements?

The bureau provides exemptions for some institutions. The full list of categories of exempt institutions can be found in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (the Act) section 94874. The bureau has established a voluntary “Verification of Exempt Status” application.

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions? Which types of programs?

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

5: Authorization of Distance Education

a.
Does your agency require purely online programs offered by out-of-state institutions to be authorized without regard to physical presence?

No

b.
If not, does your agency determine whether an institution must be authorized based on a physical presence (“operating”) standard?

Yes

c.
Does your agency require correspondence study programs to be authorized without regard to physical presence?

No

d.
Clarifying comments:

The bureau has regulatory authority over institutions that have a physical presence in California and offer postsecondary education to the public for an institutional charge. Out of state private postsecondary educational institutions, defined as private entities without a physical presence in California that offer distance education to California residents for an institutional charge, regardless of whether the institution has affiliated institutions or institutional locations in California, are required to register with the bureau. The bureau has limited regulatory authority regarding these institutions. The bureau does not approve the institution or its programs.

Topic

6: Physical Presence Policy

a.
If your agency uses a physical presence standard, how does your agency define physical presence?

Through the application process, the bureau verifies whether the institution has a California location.

b.
Web link for physical presence definition.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

The bureau does not have a definition for physical presence, however The Act, section 94858 defines a private postsecondary educational institution as a private entity with a physical presence in this state that offers postsecondary education to the public for an institutional charge.

Topic

7: Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions

a.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about out-of-state postsecondary institutions or programs?

The bureau does not have authority to regulate out of state institutions. Complaints received regarding out of state institutions are referred to the appropriate state, federal or accrediting agency. Student complaints from California students enrolled in out-of-state institutions are handled by the Department of Consumer Affairs until the Bureau has statutory authority over this process.

b.
Is the process handled all within your agency or do you divide consumer protection and student complaint duties dependent on the type of institution (Public, Private, Technical, etc.)?

No response provided

c.
Web link for student complaints – SARA participating institutions.

SARA participating institutions

d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
e.
Clarifying comments:

The above referenced contact information is for California students filing complaints for California approved postsecondary institutions, under the Bureau’s immediate jurisdiction.

Topic

8: Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions

a.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about out-of-state postsecondary institutions or programs?

The bureau has limited regulatory authority for registered out of state institutions. The bureau may enforce laws related to compliance with the Student Tuition Recovery Fund and its disclosure to students.

b.
Is the process handled all within your agency or do you divide consumer protection and student complaint duties dependent on the type of institution (Public, Private, Technical, etc.)?

With the bureau’s limited authority complaints regarding out of state institutions are referred to the appropriate state or federal authority.

c.
Does this complaint process extend to institutions not authorized by the agency that may enroll residents of the state (such as explicitly distance education programs with no physical presence or exempt institutions)?

Yes

d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?

Contact Name:

Title:

Agency:  Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education

Address:  PO Box 980818, West Sacramento, CA  95798-0818

Email: bppe@dca.ca.gov

Phone: (916) 431-6959 or Toll Free: (888) 370-7589

URL:  https://www.bppe.ca.gov/enforcement/complaint.shtml

e.
Web link for the complaint form.
f.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

9: Surety Bonds

a.
Does your state require a Surety Bond for authorized out-of-state institutions?

No

b.
Web link for surety bonds.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

10: Tuition Refund Policy

a.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement?

Yes, the bureau has a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF).  All approved institutions and out of state registered institutions are required to comply with STRF. 

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

No response provided

c.
Web link for tuition refund policy.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

11: Student Tuition Recovery Fund

a.
Does your state have a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (or similar fund for school closure)?

Yes

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

No response provided

c.
Web link for student tuition recovery fund.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

12: Reporting

a.
What kinds of information or data must an institution report to your agency as a condition for continued out-of-state authorization?

Out of state institutions are only required to register with the bureau.  The registration is valid for two and must be renewed accordingly. Institutions are required to renew their state authorization contracts with the Bureau.

b.
How frequently do institutions report data?

No response provided

c.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

No response provided

d.
Web link for reporting.

No response provided

e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

13: Enforcement

a.
What are possible consequences of institutional non-compliance?

The bureau may issue administrative citations (The Act, section 94936), place an institution on probation, seek revocation of an institution’s approval to operate and seek reimbursement for the cost of investigation, through the administrative process (The Act, section 94937).

b.
Web link for enforcement information.
c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

14: Application Process

a.
Please provide a short description of the application process to obtain state authorization.

The bureau has multiple types of approval applications (Approval to Operate an Institution Non-Accredited, Approval to Operate an Accredited Institution).    A list of the various applications can be found at: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/schools/applications.shtml. Institutions must complete the application and pay the associated fee(s). 

In accordance with the Act section 94887, an approval to operate shall be granted only after an applicant has presented sufficient evidence to the burau and the bureau has independently verified the information provided by the applicant through site visits or other methods deemed appropriate by the bureau, that the applicant has the capacity to satisfy the minimum operating standards.  The bureau shall deny any application for an approval to operate if the application does not satisfy those standards.

Laws: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/lawsregs/ppe_act.pdf

Regulations: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/lawsregs/regs.pdf

Applications: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/schools/applications.shtml

Workshop: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/schools/app_workshop.pdf

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

15: Fees Associated with Authorization

a.
Is there an application fee associated with the authorization process?

There is a fee for each application. The fee must be paid prior to the processing of any application.  The fee schedule can be found in the California Code of Regulations (5, CCR) section 94930.5.  The fee is also listed on each application.

b.
If yes, what is the fee or fee schedule?

No response provided

c.
Web link for fee information.
d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

16: Records Retention

a.
When a school closes, what is the process your state uses to ensure that transcripts/records are kept available?

The Act, section 94926 provides …….

At least 30 days prior to closing, the institution shall notify the bureau in writing of its intention to close. The notice shall be accompanied by a closure plan, which shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, all of the following:

(a) A plan for providing teach-outs of educational programs, including any agreements with any other postsecondary educational institutions to provide teach-outs.

(b) If no teach-out plan is contemplated, or for students who do not wish to participate in a teach-out, arrangements for making refunds within 45 days from the date of closure, or for institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs arrangements for making refunds and returning federal student financial aid program funds.

(c) If the institution is a participant in federal student financial aid programs, it shall provide students information concerning these programs and institutional closures.

(d) A plan for the disposition of student records.

In addition, the Act, section 94927.5 provides…….

(a) Prior to closing, an institution shall provide the bureau with the following:

Copies of pertinent student records, including transcripts, in hardcopy or electronic format, as determined by the bureau, pursuant to regulations adopted by the bureau.

If the institution is an accredited institution, a plan for the retention of records and transcripts, approved by the institution’s accrediting agency, that provides information as to how a student may obtain a transcript or any other information about the student’s coursework and degrees completed.

The bureau has established a form and informational website regarding “Successful School Closures” https://www.bppe.ca.gov/schools/success_closure.shtml.  The voluntary “School Closure Plan Form” is available at: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/forms_pubs/closed_school.pdf.

b.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?

If the institution has provided the records to the bureau, information about requesting transcripts may be found at:  https://www.bppe.ca.gov/students/transcripts.shtml

Institutions may also name their own “Custodian of Record, whom is identified in the school closure plan.

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

17: Additional Information

a.
Is there anything else about the authorization process in your state that we and others ought to know about?

No response provided