Responses Last Confirmed:

District of Columbia Higher Education Licensure Commission

Agency Contact

Angela H. Lee
202-724-2905
Angela.Lee@dc.gov

Additional Contact

Topic:

Types of Educational Providers Authorized

2A1.
Institution Types Authorized – Indicate the types of institutions that your agency authorizes. Please provide a short explanation of any ambiguity in the comment section below

_X__ Public, in-state degree granting institutions (for purposes of SARA and Veterans education only)
_X__ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions   
_X__ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions  
_X__ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions  
_X__ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions 
_X__ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions 
_X__ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions 
_X__ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions 
_X__ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions

2A2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

2B1.
Is accreditation required for an institution to be authorized in your state? Yes or No.

Yes and No

2B2.
Clarifying comments:

Non-degree institutions are not required to be accredited, unless accreditation is required by the respective industry.  Degree granting institutions that are new (provisional licensees) are not required to be accredited at time of application; however, they must seek accreditation by 5th year of operation and be fully accredited by an accrediting agency/organization recognized by the US Department of Education by 6th year of operation. Applicants seeking Conditional Exemption must be fully accredited and may not have any conditions placed upon the accreditation.

2B3.
If yes, what type of accreditation is required? Please, check all that apply as appropriate.

Regional Accreditation Required for: 
_X__ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions   
_X__ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions  
_X__ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions  
_X__ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions 
_X__ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions 
_X__ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions 
_X__ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions 
____ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions 
____ Non-degree, for-profit institutions 
_X__ Religious

2B4.
Clarifying comments:

Accreditation requirements will depend on the type of institution and instructional offerings.

2C1.
Does your agency authorize specific academic programs offered by institutions, only institutions themselves, or both?

_____Institution  _____Program __X__Both

2C2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

2D1.
Does your state require a Surety Bond for authorized out-of-state institutions? Yes or No.

Yes

2D2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

2E1.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement? If so, for which types of institutions?

No

Topic:

Exemptions

3A1.
Are certain institutions or programs exempt by law or policy from your state authorization requirements? If so, for which types of institutions? Which types of programs? Please provide web link.
Topic:

Authorization of Distance Education

4A1.
Does your agency require purely online programs offered by out-of-state institutions to be authorized without regard to physical presence? Yes or No.

Yes

4A2.
If not, does your agency determine whether an institution must be authorized based on a physical presence (“operating”) standard? Yes or No.

N/A

4A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

4B1.
Does your agency require correspondence study programs to be authorized without regard to physical presence? Yes or No

Yes

4B2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Physical Presence Policy - Common Triggers

5A1.
If your agency uses a physical presence standard, how does your agency define physical presence? If available, please provide a link to that policy or a citation to the relevant regulation giving that standard.

“Physical Presence” – an institution has established one of the following in the District of Columbia: (a) A physical location for students to receive instruction; (b) An administrative office; (c) A physical site operated by or on behalf of the institution that provides information to students for the purpose of enrolling students or provides student support services; or (d) Office space for instructional and non-instructional staff.

5A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Application Process

6A1.
Description – Please provide a short description of the application process to obtain state authorization. If available, please provide web links to the specific references to all applicable state laws, regulations, manuals, forms, or other pertinent docu
  1. Read the law and regulations that govern the type of institution you wish to operate (degree, non-degree, distance education). And, familiarize yourself with the relevant application form.
  2. Attend mandatory New Applicant Workshop (only if seeking provisional licensure; not required for conditional exemption applicants)
  3. Submit a complete application and required fees.
  4. Complete a site visit. (Required for all applicants that have a physical location in the District.)
  5. Appear before the Commission to respond to any questions the board has prior to their decision on the application. Meeting
6A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Fees Associated with Authorization

7A1.
Application Fee – Is there an application fee to initiate the authorization process? If so, what is the fee or fee schedule? Please provide a web link if available.

Yes

7A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Reporting

8A1.
What kinds of information or data must an institution report to your agency as a condition for continued out-of-state authorization?

Annually, the Higher Education Licensure Commission (HELC, Commission) collects data on postsecondary education offered in the District of Columbia. The Commission seeks to gather information in the following areas: institutional characteristics, human and fiscal resources, prices, accreditation, enrollment, degrees and certificates conferred, student retention and financial aid. The submission of this data is a condition of continued approval to operate postsecondary educational programs in the District. 

8A2.
URL for reporting

https://helc.osse.dc.gov/vPage/Annual-Data-Survey/107/71004 log-in credential is sent directly to active institutions POC only

8A3.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Annually

8A4.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

YES, it is subject to public disclosure

8A5.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Consumer Protection and Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions

9A1.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about out-of-state postsecondary institutions or programs?

Pursuant to DC Official Code §38-1306(c)(4) complaints may be filed with the Higher Education Licensure Commission (HELC, Commission) against postsecondary educational institutions operating in the District of Columbia. Consumers who have experienced a violation of the HELC statute or regulations should complete a form and submit all supporting documents. Complainants should exhaust the institution’s grievance process prior to filing a complaint with the Commission.

9A3.
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.)?

Violations of Commission rules are handled internally.  Violation of other District rules may also be addressed by respective other mission based agencies (i.e. violations of Human Rights Laws, Department of Health codes, Zoning laws)

9A4.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

9B1.
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

9B2.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
9B3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Consumer Protection and Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions

10A1.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about SARA participating Institutions.

Pursuant to DC Official Code §38-1306(c)(4) complaints may be filed with the Higher Education Licensure Commission (HELC, Commission) against postsecondary educational institutions operating in the District of Columbia. Consumers who have experienced a violation of the SARA policies and procedures should complete a form and submit all supporting documents. Complainants should exhaust the institution’s grievance process prior to filing a complaint with the Commission.

 

10A2.
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.)?

within our agency

10A3.
URL for student complaints – SARA participating institutions
10A4.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Agency DC Higher Education Licensure Commission
  • Address 1050 First Street, NE Fifth Floor, Washington, DC 20002
  • Email osse.elcmail@dc.gov
  • Phone 202-481-3951
10A5.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic:

Enforcement

11A1.
If your agency has written descriptions of the possible consequence of institutional non-compliance, please provide it (or provide a web link).
Topic:

Records Retention

12A1.
When a school closes, what is the process your state uses to ensure that transcripts/records are kept available?

If a postsecondary educational institution licensed by or granted a conditional exemption the Commission, discontinues its operations, the chief administrative officer, by whatever title designated, of the institution shall cause to be filed with the Commission the original or legible true copies of all records of the institution specified by the Commission. The records deposited with the Commission shall include, at a minimum, the academic (and financial) records of each former student. The institution shall pay for the costs of the transfer of records to the Commission and for the costs of

12B1.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?
Topic:

Additional Information

13A1.
Is there anything else about the authorization process in your state that we and others ought to know about?

Note: We prefer to send correspondence to the general email account osse.elcmail@dc.gov and that applications be mailed to:

District of Columbia Higher Education Licensure Commission

1050 First Street NE, 5th Floor

Washington, DC 20002