Responses Last Confirmed:

Florida Commission for Independent Education

Agency Contact

Samuel L. Ferguson
850-245-3206
susan.hood@fldoe.org

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Ken Detzner
850-245-6000
secretaryofstate@dos.myflorida.com
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

____      Public, in-state degree granting institutions
              *See www.flbog.edu and http://www.fldoe.org/schools/higher-ed/fl-college-system/
__X__    Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions        
              *If they have physical presence in Florida
__X__    Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions 
              *Unless the institution is not under the jurisdiction of the Commission—see s. 1005.06, F.S.
__X__    Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions    
              *Only if they have physical presence in Florida
_

2A2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

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

No

2B2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

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


Regional 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
____

2B4.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

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

____ Institution   _____ Program   ___X__ Both

2C2.
Clarifying comments:

CIE licenses institutions as a whole but approves programs to ensure proper requirements are met and students are able to graduate and find employment.

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

No

2D2.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

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

Yes, all institutions must meet refund policy requirements set forth in Rule 6E-1.0032(6)(i), F.A.C. unless the institution's accrediting body has a more strict refund policy and the institution may follow those guidelines.

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.

Institutions that do not fall under the purview of the Commission are not required to seek licensure through the Commission. See s. 1005.06, F.S.

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.

No

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

Yes, see the definition for "operating in the state"--s. 1005.02(14), F.S.

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

No

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.

Yes, see the definition for "operating in the state"--s. 1005.02(14), F.S.
 

(14) “Operating in this state” means any of the following:

(a) Maintaining for any purpose related to offering a degree, diploma, or credit a physical location in this state, a mailing address in this state, a telephone or facsimile number in this state, or a mail forwarding service or telephone answering or relay service in this state or advertising any such presence; or

(b) By any means or device, facilitating in this state any part of a scheme to offer a degree, diploma, or credit, or any activity connected with

5A2.
URL for physical presence definition

See definition for "operating in the state"--s. 1005.02(14), F.S.

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

Institutions triggering a physical presence in Florida are required to seek authorization through the Commission.  All relevant applications and forms can be found here.  Institutions are assigned a Program Specialist who will work with them throughout the application process which typically takes 4-6 months.  Once an institution's application for provisional licensure has been deemed complete, the institution is scheduled to appear before the Commission for approval to operate.  Institutions are required to renew their application with the Commission annually.

6A2.
URL for application
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.

New Institutional Applications and Forms
Fees are dependent on anticipated enrollment, number of programs, degree/non-degree schools, and other factors.  Each form designates whether a fee is required to accompany the form.  See Rule 6E-4.001, F.A.C. for basic fee requirements.

7A2.
URL for Fee Information

No response provided

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?

N/A—out-of-state institutions are not required to report annual student data to CIE.

8A2.
URL for reporting

No response provided

8A3.
How frequently do institutions report data?

No response provided

8A4.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

No response provided

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?

If it is not a school licensed by the Commission or the online portion is based outside of Florida, our office directs them to the Department of Education for the state where the institution is located as well as to the institution's accrediting agency. 

9A2.
URL for the complaint form
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.)?

Complaints are sent to other sectors if they do not involve a CIE licensed institution.

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?

Contact Name: Michael Santoro
Title: Program Specialist Supervisor
Agency: Commission for Independent Education
Address: 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Email: Michael.santoro@fldoe.org
Phone: 850-245-3200
URL: Complaint Form

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.

Students must first go through the institutional complaint procedures.  If the student is not satisfied with the outcome, he/she may appeal the complaint to the Council by sending an email to FLSARAinfo@fldoe.org.


Complaint Requirements

  1. Complaint must be filed within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made.
  2. Complete the institutional complaint process prior to submission with the Council.
  3. Complaint must be a formal assertion in writing that the terms of SARA, or of laws, standards or regulations incorporated by SARA, are being violated by a person, institution, state
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.)?

For all SARA related complaints, the process above is followed.

10A3.
URL for student complaints – SARA participating institutions
10A4.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?

Contact Name: Morgan Champion
Title: Director, Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education
Agency: Commission for Independent Education
Address: 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Email: morgan.champion@fldoe.org
Phone: 850-245-3212
URL: www.flsara.org

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).

No response provided

Topic:

Records Retention

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

When a school closes, it is the school’s responsibility to submit records to our office. Some schools choose to use a third party vendor to service their records. Records that are received are stored until they can be scanned by our staff or a contracted vendor. Once records are in digital format and are loaded into our information system, transcripts are available when a student submits a completed and signed Transcript Request form which can be found here: Transcript Request Form. There is no fee for student transcript requests. 

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

Transcript Request Form

Agency Name: Commission for Independent Education
Contact Person: Tammy Kercher
Contact Phone: 850-245-3200
Contact Address: 325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, FL 32399
Contact Email: CIEinfo@fldoe.org
Contact website: Transcript Request

Topic:

Additional Information

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

No response provided