Responses Last Confirmed:

Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Agency Contact

Betsy Talbot
651-259-3965
betsy.talbot@state.mn.us

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Steve Simon
651-201-1324
secretary.state@state.mn.us
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

__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

____      Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions

___X_    Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions

__X__    Non-degree, not-for profit institutions

___X_    Non-degree, for-profit institutions

__X__    Religious institutions

__X__    Tribally-controlled institutions

___X__  Federal Institutions

___X__  Municipal institutions

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

No response provided

____ Institution   _____ Program   __x___ Both

c.
Clarifying comments:

We only regulate tribal colleges if they participate in state financial aid programs.  Religious institutions must qualify for an exemption from authorization.  Only some seminaries qualify for this limited exemption.

Topic

3: Accreditation

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

Both

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

OHE does not distinguish between national and regional accreditation.  OHE does require institutional accreditation (so hybrid accreditation is allowed if all degree-programs are accredited).   Exempt institutions, including religious institutions, are not required to have accreditation.

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:

Accreditation is required for degree-granting institutions, not for non-degree granting institutions.

No distinction between national and regional accreditation- accreditation must be institutional accreditation.

Topic

4: Exemptions

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

The office has many exemptions, including for reciprocity agreements, tuition-free or low cost programs, and religious institutions.  They are found here: 

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.833 and https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.653 and

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.657 and

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.658 and

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.834

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

No response provided

c.
Web link for exemptions.

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?

Both

Yes for degree-granting institutions

No for non-degree granting institutions

 

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

Yes, non-degree schools have triggers for physical presence beyond online only programs.

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

No

d.
Clarifying comments:

Physical presence can be triggered by sending recruiters to MN, have on-ground internships or clinical experiences, and advertising in the state.

Yes: for non-degree granting institutions.

No: for degree-granting institutions

Topic

6: Physical Presence Policy

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

Degree granting institutions: “All schools located within Minnesota and all schools located outside Minnesota which offer degree programs or courses within Minnesota shall register annually with the office.”  Minn. Stat. 136A.63

 

Non-degree granting institutions: “A private career school must not maintain, advertise, solicit for, administer, or conduct any program in Minnesota without first obtaining a license from the office.” Minn. Stat. 136A.822 subd. 1.

c.
Clarifying comments:

OHE has had to develop a test to determine whether a degree-granting institution is located in Minnesota (as to deal with issues of diploma mills or schools using a PO Box to establish location).  Factors include administrative services location, office space (not just by the hour), and board member and meeting location.

Topic

7: Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions

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

Same as above if they are in-state schools.  Out of State schools are referred to the appropriate SARA entity.

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.)?

The Minnesota Office of Higher Education handles complaints for SARA institutions and Private Institutions.  OHE does not have authority over public institutions and exempt institutions unless the schools and complaints are related to SARA.

d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Contact Name: Kate McCartan
  • Title: Institutional Monitoring Specialist
  • Agency: Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • Address: 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55108
  • Email: kate.mccartan@state.mn.us
  • Phone: 651-259-3912
  • URL

 

e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

8: Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions

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

https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=1078

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.)?

The process is handled within OHE, except for in-state public institutions.  Those complaints are referred to the appropriate entity.

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)?

No. 

d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Contact Name: Kate McCartan
  • Title: Institutional Monitoring Specialist
  • Agency: Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • Address: 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55108
  • Email: kate.mccartan@state.mn.us
  • Phone: 651-259-3912
  • URL
e.
Web link for the complaint form.

https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/pdf/ComplaintForm.pdf

f.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

9: Surety Bonds

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

Both

b.
Web link for surety bonds.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

There are surety requirements for all non-degree granting institutions and degree-granting institutions if the schools is on HCM1 or LOC status with the USDOE.

Topic

10: Tuition Refund Policy

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

Yes, only for non-degree granting institutions.

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)?

No, but OHE utilizes surety requirements. They are mandatory for all non-degree granting institutions, but triggered for degree granting institutions based of financial responsibility.

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?

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.64

b.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Annually.

c.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

No. 

d.
Web link for reporting.
e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

13: Enforcement

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

No response provided

b.
Web link for enforcement information.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

14: Application Process

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

Applications for programs, institution information (including ownership information), faculty information, locations, financial information, and accreditation information.

b.
Web link for application.

https://mn.edvera.com for degree granting and https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=204 for non-degree granting

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

15: Fees Associated with Authorization

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

Fee schedule is based on number and type of academic programs.

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

No response provided

c.
Web link for fee information.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.69 and https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/136A.824

d.
Clarifying comments:

We ask that schools ask our office to calculate total fees as most schools over-calculate what the total cost would be.

Topic

16: Records Retention

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

Minnesota requires a school to provide a copy (or the originals, if paper and only one is available) of all transcripts prior to closing or leaving the state.  Minnesota has a required retention schedule/plan for all schools.  Many of these plans include a surety bond that Minnesota will not released until Minnesota receives the transcripts.  Minnesota retains transcripts for 50 years.

b.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?
  • Agency Name: Minnesota Office of Higher Education
  • Contact Person: Brian Geraghty
  • Contact Phone: 651-259-3976
  • Contact Address: 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55108
  • Contact Email: brian.geraghty@state.mn.us
  • Contact web site: https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=1190
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