Responses Last Confirmed:

Montana Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education

Agency Contact

Joseph Thiel
406-449-9134
stateauthorization@montana.edu

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Corey Stapleton
406-444-2034
sos@mt.gov
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

NO INFORMATION PROVIDED AT THIS TIME

_X__    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
____    Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions
____    Non-degree, not-for

2A2.
Clarifying comments:

Montana grants exemptions to religious institutions in accordance with Federal definitions.

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

Yes

2B2.
Clarifying comments:

Accreditation, candidacy for accreditation or an MOU with an accredited institution which will grant degrees until candidacy is achieved is required.

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

No response provided

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
____

2B4.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

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

No response provided

_X__ Institution   _____ Program   _____ 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:

$10,000 Surety bond required for institutions who lack a Federal Financial Responsibility Score of 1.0 or greater.

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.

Authorization requirements do not apply to:

• Religious institutions that are owned, controlled, operated and maintained by a religious organization lawfully operating as a non-profit religious corporation and that award only religious degrees or certificates;

• Schools of barbering, cosmetology, electrology, esthetics, and manicuring, which are regulated under Title 37, Chapter 31, MCA;

• Flight schools possessing a valid certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration; and

• Institutions domiciled in states other than Montana that are duly-authorized members of the State

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.

No response provided

5A2.
URL for physical presence definition

No response provided

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

Any institution offering post-secondary degree programs, as defined in Policy 221, in the state of Montana must obtain prior authorization from the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education.

Montana Board of Regents Policy 221

After reviewing the requirements and policies, fill out the applicable form, save it, and email it to the Montana State Authorization Compliance Officer.

State Authorization Application - Public Institutions
State Authorization Application - For-profit/non-profit Institutions

If the Montana State Authorization Compliance Officer informs your institution that it

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.

No Fees

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?

We have no annual reporting procedure. Institutions are responsible for notifying the Office of the Commissioner should their accreditation, ownership, or financial situation change.

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?

No response provided

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.)?

We divide responsibility. Please see language below.

Individuals with complaints regarding institutions that are operating in Montana, but are not part of the Montana University System, have the following options:

  • Utilize the internal complaint processes of the applicable institution.
  • Complaints concerning consumer protection violations should be directed to the Montana Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection. https://dojmt.gov/consumer/consumer-complaints/
  • Complaints concerning proper licensure under Montana law (see Board of Regents’ Policy 221, http://www.mus.edu/borpol
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: Joseph Thiel
  • Title: Director of Academic Policy and Research
  • Agency: Montana University System – Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
  • Address: 560 N Park Avenue, Helena MT 59601
  • Email: stateauthorization@montana.edu
  • Phone: 406-449-9134
  • URL
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.

Individuals with complaints regarding institutions that are operating in Montana, but are not part of the Montana University System, have the following options:

  • Utilize the internal complaint processes of the applicable institution.
  • Complaints concerning consumer protection violations should be directed to the Montana Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection. https://dojmt.gov/consumer/consumer-complaints/
  • Complaints concerning proper licensure under Montana law (see Board of Regents’ Policy 221, http://www.mus.edu/borpol/bor200/221.pdf), including, if applicable, complaints
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.)?

Complaints regarding SARA participation are handled within our agency.

10A3.
URL for student complaints – SARA participating institutions
10A4.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Contact Name: Joseph Thiel
  • Title: Director of Academic Policy and Research
  • Agency: Montana University System – Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
  • Address: 560 N Park Avenue, Helena MT 59601
  • Email: stateauthorization@montana.edu
  • Phone: 406-449-9134
  • URL
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?

The following language is included in policy 221

Procedures Applicable to Closure of Institution.

1. Notification. In the event an institution closes and ceases operations, the chief administrative officer is required to provide timely notification, in writing, to the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and currently enrolled or recruited students of its intentions. The written notification to the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education must include:

· Name, mailing address, email address and telephone number of the chief administrative officer (or designee), valid for

12B1.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?
  • Contact Name: Joseph Thiel
  • Title: Director of Academic Policy and Research
  • Agency: Montana University System – Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
  • Address: 560 N Park Avenue, Helena MT 59601
  • Email: stateauthorization@montana.edu
  • Phone: 406-449-9134
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