1: Important Agency Information to Note
North Carolina General Statute 116-15 gives the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina authority to issue licenses to nonpublic and out-of-state institutions to conduct post-secondary degree activity in North Carolina. The Board is statutorily empowered to establish the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures it considers necessary to carry out its duties. Undertaking postsecondary activity in North Carolina includes delivery of instruction from another state to residents of North Carolina, whether delivered synchronously or asynchronously. Licenses and exemptions are issued on a program-by-program basis.
Through licensing institutions and granting exemptions from licensure, the Board of Governors performs an important consumer protection function. The Board also assures that post-secondary educational institutions operating wholly or in part in North Carolina provide students with an education of good quality.
The University of North Carolina System Office maintains a staff to implement the licensure statute using the Rules and Standards for Licensure established by the Board of Governors.
2: Types of Educational Providers Authorized
_____ 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 profit institutions
_____ Non-degree, for-profit institutions
__X__ Religious institutions
_____ Tribally-controlled institutions
_____ Federal Institutions
_____ Municipal institutions
_____Institution __X___ Program _____Both
Licenses and exemptions are issued to institutions on a program-by-program basis.
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
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). An institution conducting post-secondary degree activity in North Carolina pursuant to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) shall be exempt from state authorization requirements. This exemption applies to some, but not all, distance learning programs.
Religious Exemption. Post-secondary degree activity which is planned by the institution to lead to a degree in theology, divinity, or religious education, and postsecondary activity which is designed by the institution primarily for career preparation in a religious vocation is not subject to licensure. (G.S. 116-15(d)).
Military Exemption. If an institution undertakes post-secondary degree activity on military reservations for military personnel stationed on active duty there, or their dependents, or employees of the military, the institution shall be exempt from licensure requirements. (G.S. 116-15(e)). If the institution offers or conducts post-secondary degree activity for other persons, the institution is subject to licensure.
Continuous Post-Secondary Degree Activity since 1972. An institution which has been continuously conducting postsecondary degree activity in North Carolina under the same name or series of names since July 1, 1972 shall be exempt from licensure upon presenting to the Board information acceptable to the Board which substantiates that activity.
See above links.
5: Authorization of Distance Education
6: Physical Presence Policy
The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina defines post-secondary degree activity as awarding a postsecondary degree; or conducting or offering study, experience, or testing for an individual or certifying prior successful completion by an individual of study, experience, or testing, under the representation that the individual successfully completing the study, experience, or testing will receive credit, at least in part, that may be used toward a postsecondary degree. Undertaking postsecondary activity in North Carolina includes delivery of instruction from another state to residents of North Carolina, whether delivered synchronously or asynchronously. Postsecondary degree activity includes conduct with respect to either a complete postsecondary degree program or any study, experience or testing represented as creditable toward a postsecondary degree.
7: Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions
This process is handled by SARA-NC.
This process is handled by SARA-NC.
Student complaints are made through an online portal and tracking system available at SARA-NC.
8: Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions
We gather information from the student filing the complaint. We reach out to the institution regarding the complaint, the process, and the final decision from the institution. If necessary, we include the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice.
Yes – to the extent such an institution is offering postsecondary education in North Carolina exclusively through SARA, we will refer the complaint to SARA-NC.
- Contact Name: Kaity McNeill
- Title: Assistant VP for Higher Education & Regulatory Affairs
- Agency: State Authorization Unit of the University of North Carolina System
- Address: 223 S. West Street, Suite 1800, Raleigh, NC 27603
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 919-962-4550
- URL: Student Complaints Website
9: Surety Bonds
North Carolina requires tuition guarantee bonds. The amount of the bond is based on the maximum amount of unearned tuition held by the institution during its academic year. Contact state authorization staff for information on calculating “unearned tuition held.”
10: Tuition Refund Policy
All licensed institutions.
North Carolina has a series of disclosures that must be made in the institutions “catalog,” a term which can include a webpage or webpages. Prospective students must have access to the disclosures for five days prior to any payment to the institution becoming non-refundable.
11: Student Tuition Recovery Fund
Not for degree-granting institutions.
Institutions file an annual report which includes some data reporting – attrition rate by program, graduation rate by program, and job placement rate by program. Job placement rate is only required to be reported if the institution already reports it for some other purpose, such as accreditation.
Institutions submit an annual report, along with annual renewal fees for licensed programs.
The information received from the annual report is not shared publicly but may be subject to public access under the North Carolina Public Records Law.
The license to operate being suspended or revoked or limited.
N/A. also see other policy.
14: Application Process
The Board of Governors has statutory responsibility for issuing licenses and for granting exemptions from licensure. The licensure statute specifies that institutions must meet 15 standards to obtain a license. These 15 standards are described in the Rules and Standards. Institutional representatives, not students, must contact the state concerning application for licensure. The first step of the licensure process is the preliminary conference, followed by the online application, site visit and review by the Board of Governors.
15: Fees Associated with Authorization
Yes. See below for the fee schedule.
Application fee for an institution's first application for licensure is $5,000.00. For institutions applying to offer academic programs in North Carolina, this fee includes up to four degree programs at the associate or bachelor's levels, two degree programs at the master's level, or one degree program at the doctoral level. Institutions whose first application for licensure includes degree programs beyond those limits will pay additional application fees. There are also fees associated with the site visits and program reviews.
16: Records Retention
Institutions must send records to the State Archives of North Carolina.
- Agency Name: State Archives of North Carolina
- Contact Person: Erin Fulp
- Contact Phone: 919-814-6840
- Contact Address: 4614 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4614
- Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Contact web site: https://archives.ncdcr.gov/researchers/services/academic-transcripts-defunct-colleges