Responses Last Confirmed:

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Agency Contact

Patricia Landis, Division Chief
717-783-8228
plandis@pa.gov

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Pedro A. Cortés
717-787-1057
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
__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
__x__    Non

2A2.
Clarifying comments:

Out-of-State institutions are regulated if physical presence is established.

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

No response provided

2B2.
Clarifying comments:

Accreditation for new degree-granting institutions must be obtained within three years.

Out-of-state institutions that establish physical presence must be accredited.

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:
  • In-State Degree-granting institutions: accrediting body recognized by the Federal
  • Government and acceptable to the Department
  • In-State Degree-granting institutions who do not need PDE Program approval: Needs regional accreditation
  • In-State College to University Status: regional accreditation
  • Out-of-State Degree-Granting Institutions with physical presence in PA: accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education and acceptable to the Department
  • Non-degree: not required

 

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

____ Institution   _____ Program   ___X__ Both

2C2.
Clarifying comments:
  • Out-of-State: Both
2D1.
Does your state require a Surety Bond for authorized out-of-state institutions? Yes or No.

No response provided

2D2.
Clarifying comments:
  • Only for non-degree granting institutions
2E1.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement? If so, for which types of institutions?
  • Yes, but only for non-degree granting institutions.
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.

No exemptions regarding any institution physically in PA.

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. 

4A3.
Clarifying comments:
  • Degree-granting institutions: Out-of-state degree granting institutions who have a physical presence in PA must be authorized to operate in PA.
  • Non-degree granting institutions: If out-of-state non-degree-granting institutions recruit in PA, they must be registered.
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.

No response provided

5A2.
URL for physical presence definition
5A3.
Clarifying comments:
  • Title 22 Chapter 31 – §31.2

Physical presence—The operation of an entity that offers courses, programs, or degrees or maintains a campus, or an administrative, corporate or other address, including a post office box, telephone number, recruiters, instructors, advertising in local media and publications at a location in this Commonwealth.

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
  • An application form must be completed and the appropriate fees must be in accordance with our website.
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:
  • Education Enterprise (Out-of-State Authorization): $10,000
  • Education Enterprise New Program: $1,400
  • Education Enterprise Renewal: $2,000 every 5 years
  • SARA Participants: Fee schedule at www.education.pa.gov/SARA
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?
  • Education Enterprises are required to renew every five (5) years. Information to report includes accreditation status, program enrollment, program advisory committee members and meeting minutes from the past three meetings, current administration & faculty, admission requirements, and library and learning resources available to PA students.
  • Education Enterprises must also submit an Annual Survey of Educational Programs in January of each year.

Beginning 2021, Education Enterprises will need to provide assurance that federal student loan disclosures are given to students as required in

8A2.
URL for reporting
8A3.
How frequently do institutions report data?
  • Renewals: every 5 years
  • Annual Reports: Annually by March 1  
  • Annual Survey of Educational Programs: Annually by January 15
8A4.
Is this information published or shared publicly?
  • All information is public.
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?
  • Students may submit a complaint form to the Pennsylvania Department of Education if the school has a physical presence in PA. If the school does not have physical presence, the complaint in forwarded to the state in which the school is located. Our Division will cooperate in any way possible to assist the home state in review of the complaint. 
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 handled within the agency.
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)?
  • If the complaint is an out-of-state institution, the complaint is sent to the home state that the institution resides.
9B2.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Contact Name: Division of Higher and Career Education
  • Title: Administrative Assistant
  • Agency: Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Address: 333 Market Street 12th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17126
  • Email: RA-pls@pa.gov
  • Phone: 717-783-8228
  • URL: www.education.pa.gov/SARA
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.
  • When an individual contacts the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) with an informal complaint, they should be sent a higher education complaint form or referred to the complaint form on PDE’s website.  The form is available at http://www.education.pa.gov/SARA. Complainants must print the complaint form and mail it to PDE with their signature before PDE can take official action.  If they do not have Internet access or prefer a paper form, a paper complaint form can be mailed. When a complaint form is received, staff will add the complaint information to the higher education complaint
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 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: Division of Higher and Career Education
  • Title: Administrative Assistant
  • Agency: Pennsylvania Department of Education
  • Address: 333 Market Street 12th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17126
  • Email: RA-pls@pa.gov
  • Phone: 717-783-8228
  • URL: www.education.pa.gov/SARA
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?
  • Non-degree granting institutions must have a signed repository agreement at all times with another institution to keep records for 50 years in the event of a closure.
  • Degree-granting institutions must provide us with the location where records will be maintained.
12B1.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?

 

  • Agency Name: The designated institution/company the school has contracted with to keep records. A list is published on our website and kept in our office to update students when they call for information.
  • Contact Person: n/a
  • Contact Phone: n/a
  • Contact Address: n/a
  • Contact Email: n/a
  • Contact web site: n/a
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