Responses Last Confirmed:

Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner

Agency Contact

Paula Szulc, Associate Commissioner for Student Success
401-736-1116
Paula.szulc@riopc.edu

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Nellie Gorbea
401-222-2357
nmgorbea@sos.ri.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

_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-degree, for-profit institutions

2A2.
Clarifying comments:

The specific powers and duties of the Council are laid out in RIGL 16-59-1RIGL 16-59-2RIGL 16-59-4RIGL 16-59-6. Among these, the Council is charged with "[formulating] broad policy to implement the goals and objectives established and adopted by the board of education; [adopting] standards and [requiring] enforcement; and [exercising] general supervision over all higher public education in the state and over independent higher education in the state" (RIGL 16-59-4[3]). In exercising these policymaking duties, the Council is the successor to the Board of Governors for Higher Education.

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

    Yes, for degree-granting institutions only.

    2B2.
    Clarifying comments:

    Per the Regulations Governing Institutions of Higher Education Operating in Rhode Island (https://www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/01/04/A5_regsinst.pdf), Degree-granting institutions of higher education outside of the RI system of public higher education, including in-state and out-of-state independent institutions and out-0f-state public institutions must provide evidence that they have initiated discussions with the New England Association of Schools and College (NEASC) in order to receive initial approval to operate. Within five years and before receiving full approval, these institutions

    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
    __x__ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions
    _x___ Non-degree, for-profit institutions
    _x___ Religious

    2B4.
    Clarifying comments:

    Degree-granting institutions of higher education outside of the Rhode Island system of public higher education, including in-state and out-of-state independent institutions and out-of-state public institutions. These institutions may apply to offer courses that award college-level credit, programs, degrees, or certificates (at any level). To receive initial approval, these institutions must provide evidence that they have initiated discussions with the New England Association of Schools and College (NEASC). Within five years and before receiving full approval, these institutions must be

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

    ____ Institution   _____ Program   __X___ 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:

    No response provided

    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.
    1. Regulations Governing Institutions of Higher Education Operating in Rhode Island (https://www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/01/04/A5_regsinst.pdf); Section IV: Exemptions (p. 23).
    1. Regulations Governing Proprietary Schools in Rhode Island (https://www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/01/04/A6_proprietaryregs_063008.pdf); Section II: General Provisions for Proprietary Schools and Exemptions (p. 4).
    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.

    No response provided

    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

    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

    No response provided

    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.

    No response provided

    7A2.
    URL for Fee Information

    See 1.B.1, above.

    7A3.
    Clarifying comments:

    On June 17, 2015, the Council on Postsecondary Education approved the increased in application fees for proprietary schools.  See file:///C:/Users/dvelletri/Documents/DATA/Proprietary/Applications%20and%20Regulations/Board%20approval%20increase%20in%20fees%20061715.pdf

    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?

    No response provided

    8A2.
    URL for reporting

    https://www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/01/04/A4_Academic_Changes_Regs.pdf

    8A3.
    How frequently do institutions report data?

    Annually, or as requested.

    8A4.
    Is this information published or shared publicly?

    No. 

    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?
    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.)?

    No response provided

    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)?

    No response provided

    9B2.
    Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?

    Proprietary Schools and SARA-approved institutions:

    • Deanna Velletri
    • Proprietary School Specialist
    • RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner
    • 560 Jefferson Boulevard Suite 100
    • Warwick, RI 02886
    • Deanna.velletri@riopc.edu
    • 401-736-1118
    • www.riopc.edu

     

                   Public Institutions of Higher Education in Rhode Island:

    • Abby Godino
    • Legislative and Policy Advisor
    • RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner
    • 560 Jefferson Boulevard Suite 100
    • Warwick, RI 02886
    • gabrielle.godino@riopc.edu
    • 401-736-1122
    • www.riopc.edu
    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.
    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.)?

    All within OPC.

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

    Deanna Velletri

    Proprietary School Specialist

    RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner

    560 Jefferson Boulevard Suite 100

    Warwick, RI 02886

    Deanna.velletri@riopc.edu

    401-736-1118

    www.riopc.edu

    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).

    https://www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/01/04/A6_proprietaryregs_063008.pdf; Administrative Penalties and Suspension of Certain Operations, page 14.

    Topic:

    Records Retention

    12A1.
    When a school closes, what is the process your state uses to ensure that transcripts/records are kept available?
    12B1.
    From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?
    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