Responses Last Confirmed:

Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner

Agency Contact

Deanna Velletri
401-736-1118
deanna.velletri@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

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:
____ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions
_x___ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions
____ 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
____ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions
____ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions
____ 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:

Proprietary: Before an initial approval or renewal of annual approval is issued to a school, the school must show evidence that it is covered by a bond, as prescribed, signed by a surety company authorized to do business in Rhode Island.  The surety company must have a rating of at least A in the AM Best Key Rating Guide. a. The bond must be submitted in the format specified by RIOHE.  Degree-Granting: For-profit institutions will be required and non-profit institutions that are not financially stable will also be required to furnish bonds, with corporate surety, payable to the RIOPC as

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.

Physical presence. a. A provider has a “physical presence” if 1. It is physically located within the borders of Rhode Island; or 2. It maintains or sends within the borders of Rhode Island employees or paid representatives whose purpose is to conduct any activities, including, but not limited to the following: advising of students, offering courses or programs, regular administration of examinations. b. A provider with a legal domicile outside Rhode Island may be exempted from §a.2 under “physical presence,” if it meets both of the following criteria: 1. The provider has been authorized by its

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

Proprietary: https://www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/01/04/A6_proprietaryregs_063008.pdf

Any proprietary school wishing to operate in Rhode Island must first obtain a Certificate of Approval from the Council on Postsecondary Education; renewal of this approval must be obtained annually. In Section III, subsections on Pre‐Application Assessment of Financial Condition and Initial Approval outline the procedures that must be successfully completed for a school to begin operation.  The subsection on Renewal of Annual Approval describes the procedures that must be followed to obtain annual

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.

Proprietary: On June 17, 2015, the Council on Postsecondary Education approves the increase in fees associated with the application, annual renewal and change of ownership of proprietary schools operating in Rhode Island, as follows --

  • Initial Application Fee: $2,000
  • Annual Renewal Fee:  $200
  • Change of Ownership:  $1,000

SARA:

Fees for RI-SARA Institutions 

Rhode Island In-state Institutions: Initial Application Fees

  •  $3,500 for institutions with FTE under 2,500
  •  $6,000 for institutions with FTE 2,500--9,999
  •  $8,500 for institutions with FTE 10,000+

 

7A3.
Clarifying comments:

The proprietary school regulations do not correctly identify the application fees. Proprietary school fees were increased at the June 17, 2015, Council on Postsecondary Education meeting.

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?

Degree-granting:  https://www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/01/04/A5_regsinst.pdf

 

For-profit institutions must submit to the commissioner an annual report (due on or before August 1) covering all programs offered at all levels (i.e., certificate and/or degree programs). The report should contain the following: 1. Current financial statements (prepared by a certified public accountant). Audited financial statements must be supplied annually by for-profit institutions that participate in the federal Title IV student financial aid programs. 2. Evidence of continued bonding through the

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.)?

All within RIOPC

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: Deanna Velletri
  • Title: Specialist, Proprietary Schools and Special Academic Projects
  • Agency: RI Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner
  • Address: 560 Jefferson Boulevard, Warwick, RI 02886
  • Email: Deanna.velletri@riopc.edu
  • Phone: 401-736-1118
  • URL: https://www.riopc.edu/page/student_complaint/
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

14.
Does your state have a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (or similar fund for school closure)? Yes or No. If Yes, for what type of institutions?

No response provided