Responses Last Confirmed:

South Carolina Commission on Higher Education

Agency Contact

Argentini Anderson, Ph.D., Assistant Director, Sponsored and Licensed Programs
803-737-2276
aanderson@che.sc.gov

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Mark Hammond
803-734-2170
rdaggerhart@sos.sc.gov
Topic

1: Important Agency Information to Note

a.
Provide any important information about your agency.

No response provided

Topic

2: Types of Educational Providers Authorized

a.
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    Non-degree, not‐for-profit institutions

          x   Non-degree, for‐profit institutions

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

____ Institution   _____ Program   __X___ Both

c.
Clarifying comments:

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education licenses all out-of-state institutions that are operating or soliciting in South Carolina in any delivery format as well as in-state institutions not exempt by statute. *The Commission coordinates activities of in-state public institutions (program and facility approval) but does not authorize them through the Nonpublic    Postsecondary Institution Act. Private, in‐state, not‐for‐profit degree granting institutions founded in SC prior to 1953 are exempt from authorization.

 

South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation has oversight of specific occupations including nursing, barbering, and cosmetology.

                       SC Board of Nursing approves initial licensure Nursing programs.

                       Board’s website: https://www.llr.sc.gov/POL/Nursing/

                       SC Board of Barber Examiners

                       Board’s website: https://www.llr.sc.gov/POL/Barber/

                       SC Board of Cosmetology

                       Board’s website: https://www.llr.sc.gov/POL/Cosmetology/

Topic

3: Accreditation

a.
Is accreditation required for an institution to be authorized in your state?

Yes, for degree-granting institutions.

b.
If yes, please check all that apply as appropriate.

Accreditation Required for:

          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

c.
Clarifying comments:

National or regional accreditation is required for authorization of non-public postsecondary degree granting institutions who wish to seek licensure in SC.

Topic

4: Exemptions

a.
Are certain institutions or programs exempt by law or policy from your state authorization requirements?

http://www.che.sc.gov/InstitutionsEducators/Licensing/LicensingofNon-PublicPostsecondaryInstitutions.aspx

See Nonpublic Postsecondary Institution License Act, Section 59-58-30 (Exclusions)

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions? Which types of programs?

No response provided

c.
Web link for exemptions.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

5: Authorization of Distance Education

a.
Does your agency require purely online programs offered by out-of-state institutions to be authorized without regard to physical presence?

No.

b.
If not, does your agency determine whether an institution must be authorized based on a physical presence (“operating”) standard?

Yes.

c.
Does your agency require correspondence study programs to be authorized without regard to physical presence?

No.

d.
Clarifying comments:

South Carolina does not require authorization of institutions that only enroll South Carolina residents into online programs unless the institutions operate or solicit in such a way that they create a physical presence.

Topic

6: Physical Presence Policy

a.
If your agency uses a physical presence standard, how does your agency define physical presence?

The link for determining physical presence is below.

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

7: Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions

a.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about SARA participating Institutions.

SARA-related complaints are reviewed and processed according to SARA policy.

b.
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 maybe referred to various state agencies depending on the nature of the complaint. Examples are included in the complaint form. 

c.
Web link for student complaints – SARA participating institutions.

http://www.che.sc.gov/CHE_Docs/academicaffairs/license/Complaint_Procedures_and_Form.pdf

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

Peggy Simons

Coordinator, Postsecondary Institution Licensing

South Carolina Commission on Higher Education

1122 Lady Street, Suite 300

Columbia, SC 29201

803.737.3922

psimons@che.sc.gov

e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

8: Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions

a.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about out-of-state postsecondary institutions or programs?

Step by step instructions for handling complaints from a variety of institutional types is  explained in the complaint form.

b.
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 maybe referred to various state agencies depending on the nature of the complaint. Examples are included in the complaint form. 

c.
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. 

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

SC Commission on Higher Education

 Academic Affairs

Attn: Student Complaint

1122 Lady Street, Suite 300

Columbia, SC 29201

         or

E-mail: submitcomplaint@che.sc.gov

e.
Web link for the complaint form.

http://www.che.sc.gov/CHE_Docs/academicaffairs/license/Complaint_Procedures_and_Form.pdf

f.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

9: Surety Bonds

a.
Does your state require a Surety Bond for authorized out-of-state institutions?

Yes

b.
Web link for surety bonds.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

10: Tuition Refund Policy

a.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement?

Yes, both licensed degree and nondegree granting institutions must have a tuition refund policy that is set forth in statute and regulation.

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

No response provided

c.
Web link for tuition refund policy.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

11: Student Tuition Recovery Fund

a.
Does your state have a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (or similar fund for school closure)?

No

SC requires that all nonpublic postsecondary institutions that are licensed by the SC Commission on Higher Education to maintain a surety bond that would cover any unearned tuition for students in the event of a school closure. We currently have the statutory authority to enact a STRF in SC if we ever promulgate some regulations for it. But currently, we only require the surety bonds.

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

No response provided

c.
Web link for student tuition recovery fund.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

12: Reporting

a.
What kinds of information or data must an institution report to your agency as a condition for continued out-of-state authorization?

Licensed institutions must submit an annual report or license renewal. The report includes information regarding finances, surety bond continuation, insurance, changes in operations, pending litigation, publications (catalog, enrollment contract), student records, enrollments, faculty, curriculum review, Title IV participation, agent permits, and pending complaints.

b.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Annually.

c.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

No. 

d.
Web link for reporting.

N/A requested by staff

e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

13: Enforcement

a.
What are possible consequences of institutional non-compliance?

http://www.che.sc.gov/InstitutionsEducators/Licensing/LicensingofNon-PublicPostsecondaryInstitutions.aspx

See Act, Section 59-58-130 Restraining violations of Chapter or rules and regulations; civil penalties; Section 59-58-110 Denial, revocation or suspension of license or permit; probation.

See CHE Regulation 62-28, Revoking, Suspending, or Refusing to Issue or Renew a License.

b.
Web link for enforcement information.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

14: Application Process

a.
Please provide a short description of the application process to obtain state authorization.

The institution must submit a letter of intent followed by an application for initial licensure (within two years of the LOI). The staff reviews the application and documents and makes a recommendation for staff approval or for a team evaluation.  Staff/team recommendations are reviewed by the executive staff and forwarded to a subcommittee of the Commission. The subcommittee reviews and makes a recommendation to the full Commission. (See Procedures documents on Licensing page:   http://www.che.sc.gov/InstitutionsEducators/Licensing/LicensingofNon-PublicPostsecondaryInstitutions.aspx)

b.
Web link for application.

N/A, must contact a member of the licensing staff to receive an application.

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

15: Fees Associated with Authorization

a.
Is there an application fee associated with the authorization process?

Yes. The initial licensure application fee is one-half of one-percent of projected gross tuition income (minimum $150, maximum $5,500).

b.
If yes, what is the fee or fee schedule?

No response provided

d,
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

16: Records Retention

a.
When a school closes, what is the process your state uses to ensure that transcripts/records are kept available?

In the event that an institution closes, it must submit a plan to the Commission to provide for the retention and disposition of records. The plan shall provide for the assignment of the records to another institution or agency willing to accept responsibility for their safety, maintenance, distribution, and, where appropriate, disposal. If the institution cannot provide for assignment of the records to another institution or agency, the Commission may seize the records and, as necessary,  negotiate for assignment of the records to another institution or agency that will accept   responsibility for their safety, maintenance, distribution, and, where appropriate, disposal.

b.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?

Student records can be requested through the Commission.

A complete list of records that the Commission maintains from closed institutions is  listed on the transcript request form .

Information about closed schools previously licensed by the Commission and student record information is listed on the closed school directory.

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

17: Additional Information

a.
Is there anything else about the authorization process in your state that we and others ought to know about?

No.