Responses Last Confirmed:

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Agency Contact

Stacey Silverman, PhD, Assistant Commissioner, Academic and Health Affairs
512-427-6206
stacey.silverman@highered.texas.gov

Additional Contact

John Wyatt, Director, External Relations
512.427.6586

Secretary of State Contact

Ruth Hughs
512-463-5770
secretary@sos.texas.gov
Topic

1: Important Agency Information to Note

a.
Provide any important information about your agency.

The mission of the THECB is to provide leadership and coordination for Texas higher education and to promote access, affordability, quality, success, and cost efficiency through 60x30TX, resulting in a globally competitive workforce that positions Texas as an international leader.

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__ 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

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

____ Institution _____ Program _X___ Both

c.
Clarifying comments:

For the above indicated institutions (#2A1), THECB-recognized accreditation is required. Recognized accreditors are found here: https://www.highered.texas.gov/institutional-resources-programs/private-postsecondary-institutions/recognition-of-accrediting-agencies/

* Out-of-state institutions need authorization if they trigger physical presence outside of SARA or exceeding SARA parameters.

Topic

3: Accreditation

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

Yes

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

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
____ 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

c.
Clarifying comments:

An institution can apply for a Certificate of Authority if working toward recognized accreditation. The institution must have recognized accreditation within eight years. THECB does not recognize all accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) licenses non-degree private institutions. Please see TWC responses for private non-degree institutions.

Topic

4: Exemptions

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

Religious institutions and certain 100% distance education institutions. See, https://www.highered.texas.gov/institutional-resources-programs/private-postsecondary-institutions/exemptions/

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

See above.

c.
Web link for exemptions.

See above.

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

yes. See THECB Rule 7.14

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

Correspondence study would be considered distance education and rules applied similarly.

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

6: Physical Presence Policy

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

Physical presence is based on activities and location within the state.

b.
Web link for physical presence definition.
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.

Forward to correct state portal personnel. If Texas institution, Kammi Contreras or Jessica Acton, Texas SARA state portal contact.

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.)?

Within agency, as applicable.

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

Same as above

 

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

All student complaints are routed to staff to handle complaints.

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.)?

The above webpage provides information on the scope of complaints handled or not handled by THECB staff. Staff may also refer complaints to appropriate state agencies, federal agencies, or accreditors.

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)?

No. Staff would refer to appropriate agency with oversight.

d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
e.
Web link for the complaint form.
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

c.
Clarifying comments:

Questions regarding surety instruments should be directed to Paul Shuler (paul.shuler@highered.texas.gov). Surety instruments are required for all private postsecondary institutions authorized to offer degrees in the state.

Topic

10: Tuition Refund Policy

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

Students can make a claim to THECB for tuition and fees from the private postsecondary institution’s surety instrument.

For public institutions, see Student Refund Policy Information Page: for Universities and Health-Related Ins…

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

See above.

c.
Web link for tuition refund policy.

See above.

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, only a process to make claims on surety instruments for private postsecondary institutions.

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?

All institutions must complete annual compliance reporting and student data reporting.

b.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Annually

c.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

Student data reporting information is publicly available.

e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

13: Enforcement

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

Several THECB administrative rules address non-compliance for institutions under Certificates of Authorizations or Certificates of Authority, specifically, Rules 7.5, 7.7, and 7.8.

b.
Web link for enforcement information.

See rules regarding degree granting colleges and universities other than Texas public institutions at: https://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/public/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=19&pt=1&ch=7&sch=A&rl=Y

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

14: Application Process

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

Private postsecondary institutions must apply for and obtain state authorization prior to any educational activities, advertising, or enrolling of students.

c.
Clarifying comments:

THECB-recognized accredited institutions apply for a Certificate of Authorization; non-accredited institutions apply for a Certificate of Authority.

Topic

15: Fees Associated with Authorization

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

No fee for Certificate of Authorization; $5000 application and site visits expenses for a Certificate of Authority.

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

See above.

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?

Staff have begun to compile a closed school transcript repository. Additional transcripts will be added over time.

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