Responses Last Confirmed:

Washington Student Achievement Council

Agency Contact

Tivoli Sharp
360-753-7869
tivolis@wsac.wa.gov

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Kim Wyman
3609024151
kim.wyman@sos.wa.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

____ 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

____ 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__

2A2.
Clarifying comments:

We regulate degree-granting institutions only. Non-degree programs are regulated by different state agencies. We do not differentiate between for-profit and not-for-profit in our review process. We do not grant authorization to religious institutions, we grant exemptions, however they are the only type of exemption that has a regular reporting requirement at this time

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

Yes

2B2.
Clarifying comments:

New institutions may submit a plan for accreditation in lieu of being accredited. For more details please see the regulations around accreditation at           https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=250-61-085.

 

2B3.
If yes, what type of accreditation is required? Please, check all that apply as appropriate.

See answer above

Regional Accreditation Required for:

____ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions

____ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

____ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions

____ 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

____

2B4.
Clarifying comments:

Authorized institutions may seek accreditation from any accrediting agency recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and           WSAC. You can find a list of recognized accreditation agencies on the WSAC website at https://wsac.wa.gov/degree-authorization toward the bottom of the page.

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

____ Institution __X__ Program _____ Both

2C2.
Clarifying comments:

authorization is program and site specific

2D1.
Does your state require a Surety Bond for authorized out-of-state institutions? Yes or No.

Yes

2D2.
Clarifying comments:

ALL authorized institutions have a surety bond requirement

2E1.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement? If so, for which types of institutions?

Yes, for authorized institutions. The Tuition Recover Trust Fund (TRTF) was established in the 2018 legislative session and has not been implemented yet

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.

WAC 250-61-063 (https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=250-61-060) clearly lists all categories of institutions eligible for exemption

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:

If the online program includes a required field placement component, then field placement authorization is required

4B1.
Does your agency require correspondence study programs to be authorized without regard to physical presence? Yes or No

No

4B2.
Clarifying comments:

If the correspondence study program includes a required field placement component, then field placement authorization is required

 

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.

We use “operate” interchangeably with “physical presence”. Per WAC 250-61-050(17): "Operate" means, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Offering courses for academic credit at any Washington location or via distance learning from a Washington location.

(b) Granting or offering to grant degrees in Washington for credit obtained within or outside the state.

(c) Maintaining or advertising a Washington location, mailing address, or telecommunications number for any purpose other than contact with the institution's former students for any legitimate purpose related to their previous

5A2.
URL for physical presence definition
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

Application review procedures: https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=250-61-180                                  180

Notes: The minimum comment period is 30 days. A site visit, external consultants, and comment period are not typically required for institutions seeking to advertise/recruit locally in WA or offer field placement components only.

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.

Initial Standard Authorization: $2,000 plus $1,000 for each degree program

Standard Renewal: $1,000 plus $250 for each degree program

Initial Field Placement Authorization: $2,000

Field Placement Renewal: $1,000

Late Application Fee: $1,000

7A2.
URL for Fee Information

Fee information is listed in WAC 250-60-170 (https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=250-61-170

7A3.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

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?

The following information is required in the initial application and biennially in the renewal application:                        

  • Administrative Requirements (i.e. application fee, surety bond, etc.)
  • General Institutional Requirements (i.e. contact information, mission statement, accreditation, legal operating status, ownership, administrative officers, etc.)
  • Academic Requirements (i.e. program info, faculty, enrollments, mode of delivery, etc.)
  • Instructional Resources and Support Services (i.e. facilities, library, student services, finances, etc.)
  • Catalog (i.e. institutional
8A2.
URL for reporting

N/A, applications are submitted via hardcopy

8A3.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Every two years (biennially)

8A4.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

Data provided by institutions is subject to public records requests and all authorized institutions are listed on our website

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?

WSAC will not investigate student complaints until the student has exhausted the institution’s complaint/appeals process. Please see the email attachment titled “01-Washington Student Complaint Process” for more details.

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.)?
  • WSAC handles complaints for all authorized and most 4-year institutions
  • Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTB) handles complaints for all non-degree private vocational schools
  • WA Department of Licensing (DOL) handles complaints for cosmetology schools
  • State Board of Community and Technical College (SBCTC) handles complaints for the 34 public community and technical colleges

The regulatory agencies in WA are currently working to launch a central student complaint portal where all students, regardless of which institution they attend, can submit their complaint.

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, some in-state exempt institutions maintain an MOA with WSAC for third party complaint resolution as required by the U.S. Department of Education

9B2.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Contact Name Kelly Olson
  • Title Program Associate, Consumer Protection
  • Agency Washington Student Achievement Council
  • Address P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430
  • Email complaints@wsac.wa.gov
  • Phone 360-753-7625
  • URL https://wsac.wa.gov/student-complaints
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.

WSAC will not investigate student complaints until the student has exhausted the institution’s complaint/appeals process. Please see the email attachment titled “01-Washington Student Complaint Process” for more details.

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 SARA related complaints are handled by WSAC

10A3.
URL for student complaints – SARA participating institutions

WSAC will not investigate student complaints until the student has exhausted the institution’s complaint/appeals process. Please see the email attachment titled “01-Washington Student Complaint Process” for more details.

10A4.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Contact Name Tivoli Sharp
  • Title Program Associate, Consumer Protection
  • Agency Washington Student Achievement Council
  • Address P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430
  • Email tivolis@wsac.wa.gov
  • Phone 360-753-7869
  • URL https://wsac.wa.gov/student-complaints
10A5.
Clarifying comments:

the complaint process is the same for SARA/non-SARA institutions regulated by WSAC

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).
Topic:

Records Retention

12A1.
When a school closes, what is the process your state uses to ensure that transcripts/records are kept available?

Requirements for closed school records are outlined in WAC 250-61-160 (https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=250-61-160)

Which require that schools provide WSAC with the following:

  • Electronic copies of transcripts for all current and past students
  • An account ledger for each student that includes, at a minimum, clear and correct information about student charges, payments, and the source for each payment
  • A plan for the maintenance of student records

In the event it appears to the council that the official records of an institution discontinuing its operations are in danger of

12B1.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?
  • Agency Name Washington Student Achievement Council
  • Contact Person Kelly Olson
  • Contact Phone 360-753-7625
  • Contact Address P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430
  • Contact Email degreeauthorization@wsac.wa.gov
  • Contact web site https://wsac.wa.gov/protecting-education-consumers
Topic:

Additional Information

13A1.
Is there anything else about the authorization process in your state that we and others ought to know about?

Please contact WSAC staff if you have any questions or would like to request a copy of any applications for authorization