Responses Last Confirmed:

Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board

Agency Contact

Jim Parker
(360) 709-4625
jim.parker@wtb.wa.gov

Additional Contact

Darlene Bartlett
(360) 709-4605

Secretary of State Contact

Kim Wyman
360-902-4151
kim.wyman@sos.wa.gov
Topic

1: Important Agency Information to Note

a.
Provide any important information about your agency.

The Workforce Training & Education Coordinating Board establishes procedures for the licensing and regulation of private vocational schools to protect students against false, deceptive, misleading, or unfair practices and to help ensure adequate educational quality at private vocational schools.

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.

_____ Public, in-state degree granting institutions
_____ 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
__X__ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions
__X__ 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:

If you are a provider offering a vocational education training program to the general public with a program length of more than three days, and charging tuition, you may need to obtain a “Private Vocational School License” to comply with the State’s Private Vocational School Act. The Workforce Board both licenses and approves both institutions and programs being offered at a cost to the general public, that are teaching a vocational career and are longer than 3 calendar days.

Topic

3: Accreditation

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

No, accreditation is voluntary. 

“Accreditation" is a status granted to a school by one or more of the accrediting organizations recognized and approved by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Accreditation is voluntary and does not imply automatic transfer of credits from one institution to another.

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

No response provided

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
____ Religious institutions
____ Tribally-controlled institutions
____ Federal Institutions
____ Municipal institutions

c.
Clarifying comments:

The Workforce Board only oversees non-degree granting private institutions operating within Washington State, as well as out-of-state private institutions and schools that establish a “physical presence” within Washington. WAC 490-105-030: Definitions. "Physical presence" includes, but is not limited to, maintaining a mailing address within the state of Washington, the presence of a facility or equipment; the presence of electronic, paper, and other types of records; the presence of a speaking agent, manager, resident director, or similar administrator; the presence of direct advertising and marketing to Washington residents or field placements, including externships, clinicals, or practica as part of an educational program and taking place within the state of Washington.

Topic

4: Exemptions

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

Yes, RCW 28C.10.030: his chapter does not apply to:

(1) Bona fide trade, business, professional, or fraternal organizations conducting educational programs primarily for that organization's membership or offered by that organization on a no-fee basis;

(2) Entities offering education that is exclusively avocational or recreational;

(3) Education not requiring payment of money or other consideration if this education is not advertised or promoted as leading toward educational credentials;

(4) Entities that are established, operated, and governed by this state or its political subdivisions under Title 28A or 28B RCW or this title;

(5) Degree-granting programs in compliance with the rules of the student achievement council;

(6) Any other entity to the extent that it has been exempted from some or all of the provisions of this chapter under RCW 28C.10.100;

(7) Entities not otherwise exempt that are of a religious character, but only as to those educational programs exclusively devoted to religious or theological objectives and represented accurately in institutional catalogs or other official publications;

(8) Entities offering only courses certified by the federal aviation administration;

(9) Barber and cosmetology schools licensed under chapter 18.16 RCW;

(10) Entities which only offer courses approved to meet the continuing education requirements for licensure under chapter 18.04, 18.79, or 48.17 RCW; and

(11) Entities not otherwise exempt offering only workshops or seminars lasting no longer than three calendar days.

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions? Which types of programs?
  • Avocational or recreational
  • Workshops or seminars lasting less than 3 calendar days
  • Business to business training
  • Training free of charge
  • Review programs for test preparation
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?

Yes, if an out of state school is advertising directly to Washington State students, they are required to be licensed.

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

Yes. WAC 490-105-030: Definitions. "Physical presence" includes, but is not limited to, maintaining a mailing address within the state of Washington, the presence of a facility or equipment; the presence of electronic, paper, and other types of records; the presence of a speaking agent, manager, resident director, or similar administrator; the presence of direct advertising and marketing to Washington residents or field placements, including externships, clinicals, or practica as part of an educational program and taking place within the state of Washington.

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

Yes, if the training is advertised to Washington State students and is teaching a vocational career, they are required to be licensed, regardless of physical presence or not.

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" includes, but is not limited to, maintaining a mailing address within the state of Washington, the presence of a facility or equipment; the presence of electronic, paper, and other types of records; the presence of a speaking agent, manager, resident director, or similar administrator; the presence of direct advertising and marketing to Washington residents or field placements, including externships, clinicals, or practica as part of an educational program and taking place within the state of Washington.

b.
Web link for physical presence definition.
c.
Clarifying comments:

Agencies definition of physical presence above.

Topic

7: Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions

a.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about SARA participating Institutions.
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 are handled by the licensing agency. WSAC oversees public, private and technical degree granting, while the Workforce Board oversees private and technical, non-degree granting complaints.

c.
Web link for student complaints – SARA participating institutions.
d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?

The Workforce Board does not handle student complaints with SARA approved schools. The Washington State Student Achievement Council is the agency tasked with this duty.

Contact Name: Sam Loftin

Title: Director of Consumer Protection

Agency: WSAC

Address: 917 Lakeridge Way SW Olympia, WA 98504

Email: SamL@wsac.wa.gov

Phone: 360-485-1078

URL:

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?

If the Workforce Board accepts your complaint, we will forward it to the school for a response. The school has 15 working days to either resolve the complaint directly with you, or send the agency a written response. After receiving the school’s response, we will conduct an investigation and try to reach a negotiated agreement between you and the school. If an agreement is reached, we will confirm the solution in writing and close the matter. If not, we will issue a determination that will be sent to you and the school.

Refunds and Restitution
If the school is ordered by our agency to make a refund, pay restitution, or make other arrangements, (such as additional class time or placement assistance), the school must document how it has complied. In some cases, the Workforce Board may also take separate disciplinary action against the school.

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 are handled by the licensing agency. WSAC oversees public, private and technical degree granting, while the Workforce Board oversees private and technical, non-degree granting complaints.

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?

Contact Name: Jim Parker

Title: Director of Consumer Protection

Agency: Workforce Board

Address: 128 10th Avenue SE Olympia, WA 98501

Email: Jim.parker@wtb.wa.gov

Phone: 360.709.4625

URL:

f.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

9: Surety Bonds

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

WSAC may require any degree-granting institution to have an approved surety bond or other security in lieu of a bond in an amount determined by the council.

The Workforce Board requires a deposit into the Tuition Recovery Trust fund prior to license approval of non-degree granting institutions.

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

10: Tuition Refund Policy

a.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement?
b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

All intuitions licensed under the Private Vocational School Act.

c.
Web link for tuition refund policy.
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)?

Yes. It is for non-degree private career schools operating within the state of Washington.

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

All approved and licensed schools.

d.
Clarifying comments:

Refer to WAC 490-105-080 for TRTF fees. https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=490-105-080

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?

WAC 490-105-060: each school must submit the following information annually for each student who participated in training during the reporting period:

(1) Student name, address, telephone number and Social Security number if provided by the student;

(2) Start date of training and date of completion or dropout;

(3) Enrollment status as of the end of the reporting period;

(4) Previous education before starting the current training program;

(5) Race;

(6) Date of birth;

(7) Gender;

(9) Hispanic/non-Hispanic

(8) Disability status;

(10) Program title and duration (in months);

(11) Veteran status;

(12) Grade point average (GPA) or pass/fail;

(13) If complete, what credential earned;

(14) Any other information that the agency deems appropriate.

b.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Once a year.

c.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

Yes, on Career Bridge under performance results if the school is an approved Eligible Training Provide (ETP)

e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

13: Enforcement

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

A school can be placed in an “at risk” status, or possibly have school license suspended or revoked.

b.
Web link for enforcement information.
c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

14: Application Process

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

An entity wishing to operate a private vocational school must apply for a license according to instructions provided by the agency. If the agency determines an application is deficient, the applicant will be notified. The applicant must correct the deficiencies within thirty days of notification. If that fails to occur, the application may be returned to the applicant. The license application fee will not be refunded. The agency's executive director or designee may deny a license application for just cause.

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

15: Fees Associated with Authorization

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

Yes

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

If the school's total annual tuition income is:

Its Annual License Fee is:

$0 - $25,000

$250

$25,001 - $50,000

$500

$50,001 - $100,000

$600

$100,001 - $250,000

$750

$250,001 - $500,000

$1,000

$500,001 - $1,000,000

$1,500

$1,000,001 - $2,500,000

$2,000

$2,500,001+

$2,500

Other fees:

Sales Agents representing out-of-state schools

$120 annually per agent

Late filing of renewal application

$25 per day to a maximum of 30 calendar days

Auxiliary location certificate, reissuance of license/auxiliary certificate, change of school name or location

$25

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?

The school makes the decision to hold on to the transcripts, or return them to the Workforce Board. Transcripts are maintained for 50 years following the completion date.

https://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=490-105-200

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

Agency Name: Workforce Board

Contact Person: Barbara Mix

Contact Phone: 360-709-4611

Contact Address: 128 10th Ave SE Olympia, WA 98501

Contact Email: barbara.mix@wtb.wa.gov

Contact website: https://www.wtb.wa.gov/contact-us/closed-school-transcripts/

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