Responses Last Confirmed:

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

Agency Contact

Nikki Bryant
304-558-0261
nikki.bryant@wvhepc.edu

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Andrew "Mac" Warner
(304) 558-6000
wvsos@wvsos.com
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

____      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 institutions

____      Tribally-controlled institutions

_____    Federal Institutions

_____    Municipal institutions

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

__x__ Institution _____ Program _____ Both

c.
Clarifying comments:

When authorizing an accredited out-of-state to temporarily offer degree or courses in the state, approval may be at the programmatic level.

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

___        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:

Policy allows for the recognition of Regional or National accreditation.  By practice, the Commission has generally required Regional accreditation.

Topic

4: Exemptions

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

Exemptions are provided for 1. Non-degree granting institutions and 2. Institutions engaged in collaborative arrangement with in-state public institution.  3. An exemption is offered to Religious organizations/facilities who offer non-accredited, non-transferable biblical programs.

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:

No response provided

Topic

6: Physical Presence Policy

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

Defined in Series 20.

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.

Student files a complaint utilizing the application and process described on the Commission web site.

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.)?

Everything is handled within the agency.

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

The Complaints are received through the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and then forwarded to the appropriate Office/Division for response.

Topic

8: Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions

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

Student files a complaint utilizing the application and process described on the Commission web site.

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.)?

Everything is handled within the agency.

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. 

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

The Complaints are received through the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and then forwarded to the appropriate Office/Division for response.

Nothing precludes a student from filing a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division within the Office of the Attorney General.

 

Topic

9: Surety Bonds

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

No

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?

A new institution authorized to locate in West Virginia must have a refund policy.

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

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?

Non-SARA online institutions must provide enrollment data, identify programs and summarize the process for assessing online quality. 

b.
How frequently do institutions report data?

Annually.

c.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

No. 

d.
Web link for reporting.

No response provided

e.
Clarifying comments:

There is a more extensive reporting requirement for institutions located in West Virginia. 

Topic

13: Enforcement

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

http://www.wvhepc.edu/resources/rules-and-policies/

Series 20, Section 10 and Series 52, Section 10.

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.

For online institutions who are not SARA approved, there is a short application to discern physical presence triggers. There is no specific application for institutions seeking to locate in West Virginia.  The process is spelled out in Series 20.  The entity would submit a self-study report to the Commission and fee after consultation with Academic Affairs staff.

b.
Web link for application.
c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

15: Fees Associated with Authorization

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

$500 for non-SARA online institutions and accredited out-of-state institutions.  For new institutions locating in West Virginia, the fee is $6,000.

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

No response provided

c.
Web link for fee information.

http://www.wvhepc.edu/resources/rules-and-policies/

Series 20, Sections 7.2.c and 8.4.

 

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?

Series 20 states that following a decision to discontinue operations, the institution must notify the Commission and provide the name and address of the agency where records will be maintained.

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

The closing institution identifies the entity that will maintain records.

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