Education Commission of the States • 700 Broadway, Suite 810 • Denver, CO 80203-3442 • 303.299.3600 • Fax: 303.296.8332 • www.ecs.org
Licensure/Approval Agencies
Licensure/Approval Agencies
Alabama : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Department of Education has approval/licensing authority for for-profit/proprietary vocational/technical schools, nondegree-granting proprietary schools and nonaccredited degree-granting institutions.

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Alaska : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education has licensure and approval authority for all institutions of postsecondary education including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools. It also approves all programs and institutions enrolling students receiving veteran's benefits.

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Arizona : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education has authority over for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools, private degree-granting institutions and other vocational-technical and proprietary schools. The board has 7 members appointed by the governor, and the superintendent of public instruction serves as an ex-officio member.
Arkansas : Postsecondary Governance Structures Out-of-state and proprietary institutions must be certified by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board in order to offer degrees and college-credit courses. The State Board of Private Career Education has approval and licensing authority for vocational and technical programs that do not grant degrees or offer college-level courses.

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California : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education has approval and licensing authority for both degree-granting and nondegree-granting postsecondary programs, schools, colleges and universities within the state that are unaccredited including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.
Colorado : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Commission on Higher Education administers the statute applied to the awarding of degrees by private institutions. Under the provisions of Colorado's Private Vocational School Act of 1975, the State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education serves as the approval agency for private vocational schools.
Connecticut : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Board of Governors for Higher Education has licensing and program approval authority for public and independent degree-granting institutions of postsecondary education, as well as for proprietary vocational or technical schools which qualify for degree-granting status. In July 1993, the Department gained approval authority for all postsecondary private occupational schools, regardless of degree-granting status. The Connecticut Department of Higher Education has approval and licensing authority for for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.

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Delaware : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Department of Education serves as approval authority for all private degree-granting institutions and vocational-technical institutions. Proprietary schools (nondegree granting) are approved by the State Board of Education through the Department of Education. The Delaware Higher Education Commission has approval and licensing authority for for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.

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District of Columbia : Postsecondary Governance Structures The D.C. Education Licensure Commission is the approval and licensure authority for private, proprietary and for-profit vocational-technical postsecondary institutions in the District of Columbia. The Commission has 5 members appointed by the mayor for 3-year terms and is also the state approving agency for veterans' benefits and course approvals.

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Florida : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Commission for Independent Education, within the State Department of Education, has approval and licensing authority for independent postsecondary institutions.
Georgia : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Non-Public Postsecondary Education Commission (NPEC) is a statutory board comprised of 14 members, 13 appointed from each congressional district and 1 at-large member. It has approval and licensing authority for consumer protection by regulating the operations of private degree-granting institutions, postsecondary vocation-technical programs and proprietary schools. NPEC also provides authorization for certificate-granting proprietary schools. It licenses and approves approximately 150 schools on an annual basis.

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Hawaii : Postsecondary Governance Structures Approval authority for propriety vocational and technical schools lies with the State of Hawaii Department of Education. Regarding private degree-granting institutions, Hawaii has statutory requirements relating to disclosure and prohibited practice, but not an approval/licensing law.

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Idaho : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Department of Education under the Board of Education functions as the licensing and approval agency for proprietary schools including for-profit/proprietary vocational technical schools. No approval agency exists for private degree-granting institutions. The Board of Education has statutory authority to maintain a register of courses and programs offered in Idaho by non Idaho postsecondary institutions. The Board also is authorized to establish operational standards for out-of-state institutions, which desire to offer courses or programs in Idaho.

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Illinois : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Illinois Board of Higher Education has authority to approve operating and degree-granting authority for private institutions.

The State Board of Education and the Department of Professional Regulation serve as approval and licensure agencies for most nondegree-granting postsecondary institutions and proprietary institutions not covered by the Board of Higher Education, including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.

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Indiana : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Indiana Commission on Proprietary Education functions as the statutory licensing and approval authority for proprietary institutions.
Iowa : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Iowa Department of Education has approval and licensing authority for for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools. The State Board of Education has been designated as the official approval agency for 2-year public postsecondary vocational-technical programs by the Office of Education. The secretary of state's office is responsible for registering all out-of-state institutions offering programs or courses of study in Iowa. In addition, the secretary of state registers for-profit/proprietary schools that pass approval by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission. No approval and licensing agency exists for private degree-granting institutions.

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Kansas : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Department of Education has approval authority over all vocational-technical and proprietary institutions in the state. The Board of Regents has licensure authority over new in-state degree-granting institutions and registers out-of-state institutions offering courses in Kansas.
Kentucky : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Council on Postsecondary Education has the statutory authority to license all nonprofit colleges and universities, including private degree-granting institutions, which operate in Kentucky, as well as proprietary, baccalaureate degree-granting institutions. Other proprietary institutions, which award an associates degree or other nondegree credentials, are licensed by the State Board for Proprietary Education. Other licensing agencies are responsible for specialized institutions or programs such as barbering, cosmetology and nursing.
Louisiana : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education functions as the approval agency for vocational-technical and proprietary schools. The Board of Regents serves as the licensing authority for proprietary schools, which offer academic degrees and for private academic degree-granting institutions.
Maine : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Board of Education and the State Department of Education are responsible for recommending to the legislature approval of degree-granting authority for postsecondary education institutions.
Maryland : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Maryland Higher Education Commission has licensing and approval authority for all public and private institutions of postsecondary education. In addition, this agency has approval responsibility for the Veterans Administration.

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Massachusetts : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Board of Higher Education has licensing authority over the approval of charters and amendments for independent degree-granting institutions in the state, both proprietary and nonprofit.

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Michigan : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Board of Education has licensing authority for nondegreee vocational-technical and proprietary institutions within the state. Such institutions outside Michigan who wish to recruit Michigan students must have their recruiters licensed in a similar manner. The Board also approves the charters for private degree-granting institutions.

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Minnesota : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Minnesota Higher Education Services Council has licensing authority over all private-degree granting, vocational-technical and for-profit/proprietary schools.
Mississippi : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Commission on College Accreditation functions as the accrediting agency for public and private degree-granting institutions in the state. The Commission on Proprietary School and College Registration serves as the approval and licensing authority for proprietary schools. The Board of Trustees of the State Institutions of Higher Learning is the accrediting agency for all nursing education programs.

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Missouri : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Department of Higher Education issues certificates authorizing postsecondary proprietary institutions to operate within the state that generally do not involve professional licensure of graduates by the state's Professional Registration Division of the Department of Economic Development. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education has approval and licensing authority for for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools. The Board of Cosmetology licenses cosmetologists and schools of cosmetology. The Board of Nursing licenses schools of nursing. The Department of Higher Education also certifies out-of-state institutions that have operations in the state of Missouri. Various types of institutions are exempted from this statutory requirement, such as religious schools that offer programs limited to members of specific denominations or religious organizations.
Montana : Postsecondary Governance Structures Degree-granting institutions must get the Board of Regents' approval or be accredited by 1 of 6 agencies recognized by the Board of Regents. There is no state agency in Montana that regulates, licenses or oversees proprietary schools.

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Nebraska : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Board of Education has licensing and approval authority for the majority of proprietary institutions including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools. The Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education approves new two- and four-year colleges and universities, in addition to out-of-state institutions operating within the state. The Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education has authority to approve the establishment of private degree-granting institutions.

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Nevada : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Commission on Postsecondary Education serves as the approval and licensing authority for private degree-granting, for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical and proprietary institutions.

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New Hampshire : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Postsecondary Education Commission has approval and licensing authority for private and public degree-granting institutions.

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New Jersey : Postsecondary Governance Structures Any institution (in- or out-of-state; public, independent, or proprietary) seeking to offer college credit-bearing coursework in New Jersey must be licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. The State Department of Education is the approval authority for vocational-technical schools and noncollegiate proprietary schools.

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New Mexico : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Commission on Higher Education has authority to approve and license private degree-granting institutions and certain proprietary (career) schools operating in the state, including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical education. This authority was substantially enhanced in 1994. Regionally accredited institutions chartered in other states and operating branches or otherwise offering instruction within the state are exempt from regulation. Career schools that offer training in regulated occupations are subject to the approval of their corresponding occupational licensing boards rather than the commission.
New York : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Regents of the University of the State of New York act as the agency for approval of all education institutions in the state.

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North Carolina : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina functions as the agency for licensing all baccalaureate degree-granting institutions that have a physical presence in the state, including proprietary institutions.

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North Dakota : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Board for Vocational and Technical Education functions as the licensing and approval authority for private degree-granting institutions and for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools and confers with the chancellor of the North Dakota University System for official approval of academic institutions desiring to offer programs or courses in the state.

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Ohio : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Ohio Board of Regents has statutory responsibility for authorization of private, nonprofit colleges and universities to operate in Ohio. The Department of Education approves vocational schools. Proprietary schools, including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools, are approved by the Board of Proprietary School Registration.
Oklahoma : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Regents for Higher Education function as the approval and licensing agency for public degree-granting institutions. The Department of Career and Technology Education has supervision over the vocational and technical schools. The Oklahoma Board of Private Schools licenses the operation of proprietary schools.

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Oregon : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Office of Degree Authorization has approval and licensing authority for most private degree-granting institutions in Oregon and all out-of-state public and private colleges and universities offering programs in Oregon. The State Board of Education has approval authority for private vocational schools. The Oregon Department of Education has approval and licensing authority for for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.
Pennsylvania : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Department of Education has licensing authority for private degree-granting institutions. The State Board of Private Licensed Schools has authority over for-profit/proprietary schools and for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.

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Puerto Rico : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Puerto Rico Council on Higher Education (PRCHE) is the licensing and program approval authority for all public and private higher education institutions.

PRCHE issues licenses for postsecondary nondegree-granting institutions and for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.

The Human Resources and Occupational Development Council of Puerto Rico accredits certain public postsecondary vocational education.
Rhode Island : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Board of Governors for Higher Education has approval authority for private/nonprofit degree-granting institutions not specifically exempted by statute or legislative action and approval authority for proprietary schools. For-profit degree-granting institutions are prohibited from operating in the state by statute.

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South Carolina : Postsecondary Governance Structures In 1977, legislation was adopted requiring the Commission on Higher Education to license private degree-granting institutions established in the state since 1953, except for theological schools. Authority to license proprietary institutions, which do not award degrees, and to carry out approval functions required by the Veterans Administration was transferred from the State Board of Education to the Commission on Higher Education in 1991. In 1992, the General Assembly passed comprehensive licensing legislation that replaced both existing statutes; this legislation clarifies and expands the commission's authority to license institutions and to grant agent permits, allows it to set reasonable fees and provides student tuition protection.
South Dakota : Postsecondary Governance Structures No agency or commission has approval and licensing authority of for-profit or proprietary schools in South Dakota. These schools file articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State. Since July 1, 2001, when a new statute became effective, any organization claiming to confer postsecondary credit or degrees must be accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or participate in Title IV federal financial aid. A violation of this will result in a civil penalty of $25,000.

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Tennessee : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has approval and licensing authority of all postsecondary institutions operating in Tennessee. Institutions are authorized under the standards established by the Postsecondary Institutional Authorization Act of 1975 and must submit annual requests for reauthorization. The scope of the Commission includes both institutions based primarily in Tennessee, as well as out-of-state institutions offering programs or courses in the state.

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Texas : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Texas Workforce Commission is the licensing authority for proprietary institutions, including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools. The coordinating board approves associate of applied science and associate of applied arts degree programs offered at public and proprietary institutions.
Utah : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Board of Regents has approval authority for all degree programs offered in the 10 public institutions. No approval and licensing agency exists for private degree-granting and proprietary schools. Nonaccredited proprietary schools are required to register with the Board of Regents.

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Vermont : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Board of Education serves as the licensing and approval authority for private institutions and also authorizes the granting of degrees. There is no approval authority for private vocational-technical institutions that do not grant degrees. The State Department of Education assists the Veterans Administration in approving programs for veterans' education.

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Virginia : Postsecondary Governance Structures The State Council of Higher Education serves as the licensing and approval agency for private degree-granting institutions and for out-of-state institutions, which operate in Virginia. The State Department of Education serves as the approval authority for vocational-technical and proprietary institutions, which do not offer degrees.
Washington : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Higher Education Coordinating Board administers the regulations implementing the Educational Services Registration Act for all degree-granting institutions. Private vocational schools are registered by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
West Virginia : Postsecondary Governance Structures The West Virginia Education Policy Commission has licensing and approval authority for all private degree-granting institutions and for all for-profit proprietary schools or for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools.
Wisconsin : Postsecondary Governance Structures Wisconsin does not have a designated approval and licensing authority for private degree-granting institutions. The Educational Approval Board serves as the licensing and approval agency for proprietary schools in the state, including for-profit/proprietary vocational-technical schools, and the Wisconsin Technical College System Board has approval authority for technical colleges. The Educational Approval Board is attached to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board for administrative purposes.

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Wyoming : Postsecondary Governance Structures The Wyoming Department of Education serves as the licensing and approval authority for proprietary institutions and proprietary vocational-technical schools.

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