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NO. 19. AN ACT RELATING TO APPROVAL OF POSTSECONDARY INSTITUTIONS.

(S.86)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 16 V.S.A. § 176(b), (c) and (d) are amended to read:

(b) Definitions. As used in this section:

(1) "*[Post-secondary]* Postsecondary school" means any person who offers or operates a program of college or professional education for credit or a degree.

(2) "Offer" means, in addition to its usual meanings, advertising, publicizing, soliciting, or encouraging any person in this state, directly or indirectly, in any form, to perform the act described. "Offer" includes the use in the name of an institution or in its promotional material, of a term such as "college", "university" or "institute" which is intended to indicate that the business is an institution which offers postsecondary education.

(3) "Degree" means any award which is given by a *[post-secondary]* postsecondary school for completion of a program or course and which is designated by the term degree, associate, bachelor, baccalaureate, masters, or doctorate, or any similar award which the state board includes by rule.

(4) "Operate" means to establish, keep or maintain any facility or location from or through which education is offered or given, or educational degrees are offered or granted. The term includes contracting with any person to perform any such act.

(5) "Accredited" means accredited by any regional or national institutional accrediting agency recognized by the state board.

(c) State board approval.

(1) Every *[post-secondary]* postsecondary school which is subject to this section shall:

(A) *[register its intention to operate and offer post-secondary]* *[programs]* apply for a certificate of approval from state board prior to registering its name with the secretary of state pursuant to section 1621 of Title 11;

(B) *[apply for]* apply for and receive a certificate of approval from the state board *[within 18 months of]* prior to offering postsecondary credit-bearing courses or programs and prior to admitting the first student *[into a]* *[post-secondary program]*; and

(C) *[after July 1, 1991,]* notify each applicant for enrollment in writing, on an application, enrollment, or registration form to be signed by the applicant, that credits earned at the school are transferable only at the discretion of the receiving school.

(2) Every *[post-secondary]* postsecondary school shall secure a certificate of degree-granting authority from the state board before it confers or offers to confer a degree.

(d) Exemptions. The following are exempt from all the requirements of this section except for the requirements of subdivision (c)(1)(C) of this section:

* * *

(5) *[Non-degree-granting post-secondary]* Nondegree-granting and noncredit-granting postsecondary schools which offer only training in the vocations.

(6) Religious instruction which does not result in earning credits or a degree.

Sec. 2. 16 V.S.A. § 176a(c), (d) and (e) are amended to read:

(c) State board approval. Every postsecondary school subject to this section shall:

(1) apply for a certificate of approval from the state board prior to registering its name with the secretary of state pursuant to section 1621 of Title 11;

(2) *[Every post-secondary school subject to this section which operates or intends to operate in Vermont shall secure approval to operate]* *[and offer]* *[post-secondary]* apply for and receive a certificate of approval prior to offering postsecondary credit-bearing courses or programs and prior to admitting *[students]* the first student;

*[

(2) Every post-secondary school subject to this section shall]*

(3) secure a certificate of degree-granting authority from the state board before it confers or offers to confer a degree *[in Vermont]* to a student enrolled in its Vermont school;

*[

(3) All post-secondary schools subject to this section which intend to offer courses or programs in Vermont shall include with their application the following additional information:

(A) Accreditation status.

(B) A complete description of the program.

(C) Evidence of financial resources to sustain the program.

(D) In the case of a course or program offered by correspondence, proof of application for a license pursuant to chapter 85 of this title.

(E) A statement of commitment to offer the full program for students to complete the program in a reasonable length of time.

(F) Such additional information as the state board may require concerning the establishment of the school, including the goals, objectives, programs, curriculum, and resources, including personnel, finances and facilities.

]*

(4) meet any requirements for approval in its state of primary operation for the specific degree or credit-bearing course or program that it intends to offer in Vermont as a condition of approval to operate in Vermont.

(d) Exemptions. The following are exempt from all the requirements of this section except for the requirements of subdivision (e)(2) of this section:

(1) Programs of education sponsored by a bona fide trade, labor, business or professional organization recognized by the state board if they are:

(A) conducted solely for that organization’s membership or for members of the particular industries or professions served by that organization; and

(B) not available to the public on a fee basis.

(2) *[Post-secondary]* Postsecondary schools currently licensed or approved by a Vermont occupational licensing board.

(3) *[Non-degree-granting post-secondary]* Nondegree-granting or noncredit-granting postsecondary schools which offer only training in the vocations.

(4) Religious instruction which does not result in earning credits or a degree.

(e) Other provisions:

(1) All provisions of subsections (e) through ( l ) of 16 V.S.A. § 176 shall apply to all *[post-secondary]* postsecondary schools subject to this section.

(2) All *[post-secondary]* postsecondary schools subject to this section shall*[, after July 1, 1991,]* notify each applicant for enrollment in writing, on an application, enrollment, or registration form to be signed by the applicant, that credits earned at the school are transferable only at the discretion of the receiving school.

Sec. 3. 11 V.S.A. § 1621(e) is added to read:

(e) Prior to registering its business name under this section, a person intending to operate a postsecondary school, as defined in sections 176 and 176a of Title 16, shall apply to the state board of education for a certificate of approval pursuant to those sections.

Approved: May 2, 2001