Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
5/6/2021

Part II. Exemptions

8VAC40-31-40. State-supported institutions.

This chapter shall not apply to the institutions named in §§ 23-9.5 and 23-14 of the Code of Virginia, including their branches, divisions, or colleges, or to any state-supported institution of higher education that may be established by the Commonwealth of Virginia in the future.

Statutory Authority

§ 23-276.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 23, eff. August 24, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 8, eff. February 3, 2014.

8VAC40-31-50. Religious institutions.

A. The council shall exempt from the provisions of Chapter 21.1 (§ 23-276.1 et seq.) of Title 23 of the Code of Virginia any school whose primary purpose is to provide religious training or theological education, provided that the school:

1. Awards only degrees, diplomas, or certificates that (i) carry titles that indicate the school's primary purpose plainly upon their face and (ii) state that the school is excluded from the requirement of state certification; and

2. States plainly in its catalogs and other publications that (i) the school's primary purpose is to provide religious training or theological education; (ii) the school's degrees, diplomas, or certificates are so titled and worded; and (iii) the school is exempt from the requirement of state certification.

B. The title of each degree, diploma, or certificate awarded by a school that claims an exemption under the provisions of this section must reflect that the school's primary purpose is religious education.

1. The titles of religious degrees that may be awarded include, but are not limited to, (i) Bachelor of Education in a specific religion, (ii) Master of Divinity, and (iii) Doctor of Sacred Theology.

2. Secular degrees may not be awarded in any discipline, including religion, religious education, and biblical studies. Titles of secular degrees that may not be awarded include, but are not limited to, (i) Associate of Arts, (ii) Associate of Science, (iii) Associate of Applied Science, (iv) Associate of Occupational Science, (v) Bachelor of Arts, (vi) Bachelor of Science, (vii) Master of Arts, (viii) Master of Science, (ix) Doctor of Philosophy, and (x) Doctor of Education.

C. Exemptions granted after July 1, 2002, will be for a maximum of five years. A school wishing to maintain an exempt status must reapply to council at least six months prior to the expiration of the exemption period. An exempt school shall not make claims of "approval," "endorsement," or other such terms by the council in any of its promotional materials. An exempt school shall clearly state in its catalogs and promotional materials that it is exempt from the requirements of state regulation and oversight.

D. A school that awards secular degrees in addition to religious degrees, certificates or diplomas, as defined in subsections A and B of this section, must comply with the provisions for certification for all nonreligious degree programs.

E. Each school requesting religious exemption must apply on forms provided by and in a manner prescribed by the council.

F. The council, on its own motion, may initiate formal or informal inquiries to confirm that this chapter is not applicable to a religious school if the council has reason to believe that the school may be in violation of the provisions of this section.

1. Any school that claims an exemption under subsections A and B of this section on the basis that its primary purpose is to provide religious training or theological education shall be entitled to a rebuttable presumption of the truth of that claim.

2. It shall be the council's responsibility to show that a school is not exempt under subsections A and B of this section.

3. The council assumes no jurisdiction or right to regulate religious beliefs under this chapter.

G. A school whose claim for exemption under subsections A and B of this section is denied by the council shall have the opportunity to appeal the council's action in accordance with 8VAC40-31-70.

Statutory Authority

§ 23-276.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 23, eff. August 24, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 8, eff. February 3, 2014.

8VAC40-31-60. Schools, programs, degrees, diplomas, and certificates exempt from council action.

A. The following activities or programs offered by schools and not leading to a degree otherwise subject to this chapter shall be exempt from its provisions:

1. Any school subject to the provisions of Chapter 16 (§ 22.1-319 et seq.) of Title 22.1 of the Code of Virginia.

2. Any honorary degree conferred or awarded by a school, as long as the degree (i) does not represent the satisfactory completion of all or any part of the requirements of a program or course of study and (ii) is normally regarded as one that is intended to be commemorative in nature in recognition of an individual's contributions to society. Such degree must state on its face that it is honorary in nature.

3. Any nursing education program offered by a school to the extent that the program is regulated by the Virginia Board of Nursing.

a. The Virginia Board of Nursing is the state agency authorized to license registered nurses and to approve nursing programs with regard to the adequacy of the curricula and resources for preparing students to take the licensing examination.

b. In order to offer a degree in nursing, a school must obtain council certification prior to seeking approval from the Virginia Board of Nursing.

4. Any professional program for professional or occupational training offered by a school to the extent that the program is (i) subject to approval by a regulatory board pursuant to Title 54.1 of the Code of Virginia; or (ii) subject to approval by any other state or federal agency; and (iii) offered by a school that is not seeking degree-granting status such that it would be required to obtain prior council certification.

5. Any course or program of study given by or approved by any professional body, fraternal organization, civic club, or benevolent order principally for continuing or professional education or similar purpose and for which no certificate, degree, or degree credit is awarded.

6. Any course or program of study conducted on a not-for-profit basis by firms or organizations for the training of their own employees only, provided that such instruction is offered at no charge to such employees and with no advertising for open enrollment.

7. Courses or programs offered through approved multistate compacts, including but not limited to the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus.

8. Those courses offered and delivered by a postsecondary school that is accredited by an entity recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) for accrediting purposes, if such courses are provided solely on a contractual basis for which no individual is charged tuition and for which no advertising has been made for open enrollment.

9. Any school, institute or course of instruction offered by any trade association or any nonprofit affiliate of a trade association on subjects related to the trade, business or profession represented by such association.

10. Any public or private high school accredited or recognized by the Virginia Board of Education that has offered or may offer one or more courses cited in this chapter if any tuition, fees and charges made by the school are collected as may be permitted by Title 22.1 of the Code of Virginia, in the case of a public school, or pursuant to regulations prescribed by the relevant governing body of such private school.

11. Tutorial instruction delivered and designed to supplement regular classes for students enrolled in any public or private school or to prepare an individual for an examination for professional practice or higher education.

12. Schools of fine arts or other avocational courses that are conducted solely to further artistic appreciation, talent, or for personal development or information and programs that prepare individuals to teach such pursuits.

B. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if a school offers any nonexempt programs, the school as a whole, including all of its programs, is subject to the provisions of certification.

C. Notwithstanding the exemptions provided in this section, a school may seek certification for an otherwise exempt activity or program.

Statutory Authority

§ 23-276.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 23, eff. August 24, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 30, Issue 8, eff. February 3, 2014.

8VAC40-31-70. Denial of exemption; appeal of action.

If the council denies a request for exemption the executive director shall ensure that the school is afforded an opportunity to be heard. The procedures set forth in 8VAC40-31-220 shall apply.

Statutory Authority

§ 23-276.3 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 23, eff. August 24, 2006.

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