Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
7/16/2024

Part IV. Schools for Which Certification Is Required

8VAC40-31-110. Certain existing approvals and exemptions continued.

A. An institution of higher education that was approved or authorized to confer degrees at a particular level or to offer one or more degree programs or program areas may continue to confer those degrees and to offer those programs until and unless the school's approval or authorization is revoked by the council in accordance with § 23.276.4 of the Code of Virginia.

B. If authorization to grant or confer academic or professional degrees is revoked for an institution otherwise exempt from the requirements of certification, pursuant to § 23-276.4 C of the Code of Virginia, the institution will be subject to the provisions of certification in place at the time of the revocation.

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.

8VAC40-31-120. Certification required for new and existing postsecondary schools.

A. Unless otherwise exempted from these regulations, all instructional offerings of a new or existing postsecondary school in Virginia are subject to this chapter, even when the credit awarded for those offerings may be transferred to a location outside Virginia.

B. A new postsecondary school must become certified to operate prior to engaging in activities related to postsecondary education via telecommunications activity, mail correspondence courses, or at a location within the Commonwealth.

1. The determination for certification of telecommunications activities or mail correspondence courses may be based upon, but not limited to, physical presence.

2. With the exception of degree programs, academic credit and other courses offered exclusively from outside the Commonwealth of Virginia through individual and private interstate communication, all telecommunications activities and mail correspondence courses are subject to the certification criteria required for all postsecondary schools.

C. Existing postsecondary schools must recertify compliance with certification criteria on an annual basis in order to continue offering postsecondary courses and programs.

D. Postsecondary schools operating branches in Virginia must certify each separately.

E. Noncertified postsecondary schools that seek to establish a postsecondary education consortium, agreement, partnership, or other similar arrangement with an existing certified postsecondary school must meet all requirements for certification as set forth in these regulations and must become certified to operate prior to engaging in postsecondary education activities within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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.

8VAC40-31-125. Certification required for schools offering distance learning in Virginia.

A. Any degree-granting postsecondary school providing distance learning to residents of the Commonwealth from a location outside of the Commonwealth shall be certified to operate in the Commonwealth or shall be a participant in a reciprocity agreement to which the Commonwealth belongs, in accordance with council's authority pursuant to § 23.1-211 of the Code of Virginia, for the purpose of consumer protection.

B. Any degree-granting postsecondary institution seeking initial or renewal authorization to offer distance education programs or courses to residents of the Commonwealth from a location outside of the Commonwealth that is not a participant in a reciprocity agreement to which the Commonwealth belongs must demonstrate that it meets the following eligibility criteria:

1. The institution is properly authorized to operate by and in good standing with the appropriate entity in the state where the institution has legal domicile.

2. The institution is a United States degree-granting institution that is accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education with a scope of authority, as specified by the U.S. Department of Education, that includes distance education.

3. The institution is in good standing, including having no current or pending show cause or probation actions against it.

4. The institution demonstrates minimum financial stability to qualify for certification defined as a federal Financial Responsibility Composite Score of 1.5 or better.

C. An institution certified pursuant to this section shall provide proof of the following disclosures to Virginia residents:

1. A notification that the school is certified to operate by council.

2. A notification outlining the procedures a student may follow to file a complaint against the school. The disclosure must include a statement that if the complaint is not resolved to the student's satisfaction, the student may contact the council as a last resort. The school must provide contact information for council and must ensure that the student will not be retaliated against for filing a complaint.

3. A notification stating that the transferability of credits earned at the school is at the sole discretion of the receiving institution.

4. For institutions offering programs or courses leading to or advertised as leading to professional licensure, a notification regarding whether completion of the program is sufficient to meet licensure requirements in Virginia. If the institution is unable to determine whether a program will meet the professional licensure requirements in Virginia, the notification shall provide current contact information for any applicable licensing boards and advise the student or applicant to determine whether the program meets requirements for licensure in Virginia prior to enrollment.

D. An institution certified pursuant to this section shall pay a nonrefundable initial and renewal authorization fee as provided in 8VAC40-31-260.

E. An institution certified pursuant to this section shall immediately inform the council and current enrolled students who are residents of the Commonwealth of any adverse action by the U.S. Department of Education or by its accrediting agency that threatens a disruption of the operation of the institution or exposes students to a loss of course or degree credit or financial loss.

F. The certificate of authorization for an institution certified pursuant to this section shall expire on the stated expiration date. Applications for annual renewals must be submitted to council at least 90 days prior to the expiration date of the current authorization.

G. In the case of an institution that has enrolled students who are residents of the Commonwealth prior to July 1, 2022, the institution may instruct only such students through the completion of their program without being certified to operate in the Commonwealth or being a participant in a reciprocity agreement to which the Commonwealth belongs.

Statutory Authority

§ 23.1-215 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 6, eff. December 7, 2022.

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