94900. (a) No private postsecondary educational institution may
issue, confer, or award an academic or honorary degree unless the
institution is approved by the council to operate in California and
The council shall not issue an approval under paragraph (1) of
subdivision (c) of Section 94901 or a conditional approval under
paragraph (2) of subdivision (c) of Section 94901 until it has
conducted a qualitative review and assessment of, and has approved,
each degree program offered by the institution, and all of the
operations of the institution, and has determined all of the
(1) The institution has the facilities, financial resources,
administrative capabilities, faculty, and other necessary educational
expertise and resources to ensure its capability of fulfilling the
program or programs for enrolled students.
(2) The faculty are fully qualified to undertake the level of
instruction that they are assigned and shall possess degrees or
credentials appropriate to the degree program and level they teach
and have demonstrated professional achievement in the major field or
fields offered, in sufficient numbers to provide the educational
(3) The education services and curriculum clearly relate to the
objectives of the proposed program or programs and offer students the
opportunity for a quality education.
(4) The facilities are appropriate for the defined educational
objectives and are sufficient to ensure quality educational services
to the students enrolled in the program or programs.
(5) The program of study for which the degree is granted provides
the curriculum necessary to achieve its professed or claimed academic
objective for higher education, and the institution requires a level
of academic achievement appropriate to that degree.
(6) The institution provides adequate student advisement services,
academic planning and curriculum development activities, research
supervision for students enrolled in Ph.D. programs, and clinical
supervision for students enrolled in various health profession
(7) If the institution offers credit for prior experiential
learning it may do so only after an evaluation by qualified faculty
and only in disciplines within the institution's curricular offerings
that are appropriate to the degree to be pursued. The council shall
develop specific standards regarding the criteria for awarding
credit for prior experiential learning at the graduate level,
including the maximum number of hours for which credit may be
(b) The approval process shall include a qualitative review and
assessment of all of the following:
(1) Institutional purpose, mission, and objectives.
(2) Governance and administration.
(5) Faculty, including their qualifications.
(6) Physical facilities.
(7) Administrative personnel.
(8) Procedures for keeping educational records.
(9) Tuition, fee, and refund schedules.
(10) Admissions standards.
(11) Financial aid policies and practices.
(12) Scholastic regulations and graduation requirements.
(13) Ethical principles and practices.
(14) Library and other learning resources.
(15) Student activities and services.
(16) Degrees offered.
The standards and procedures utilized by the council shall foster
the development of high quality, innovative educational programs and
emerging new fields of study within postsecondary education. In
addition, the standards and procedures utilized by the council shall
not unreasonably hinder educational innovation and competition.
(c) (1) The Committee of Bar Examiners for the State of
California, in lieu of the council, shall be responsible for the
approval, regulation, and oversight of degree-granting law schools
that (A) exclusively offer bachelor's, master's, or doctorate degrees
in law, such as Juris Doctor, and (B) are not otherwise exempt under
Section 94750. This paragraph does not apply to unaccredited law
schools that remain subject to the jurisdiction of the bureau.
(2) If a law school not exempt under Section 94750 offers
educational services other than bachelor's, master's, or
doctorate-degree programs in law, the law school and its nonlaw
degree programs shall be subject to this chapter, and the law school'
s degree programs in law shall be subject to the approval,
regulation, and oversight of the Committee of Bar Examiners.
94901. (a) (1) Except as provided in Section 94905, the bureau
shall conduct a qualitative review and assessment of the institution.
It also shall conduct a qualitative review and assessment of all
programs offered except continuing education programs and programs
that are exclusively avocational or recreational in nature. The
review shall include the items listed in subdivision (b) of Section
94900, through a comprehensive onsite review process, performed by a
qualified visiting committee impaneled by the bureau for that
(2) An institution may include some or all of its separate
operating sites under one application. Alternately, it may submit
separate applications for any one site or combination of sites. The
satellites or branches included in either an initial or renewal
application shall be considered by the bureau to comprise a separate,
single institution for purposes of regulation, approval, and
compliance under this chapter.
(3) The application shall include a single fee based on the number
of branches, satellites, and programs included within a single
application in order to cover the costs involved for those multisite
and multiprogram reviews. If the application is for renewal of an
existing approval, the institution need only submit information
necessary to document any changes made since the time its previous
application was filed with the bureau. Fees for renewal applications
will be based on the actual costs involved in the administrative
(b) The number of sites inspected by the bureau as part of its
review process shall be subject to the following considerations:
(1) If the application for approval includes branches and
satellites, the bureau shall inspect each branch and may inspect any
(2) If the application is for approval to operate a branch or a
satellite, the bureau, in addition to inspecting the branch or
satellite, also may inspect the institution operating the branch or
(c) The bureau may waive or modify the onsite inspection for
institutions offering home study or correspondence courses. The
visiting committee shall be impaneled by the bureau within 90 days of
the date of the receipt of a completed application, and shall be
composed of educators, and other individuals with expertise in the
areas listed in subdivision (b) of Section 94900, from
degree-granting institutions legally operating within the state.
Within 90 days of the receipt of the visiting committee's evaluation
report and recommendations, or any reasonable extension of time not
to exceed 90 days, the bureau shall take one of the following
(1) If the institution is in compliance with this chapter, and has
not operated within three years before the filing of the application
in violation of this chapter then in effect, the bureau may grant an
approval to operate not to exceed five years.
(2) If the institution is in compliance with this chapter, but has
operated within three years before the filing of the application in
violation of this chapter then in effect, or if the bureau determines
that an unconditional grant of approval to operate is not in the
public interest, the bureau may grant a conditional approval to
operate subject to whatever restrictions the bureau deems
appropriate. The bureau shall notify the institution of the
restrictions or conditions, the basis for the restrictions or
conditions, and the right to request a hearing to contest them.
Conditional approval shall not exceed two years.
(3) The bureau may deny the application. If the application is
denied, the bureau may permit the institution to continue offering
the program of instruction to students already enrolled or may order
the institution to cease instruction and provide a refund of tuition
and all other charges to students.
(d) When evaluating an institution whose purpose is to advance
postsecondary education through innovative methods, the visiting
committee shall comprise educators who are familiar with, and
receptive to, evidence bearing on the educational quality and
accomplishments of those methods.
(e) The standards and procedures utilized by the bureau shall not
unreasonably hinder educational innovation and competition.
(f) Each institution or instructional program offering education
for entry into a health care profession in which the provider has
primary care responsibilities shall offer that education within a
professional degree program that shall be subject to approval by the
bureau pursuant to this section.
(g) (1) If an institution is not operating in California when it
applies for approval to operate for itself or a branch or satellite
campus, the institution shall file with its application an
operational plan establishing that the institution will satisfy the
minimum standards set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 94900. The
operational plan also shall include a detailed description of the
institution's program for implementing the operational plan,
including proposed procedures, financial resources, and the
qualifications of owners, directors, officers, and administrators
employed at the time of the filing of the application. The bureau
may request additional information to enable the bureau to determine
whether the operational plan and its proposed implementation will
satisfy these minimum standards.
(2) If the bureau determines that the operational plan satisfies
the minimum standards described in subdivision (a) of Section 94900,
that the institution demonstrates that it will implement the plan,
and that no ground for denial of the application exists, the bureau
shall grant a temporary approval to operate, subject to any
restrictions the bureau reasonably deems necessary to ensure
compliance with this chapter, pending a qualitative review and
assessment as provided in subdivisions (a) and (b) of Section 94900.
The bureau shall inspect, pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section
94901, the institution, or branch or satellite campus if approval is
sought for that campus between 90 days and 180 days after operation
has begun under the temporary approval to operate. Following receipt
of the visiting committee's or the bureau staff's report, the bureau
shall act as provided in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subdivision
(h) If at any time the bureau determines that an institution has
deviated from the standards for approval, the bureau, after
identifying for the institution the areas in which it has deviated
from the standards, and after giving the institution due notice and
an opportunity to be heard, may place the institution on probation
for a prescribed period of time, not to exceed 24 calendar months.
During the period of probation, the institution shall be subject to
special monitoring. The conditions for probation may include the
required submission of periodic reports, as prescribed by the bureau,
and special visits by authorized representatives of the bureau to
determine progress toward total compliance. If, at the end of the
probationary period, the institution has not taken steps to eliminate
the cause or causes for its probation to the satisfaction of the
bureau, the bureau may revoke the institution's approval to award
degrees and provide notice to the institution to cease its
(i) An institution may not advertise itself as an approved
institution unless each degree program offered by the institution has
been approved in accordance with the requirements of this section.
The bureau shall review all operations of the institution, pertaining
to California degrees, both within and outside of California. The
bureau may conduct site visits outside of California, including the
institution's foreign operations, when the bureau deems these visits
to be necessary. The institution shall be responsible for the
expenses of the visiting team members including the bureau's staff
liaison. The bureau may authorize any institution approved to issue
degrees under this section to issue certificates for the completion
of courses of study that are within the institution's approved
(j) An institution shall not offer any educational program or
degree title that was not offered by the institution at the time the
institution applied for approval to operate, and shall not offer any
educational program or degree title at a campus that had not offered
the program or degree title at the time the institution applied for
approval to operate that campus, unless the bureau first approves the
offering of the program or degree title after determining that it
satisfies the minimum standards established by this section.
94905. (a) (1) Any non-WASC regionally accredited institution, as
defined in Section 94740.5, that is incorporated in another state and
maintains its accredited status throughout the period of a student's
course of study, and that is approved by the bureau to operate, may
issue degrees, diplomas, or certificates. Except for continuing
education programs and programs that are exclusively avocational or
recreational in nature, accredited public or private postsecondary
educational institutions incorporated in another state shall not
offer degrees, diplomas, or certificates in California unless they
comply with this section.
(2) A non-WASC regionally accredited institution approved to
operate pursuant to this section, and any and all of its program
offerings, are subject to the requirements of Article 13 (commencing
with Section 94950).
(b) The bureau shall not approve a non-WASC regionally accredited
institution to issue degrees, diplomas, or certificates pursuant to
this section until the bureau has determined that the institution has
complied with all of the following requirements:
(1) The institution meets the financial responsibility
requirements set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section
(2) The institution's cohort default rate on guaranteed student
loans does not exceed 15 percent for the three most recent years, as
published by the United States Department of Education.
(3) The institution submits to the bureau copies of its most
recent Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Report of the
United States Department of Education and its accumulated default
(4) The institution pays fees in accordance with Section 94932.
(5) The institution has submitted an application to operate for
itself or a branch or satellite campus pursuant to Section 94802 or
an application for renewal pursuant to Section 94840.
(c) A non-WASC regionally accredited institution shall be required
to notify the bureau of the addition of a degree, diploma, or
certificate program that is not included in the institution's initial
or renewal application within 90 days of adding the program. If a
non-WASC regional accrediting agency, as defined in Section 94740.3,
requires approval of the additional degree, diploma, or certificate
program, a copy of the certificate of accreditation or approval shall
be included with the notice to the bureau, and no additional review
or investigation of the program shall be required by the bureau. If
the regional accrediting agency does not require approval of the
additional degree, diploma, or certificate program, the institution
shall include its most recent certificate of accreditation with the
notice to the bureau, and no additional review or investigation of
the program or institution shall be required by the bureau. Nothing
in this subdivision shall be construed to limit the authority of the
bureau to investigate student complaints.
(d) A non-WASC regionally accredited institution approved to
operate pursuant to this section shall be subject to disciplinary
action by the bureau if the institution loses its accreditation or
federal financial aid eligibility due to an action taken by a
non-WASC regional accrediting agency or federal authority.
(e) A non-WASC regionally accredited institution approved to
operate pursuant to this section is exempt from the requirements of
Sections 94900 and 94901, Article 9 (commencing with Section 94915),
and Article 9.5 (commencing with Section 94931), except for the
applicable financial responsibility requirements referenced by
paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 94804. Any non-WASC
regionally accredited institution that is not approved to operate
pursuant to this section may apply for approval to operate pursuant
to Sections 94900 and 94901.
(f) The bureau shall annually include, in the report it prepares
pursuant to Section 94995, its findings and recommendations relative
to institutions that have secured institutional or programmatic
approval pursuant to this section.