How Do I Apply for a Certificate of Authorization?
An institution is not permitted to advertise or offer instruction to residents of Georgia until it obtains a Certificate of Authorization, as required by the Nonpublic Postsecondary Educational Institutions Act of 1990.
The information about the authorization application process is below.
Review Requirements and Costs for Authorization
Prior to submission of the Institutional Proposal, the institution contact must review the current web page in its entirety along with the following documents to ensure that he or she is informed regarding institutional requirements and costs associated with authorization.
NOTE: Please be aware that Standard 8 of the Minimum Standards recommends access to liquid funds held strictly for the purposes of the institution, in the amount of 90 days of institutional expenses. The expenses figure is provided to the Commission as an estimation in the GNPEC Financial Statement, required as part of the Initial Authorization Application. A bank statement documenting available funds is a part of this application. The Commission will allow an irrevocable Letter of Credit or Line of Credit (LoC) from a bank in lieu of Cash on Hand (CoH) documented by a current statement if the institution is able to provide for all of the following conditions:
- Quick Asset/Liability ratio (QAL) of .5 or greater (Cash + Net Annual Revenue/Current Liabilities);
- Collateral on LoC is stable (cash/CD or real estate/property); and
- LoC is from a banking establishment in good standing with the Georgia Banking Commission or other banking oversight authority.
Submit an Institutional Proposal for GNPEC Authorization
The Institutional Proposal for GNPEC Authorization must be submitted to Dr. Laura Vieth for review.
Any request for clarification and/or information will be communicated with the institutional representative via email within 10 business days of receipt of the proposal.
Once approved to proceed with an application, the applicant will be advised that the Application Evaluation fee must be paid prior to login credentials being issued to access GNPEC’s online application portal, Edvera.
Additionally, applicants are required to attend the Initial Authorization Training prior to being given access to Edvera to complete the application.
Complete application process in EDvera
The Initial Authorization Application will be completed in EDvera. The application is made up of web forms, GNPEC documents, institution-created exhibits, and attestations. For help with completing the EDvera application, How-To tutorials are available here.
The following items are required as part of the application:
- Basic institutional information (Web form)
- All nonpublic institutions authorized or seeking to obtain authorization in Georgia must annually provide a Georgia Secretary of State issued Certificate of Authority and the Annual Registration.
- Minimum Standards Criteria Form (GNPEC document requiring completion and upload)
- New Program Application for each proposed program (Web form). Please note that any institution that is not institutionally accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education may not offer any graduate-level degree in Georgia (including but not limited to master’s degrees and doctorate degrees). Additionally, any institution seeking initial authorization in Georgia that is not institutionally accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education is limited to the new program application of three (3) programs as part of its Application Evaluation Fee. The Program Evaluation Fee will apply to each additional program.
- Enrollment Agreement/Student Contract (Exhibit)
- Certificate or diploma example (Exhibit)
- Description of facilities and equipment (Exhibit)
- Current catalog (Exhibit) (See )
- Organizational Chart (Exhibit)
- New Agent Permit Application(s) (Web form)
- Personnel Data Inventory Form(s) (Web form)
- Records Agreement (Attestation)
- Director’s Agreement (Attestation)
- Financial Statement (GNPEC document requiring completion and upload)
- Please be aware that a financial viability assessment will also be required as part of the authorization process. Additional financial documentation may be requested in order to complete this review. See Minimum Standard 8 for detailed information regarding financial resources.
- Current Bank Statement
- A minimum of 90 days of projected operating expenses must be available, and the account must be dedicated to the institution.
- Tuition information with estimations for the first fiscal year of operation (Web form)
- Fees: Application Evaluation Fee, Authorization Fee, and Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund (TGTF) Fee. See Schedule of Fees for details
- Surety Bond
- Bond must be submitted as an original, using the GNPEC Bond Form. Do not secure the actual bond until you are instructed to do so by your assigned Regulatory Specialist. Bond fields should be left blank until bond is obtained.
- Basic institutional information (Web form)
Work with assigned Regulatory Specialist (RS)
After receipt of the Application Evaluation Fee and complete Initial Authorization Application submission, the institution will be assigned a Regulatory Specialist (RS) that works with the institution through the remainder of the authorization process. Please note that no login credentials to complete the Initial Authorization Application will be provided until the Application Evaluation Fee has been received.
Financial Viability Assessment
The RS will submit the institution’s financial documentation to the external auditor to conduct a financial viability assessment. The auditor may request additional financial documentation, require a Financial Improvement Plan, or provide an approved financial assessment of the institution. The RS will guide the institutional contact through the process should any additional documentation be required.
Regulatory Specialist reviews application
The RS will review the Initial Authorization Application and determine any need for modification. This review will include a standards-based assessment of application documentation and an evaluation of programmatic content. Please note GNPEC may contract an external expert to evaluate new programs to help the agency ensure proposed curriculum offerings are comparable to similar programs offered elsewhere. All required changes will be communicated with the institution via the Comments tab of the document, available in Edvera.
If the institution is located in Georgia, the RS will complete a site visit (see thefor details).
Provide Surety bond and Remaining Fees
Once the RS has confirmed that the application has satisfied all GNPEC requirements, the institution must AT THIS POINT provide an original surety bond, the TGTF Fee, and the Authorization Fee. These fee amounts are calculated for institutions within the application. See the Schedule of Fees for information. The bond is to be secured only after the RS informs the institution to do so and must be dated exactly as directed by the RS.
Certificate of Authorization Granted
Having met GNPEC standards and paid all appropriate fees, the institution is issued a Certificate of Authorization, which is valid for a maximum of one year and must be visibly posted on the campus.
Renewal of Authorization
Application for annual renewal of Certificate of Authorization, with all appropriate fees, must be submitted in Edvera no later than sixty (60) days prior to the certificate’s expiration date. 25% late fees will be incurred for any application submitted after the due date.
An institution that fails to submit the Renewal of Authorization, in its entirety, by the expiration date listed on the current Certificate will experience a loss of authorization due to non-renewal and will no longer be legally permitted to operate. If the institution seeks to regain authorization in the future, it will be required to comply with the policies and procedures for initial authorization, including all fee and bond requirements.
Notice for institutions not accredited by a US-based accrediting association
Please be aware that institutions not accredited by a US-based accrediting association recognized by the United States Secretary of Education are required to submit the GNPEC Student Outcome Data Report. The GNPEC Student Outcome Data Report is required to be completed and submitted annually within the Renewal of Authorization application; the reporting period should align with the institution's fiscal year. Additionally, for institutions not accredited by a US-based accrediting association recognized by the United States Secretary of Education, the GNPEC Student Disclosure Form must be provided to each student at the time of his/her enrollment. It must be signed by both the student and institutional representative, and a copy must be included in the student’s file. The disclosure form may not be altered or revised by the institution.