• Accreditation

    Accreditation is a voluntary process of validation in which educational institutions of higher learning are evaluated by a peer review board whose members include faculty from various accredited colleges and universities. GNPEC does not accredit institutions. For purposes of GNPEC procedures as related to accreditation, accreditation is defined as institution-wide accreditation and not only programmatic accreditation.

  • Agent

    Agent means any natural person owning any interest in, employed by, or representing for remuneration a nonpublic postsecondary educational institution within or outside this state and who, by solicitation in any form made in this state, enrolls or seeks to enroll a resident of this state for education offered by such institution, or who offers to award educational credentials, for remuneration, on behalf of any such institution, or who holds himself or herself out to residents of this state as representing a nonpublic postsecondary educational institution for any such purpose. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(1)

  • Authorization Fee

    Authorization Fee is an annual fee that is calculated as .002 of gross tuition after refunds, or a minimum of $500 for Nondegree-granting institutions and a minimum of $1,000 for degree-granting institutions.

  • Authorization to operate

    Authorization to operate, or like term, means authorization by the commission to operate or to contract to operate a nonpublic postsecondary educational institution in this state or to conduct nonpublic postsecondary activities. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(3) In addition, authorization should not be confused with the following terms: Accreditation and Licensure.

  • Board of trustees

    Board of trustees or “board” means the Board of Trustees of the Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund provided for in Code Section 20-3-250.27. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(3.1)

  • Campus

    A campus is a site that requires authorization to operate as administrative support, such as enrollment, financial advisement, and academic advisement, is provided and education is offered to students.

  • Certificate

    Certificate means a diploma or similar document indicating satisfactory completion of training in a course or program of study, not leading to a postsecondary degree, which is offered by a nonpublic postsecondary educational institution. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(4)

  • Commission

    Commission means the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission provided for in Code Section 20-3-250.4. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(5)

  • Complaint

    Complaint is a formal written submission of a grievance against an institution. A complaint is different from an "inquiry".

  • Degree

    Degree means a credential conferring on the recipient thereof the title of “Associate,” “Bachelor,” “Master,” “Specialist,” or “Doctor,” or an equivalent title, signifying educational attainment.

  • Entity

    Entity means, but is not limited to, any company, firm, society, association, partnership, corporation, or trust. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(10)

  • Evaluation Committee

    Evaluation Committee is a third party individual or group contracted by GNPEC to assess the quality of new programs sought to be established at an institution.

  • Exemption

    Exemption means that the Commission has determined that an institution does not go through the full authorization or renewal process, but it still has obligations to fulfill to GNPEC as outlined by Georgia Code.

  • Financial aid

    Financial aid refers to awards to specific individual students that cover educational expenses.

  • Financial audit

    Financial audit means the examination of an entity’s financial statements and disclosures by an independent auditor.

  • Gross tuition

    Gross tuition means the total amount collected by a postsecondary educational institution during the most recently completed 12 month fiscal year, reduced only by the amount of refunds paid during the fiscal year, for tuition, application fees, registration fees, and those other fees deemed appropriate by rule or regulation of the commission; provided, however, that for a postsecondary educational institution located outside of this state which is authorized only for the purpose of advertising and recruiting in this state, or is authorized only for the purpose of offering instruction by correspondence or any telecommunications or electronic media technology, or a combination of these purposes, “gross tuition” means only the amount of such tuition and fees collected from residents of this state. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(11.1)

  • Inquiry

    Inquiry is a question or comment, which is separate from a complaint, that is directed to GNPEC that can be submitted through the GNPEC website.

  • Licensure

    Licensure means the granting of licenses to practice a profession, which is often granted through a professional body or a licensing board composed of advanced practitioners who oversee the applications for licenses. This often involves accredited training and examinations. GNPEC does not license institutions or individuals.

  • Nonpublic

    Nonpublic means a private postsecondary educational institution not established, operated, or governed by the State of Georgia, or any public or private postsecondary educational institution legally operating in another state or nation that conducts postsecondary activities in Georgia or offers postsecondary instruction leading to a postsecondary degree or certificate granted to Georgia residents from a location outside Georgia. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(12)

  • Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.)

    Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) is the collection of laws that govern the various departments in the State of Georgia.

  • Online Programming

    Online programming includes any institution offering or seeking to offer postsecondary instruction, including distance learning/online delivery and online correspondence as the primary form of communication in lieu of in-person instruction or correspondence, referred to as “online programming”, to Georgia residents requires institutional and programmatic authorization by the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC) or NC-SARA membership.

  • Owner

    O.C.G.A. 20-3-250.2 (14) defines "owner" as the following: (A) In the case of a postsecondary educational institution owned by an individual, that individual; (B) In the case of a postsecondary educational institution owned by a partnership, all full, silent, and limited partners; and (C) In the case of a postsecondary educational institution owned by a corporation, the corporation and each shareholder owning shares of issued and outstanding stock aggregating at least 10 percent of the total of the issued and outstanding shares.

  • Permitted

    Permitted (within the context of the federal online compliance application) means being allowed to offer instruction with the expectation that certain provisions are continuously met. “Permission” must be annually renewed.

  • Personnel

    Personnel means any person who directly or indirectly receives compensation from a postsecondary educational institution for services rendered.

  • Postsecondary activity

    “Postsecondary activity” means:

    (A) Awarding a postsecondary degree or certificate; or

    (B) Conducting or offering study, experience, or testing for an individual related to a field or profession associated with public health, public welfare, or public safety, as determined by the commission in its sole discretion.

    O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(17)

  • Postsecondary educational institution

    Postsecondary educational institution means a postsecondary degree-granting or certificate-granting nonpublic college or university or a proprietary school, offering instruction or educational services primarily to persons who have completed or terminated their secondary education or who are beyond the age of compulsory high school attendance, or any sole proprietorship, group, partnership, venture, society, company, corporation, school, or consortium of colleges, universities, or other institutions that engages in, purports to engage in, or intends to engage in any type of postsecondary activity. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(18)

  • Program of Instruction

    Program of Instruction means any plan or course or/of study, whether conducted in person or through distance education.

  • Pro-rata

    Pro-rata is the percentage derived by dividing the number of calendar days completed by the student at the point of withdrawal by the total number of calendar days in the instructional term. The time of the student’s withdrawal or termination for purposes of calculating any refund due must be identified in the institution’s policies.

  • Student

    Student means any person who is the recipient of any course or program of study.

  • Student Services Site

    Student services site is a physical site operated by an out-of-state based, GNPEC-authorized online institution where activities are solely administrative; no instruction is offered.

  • Surety bond

    Surety bond is an insurance policy paid for by an institution through an insurance company; the proceeds of which are collected and distributed by GNPEC to assist students with a teach-out if the institution fails to meet its obligations to students by closing.

  • Title IV Funds

    Title IV Funds are financial aid available to eligible students attending eligible institutions of higher education. To learn more about institutional eligibility requirements, select the "Title IV Funds" heading above.

  • To grant

    To grant means awarding, selling, conferring, bestowing, or giving. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(24)

  • To offer

    To offer means, in addition to its usual meanings, advertising, publicizing, soliciting, or encouraging any person, directly or indirectly, in any form, to perform the act described. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(25)

  • To operate

    To operate an educational institution, or like term, means to establish, keep, or maintain any facility or location in this state where, from which, or through which education is offered or given or educational credentials are offered or granted and includes contracting with any person, group, or entity to perform any such act and to conduct postsecondary activities within this state or from a location outside of this state by correspondence or by any telecommunications or electronic media technology. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(26)

  • Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund

    Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund as identified as “Tuition guaranty fund” or “fund” means the Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund provided for in Code Section 20-3-250.27. O.C.G.A. § 20-3-250.2.(27). In addition, the TGTF is designed to offer a financial safety net for students in the case of a school closing.