Authorization of Postsecondary Institutions
What are the Legal Requirements for Operating a Postsecondary Institution in Georgia?
The Nonpublic Postsecondary Educational Institutions Act of 1990 provides that a postsecondary educational institution must apply for and be granted a Certificate of Authorization before beginning operation or advertising in Georgia. Each degree program offered by the institution must be authorized by GNPEC. Following initial authorization, the institution’s Certificate must be renewed annually. Any institution operating or advertising to begin operation without acquiring the necessary Certificate of Authorization is in violation of Georgia law, and shall be subject to civil penalties.
Any instructional program defined as a proprietary school according to the Nonpublic Postsecondary Educational Institutions Act of 1990 must apply for and be granted a Certificate of Authorization before beginning operation or advertising in Georgia. Following initial authorization, the institution’s certificate must be renewed annually. Any institution operating or advertising to begin operation without acquiring the necessary Certificate of Authorization is in violation of Georgia law, and shall be subject to civil and criminal penalties.
Which Postsecondary Institutions are Exempt from Regulation by GNPEC?
Certain postsecondary institutions are exempt from GNPEC regulation. There are specific exemptions for traditional private colleges and universities, public colleges and universities, and public technical institutes. Examining Boards associated with the Georgia Secretary of State regulate other occupational schools and educational institutions, such as cosmetology, nursing, barbering, real estate, and other similar organizations. Truck driving schools within the state, either for profit or non-profit, are regulated by the Georgia Department of Public Safety. Please see O.C.G.A 20-3-250.3 for further information regarding those exemptions.
Role in School Closures
What is the Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund (TGTF)?
Since July 1992, authorized institutions are required to make annual payments to the Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund (TGTF). The TGTF is designed to provide reimbursement to students at institutions which close and fail to honor their commitments to complete the students’ programs of study. Essentially, the TGTF serves as an insurance fund for nonpublic postsecondary student interests.
What Role does GNPEC Serve in Maintaining a Student’s Academic Record in the Event of a Closure?
GNPEC places great emphasis on requiring authorized postsecondary institutions to maintain student academic records, so that in the event of a closure, the transfer of records to the state can be accomplished with minimum difficulty. A GNPEC staff member is assigned the responsibility of attempting to obtain individual transcripts by request for students to closed institutions.
How are Student Complaints Handled by GNPEC?
GNPEC regards the prompt resolution of student complaints as a high priority of the agency. Regulatory Specialists consult with the individual submitting the complaint, appropriate institution officials, and others upon receipt of a complaint and may visit an institution in order to attempt to resolve such complaints.