(a) The following education and postsecondary educational institutions shall be exempted from this part except as expressly provided to the contrary and upon qualification with the commission pursuant to subsection (e) of this Code section:

(1) Institutions exclusively offering instruction at any or all levels from preschool through the twelfth grade regardless of the age of the student;

(2) Education sponsored by a bona fide trade, business, professional, or fraternal organization, so recognized by the commission, solely for that organization’s membership or offered on a no-fee basis, not granting degrees;

(3) Education solely avocational or recreational in nature, as determined by the commission, and institutions, not granting degrees, offering such education exclusively;

(4) Postsecondary educational institutions established, operated, governed, or licensed by this state, its agencies, or its political subdivisions, as determined by the commission;

(5) Any flight school which holds an applicable federal air agency certificate issued by the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration;

(6) Nonpublic, nonprofit, postsecondary educational institutions which demonstrate annually to the satisfaction of the commission that their purposes are solely to provide programs of study in theology, divinity, religious education, and ministerial training, and that they do not grant postsecondary degrees of a nonreligious nature and that such institutions:

(A) Accept no federal or state funds; and

(B) Accept no student who has a federal or state education loan to attend such institutions;

(7) Subject to the requirements of subsection (c) of Code Section 20-3-250.6, any nonpublic law school accredited by the American Bar Association whose principal office and campus are located in this state and which is not qualified for exemption under any other paragraph of this subsection; provided, however, that any such nonpublic law school shall be subject to the provisions of Code Section 20-3-250.14 for the purposes of satisfying the requirements of 34 C.F.R. Section 668.43(b) and shall designate the commission as the recipient of complaints from students of such nonpublic law school as a prerequisite for such nonpublic law school's acceptance of federal student financial aid funds; and provided, further, that the designation provided under this paragraph shall be provided solely to the extent necessary for institutional compliance of such nonpublic law school with the laws and regulations governing federal student financial aid and shall not affect, rescind, or supersede any preexisting authorizations, charters, or recognition;

(8) Nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions conducting postsecondary activity on the premises of military installations located in this state which are solely for military personnel stationed on active duty at such military installations, their dependents, or Department of Defense employees and other civilian employees of that installation;

(9) A school where the sole purpose of the instructional program is review or preparation for a specific occupational examination recognized by a government agency or bona fide trade, business, or fraternal organization and where the student’s occupational training received from another school already makes the student eligible to sit for the examination;

(10) Subject to the requirements of subsection (c) of Code Section 20-3-250.6, any nonpublic, nonprofit college or university granting baccalaureate degrees whose principal office and campus are located in this state and its related graduate and professional programs, which have been in existence ten or more years as a nonpublic, nonprofit college or university and is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education; provided, however, that such nonpublic, nonprofit college or university shall be subject to the provisions of Code Section 20-3-250.14 for the purposes of satisfying the requirements of 34 C.F.R. Section 668.43(b) and shall designate the commission as the recipient of complaints from students of such nonpublic, nonprofit college or university as a prerequisite for such nonpublic, nonprofit college’s or university’s acceptance of federal student financial aid funds; and provided, further, that the designation provided for under this paragraph shall be provided solely to the extent necessary for institutional compliance of such nonpublic, nonprofit college or university with the laws and regulations governing federal student financial aid and shall not affect, rescind, or supersede any preexisting authorizations, charters, or recognition;

(11) Subject to the requirements of subsection (c) of Code Section 20-3-250.6, any liberal arts college or university whose principal office and campus are located in this state and its related graduate and professional programs, if any, which was chartered prior to 1955 as a nonpublic, nonprofit, degree-granting institution, provided that it is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education; and provided, further, that such liberal arts college or university shall be subject to the provisions of Code Section 20-3-250.14 for the purposes of satisfying the requirements of 34 C.F.R. Section 668.43(b) and shall designate the commission as the recipient of complaints from students of such liberal arts college or university as a prerequisite for such liberal arts college’s or university’s acceptance of federal financial aid funds; and provided, further, that the designation provided for under this paragraph shall be provided solely to the extent necessary for institutional compliance of such liberal arts college or university with the laws and regulations governing federal student financial aid and shall not affect, rescind, or supersede any preexisting authorizations, charters, or recognition;

(12) Any institution offering only education or training in income tax theory or income tax return preparation when the total contract price for such education or training does not exceed $1,000.00, provided that the total charges incurred by any student for all instruction, other than instruction which is solely avocational or recreational in nature as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, do not exceed $1,000.00 in any one calendar year;

(13) Subject to the requirements of subsection (c) of Code Section 20-3-250.6, any:

(A) Nonpublic medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education; or  

(B) Nonpublic orthodontic school and residency program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and sponsored by:  

(i) A hospital that is accredited by a national accrediting agency recognized by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services; or  

(ii) A postsecondary educational institution that is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education;  provided, however that any orthodontic school and residency program meeting the requirements of this subparagraph after March 1, 2019, shall be required to maintain and to provide proof of a surety bond or letter of credit annually to the commission in an amount of $450,000.00 for five years after the date from qualification for the exemption provided for in this subsection.

(14) Any college or university that confers both associate and baccalaureate or higher degrees, that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, College Division, that is operated in a proprietary status, or that if previously exempt under this subsection as a proprietary institution has subsequently changed to operate in a nonprofit status, that provides a $200,000.00 surety bond, and that contributes to the Tuition Guaranty Trust Fund pursuant to Code Section 20-3-250.27; provided, however, that such college or university shall be subject to the provisions of Code Section 20-3-250.14 for the purposes of satisfying the requirements of 34 C.F.R. Section 668.43(b) and shall designate the commission as the recipient of complaints from students of such college or university as a prerequisite for such college’s or university’s acceptance of federal student financial aid funds; and provided, further, that the designation provided for under this paragraph shall be provided solely to the extent necessary for institutional compliance of such college or university with the laws and regulations governing federal student financial aid and shall not affect, rescind, or supersede any preexisting authorizations, charters, or recognition.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, any nonpublic postsecondary educational institution whose students participate in either state or federally funded student financial aid programs is specifically covered by this part.

(c) A postsecondary educational institution which is also regulated pursuant to the provisions of Title 43 shall be exempted only from the provisions of paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 20-3-250.5, subsections (a) and (b) of Code Section 20-3-250.6, and Code Section 20-3-250.11.

(d) A postsecondary educational institution which has been granted an exemption from provisions of this part pursuant to paragraph (6) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall subsequently submit an annual statement to the commission which affirms that the institution continues to meet the requirements for exempt status as listed in paragraph (6) of subsection (a) of this Code section. The statement shall be submitted using a form provided by the commission. The commission may request information on the form concerning the names of programs of study offered and the titles of degrees, diplomas, certificates, or other credentials conferred. Institutions which qualify for exempt status may include class components or subjects which are nonreligious in nature but relate to the church related work being performed by the institution. The commission may also authorize an annual visitation by the commission staff to the institution.

(e) Except for postsecondary educational institutions exempted from this part pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection (a) of this Code section, the commission shall establish and promulgate rules, regulations, and policies for education and postsecondary educational institutions to establish their qualifications for an exemption, or maintenance of such exemption, as provided for under subsection (a) of this Code section.

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 20-3-250.3, enacted by Ga. L. 1990, p. 1166, § 3; Ga. L. 1991, p. 980, § 1; Ga. L. 1991, p. 1165, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2198, § 1; Ga. L. 1992, p. 2615, § 2; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1282, § 2; Ga. L. 2002, p. 1414, § 2; Ga. L. 2015, p. 83, § 2/HB 353; Ga. L. 2015, p. 103, § 2-1/HB 372; Ga. L. 2018, p. 724, § 1/HB 448. § Ga. L. 2019, SB 91

NOTES: THE 2015 AMENDMENTS. –The first 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, added “regardless of the age of the student” at the end of paragraph (a)(1); substituted “operated, governed, or licensed” for “operated, and governed” in the middle of paragraph (a)(4); added the provison at the end of paragraph (a)(10); deleted former paragraph (a)(11), which read: “Subject to the requirements of subsection (c) of Code Section 20-3-250.6, any nonpublic institute of paper science and technology offering graduate degrees and which is allied with a public research university and accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education;”, redesignated former paragraphs (a)(12) through (a)(15) as present paragraphs (a)(11) through (a)(14), respectively; added the last two provisions in paragraph (a)(11); substituted “$1,000.00” for “$400.00” twice in paragraph (a)(12); and added the last two provisions in paragraph (a)(14). The second 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, deleted “prior to July 1, 1989,” preceding “and is accredited” near the end of paragraph (a)(10). The 2019 amendment, effective March 1, 2019, added nonpublic orthodontic school and residency program.