(a) No person, agent, group, or entity of whatever kind, alone or in concert with others, shall:

(1) Operate in this state a nonpublic postsecondary educational institution or conduct postsecondary activities in this state unless issued a current certificate of valid authorization by the executive director;

(2) Offer postsecondary instruction leading to a postsecondary degree or certificate to Georgia residents from a location outside this state by correspondence or any telecommunications or electronic media technology unless issued a current certificate of valid authorization;

(3) Solicit prospective students without being authorized by the executive director to do so and without being bonded if required to do so by Code Section 20-3-250.10;

(4) Offer, as or through an agent, enrollment or instruction in, or the granting of educational credentials from, a postsecondary educational institution not exempted from this part, whether such institution is within or outside this state, unless such agent is a natural person and has a currently valid agent’s permit issued pursuant to this part; or accept contracts or enrollment applications from an agent who does not have a current permit as required by this part; but the commission may promulgate rules and regulations to permit the rendering of legitimate public information services without such permit;

(5) Make or cause to be made any statement or representation, oral, written, or visual, in connection with the offering or publicizing of a course, if such person knows or reasonably should have known the statement or representation to be false, deceptive, substantially inaccurate, or misleading;

(6) Instruct or educate, or offer to instruct or educate, including advertising or soliciting for such purpose, enroll or offer to enroll, contract or offer to contract with any person for such purpose, or award any educational credential, or contract with any institution or party to perform any such act, in this state, whether such person, agent, group, or entity is located within or outside this state, unless such person, agent, group, or entity observes and is in compliance with the minimum standards set forth in Code Section 20-3-250.6, the criteria established by the commission pursuant to paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 20-3-250.5, and the rules and regulations adopted by the commission;

(7) Promise or guarantee employment utilizing information, training, or skill purported to be provided or otherwise enhanced by a course, unless the promisor or guarantor offers the student or prospective student a bona fide contract of employment agreeing to employ said student or prospective student for a specified period of time in a business or other enterprise regularly conducted by him or her where such information, training, or skill is a normal condition of employment;

(8) Do any act constituting part of the conduct or administration of a course or the obtaining of students thereof, if such person knows or reasonably should know that any phase or incident of the conduct or administration of the course is being carried on by the use of fraud, deception, other misrepresentation, or by any person soliciting students without a permit; or

(9) Grant, or offer to grant, postsecondary degrees, diplomas, certificates, or honorary or unearned degrees without authorization to do so from the commission.

(b) No person, agent, group, or entity of whatever kind shall use the term “college” or “university” without authorization to do so from the commission unless it was doing so prior to July 1, 1985, or is otherwise authorized to do so under this part. Nonpublic postsecondary educational institutions operating in this state which are otherwise exempted from this part pursuant to Code Section 20-3-250.3 shall be subject to the provision of this subsection.

(c) No person, firm, or institution shall sell, barter, or exchange for any consideration or attempt to sell, barter, or exchange for any consideration any postsecondary degree, diploma, or certificate.

(d) No person, firm, or institution shall use, or attempt to use, in connection with any business, trade, profession, or occupation any postsecondary certificate, degree, or certification of degree or degree credit including, but not limited to, a transcript of course work, which the person, firm, or institution knows was fraudulently issued, obtained, forged, or materially altered.

(e) Any contract entered into with any person for any course of instruction by or on behalf of any owner, employee, agent, or other representative of a nonpublic postsecondary educational institution subject to this part to which a certificate of authorization has not been issued shall be unenforceable in any action brought thereon.

(f) Any person, group, or entity or any owner, officer, agent, or employee thereof who willfully violates this Code section, Code Section 20-3-250.8, or willfully fails or refuses to deposit with the executive director the records required by Code Section 20-3-250.17 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Each day’s failure to comply with such Code sections shall be a separate violation. Such criminal sanctions may be imposed by a court of competent jurisdiction in an action brought by the Attorney General or a district attorney pursuant to Code Section 20-3-250.18.

HISTORY: Code 1981, § 20-3-250.7, enacted by Ga. L. 1990, p. 1166, § 3; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1657, § 4; Ga. L. 1994, p. 1282, § 5.