Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education

Agency Description:

The Board is responsible for licensing and overseeing 234 private postsecondary educational institutions. These institutions offer a total of 3,185 vocational and degree programs. They encompass private universities, colleges, career colleges, and vocational schools. Annually, these educational institutions cater to approximately 344,853 students and generate a gross tuition revenue of $3,723,443,289.00.

The reach of Arizona schools extends beyond the state's borders, providing education and training to students across the nation and around the world. They employ a combination of on-site and online educational methods to facilitate learning. Additionally, Arizona institutions have the opportunity to qualify for participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (AZ-SARA). This agreement streamlines the licensure process across 49 states and multiple territories, promoting greater accessibility and efficiency for educational institutions.

I.  Licensing & Regulation Program:  For FY2023 (July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023) the Board

The board acts on license applications, determines compliance, investigates complaints and violations, and takes disciplinary action when necessary. The Board reviews new and renewal licensing applications for compliance with A.R.S. Title 32, Chapter 30, and A.A.C Title 4, Chapter 39.

Every new license application undergoes a comprehensive review and approval process by both the Staff and the State Board. Each application consists of at least 20 items, such as financial statements, insurance certificates, surety bonds, course descriptions, faculty lists, accreditation details, and other crucial documents required by statutory or administrative regulations. The processing time for new non-accredited applications, which includes both administrative completeness and substantive review, is 180 days. Accredited degree applications require 240 days for processing.

Once a school is granted a license, it must renew it annually. During the license renewal procedure, the school is required to submit 15 distinct items for review and approval by the staff. This renewal process typically takes 60 days for each school to complete. The renewal period is divided into four quarterly cycles. The renewal fees are determined based on the gross tuition revenues, ranging from a minimum of $750 to a maximum of $6000 per year.

Licensing & Regulation Program: For the fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023), the Board accomplished the following:

Licensed Schools: The Board granted licenses to a total of 234 schools, which includes both vocational/degree programs and accredited/non-accredited institutions.

Total Students Enrolled: The number of students enrolled in licensed institutions in Arizona during this period was as follows:

Vocational Students: 74,009

Degree Students: 270,844

Total Students: 344,853

Supplemental Licenses: The Board approved a total of 263 supplemental licenses, covering various categories:

Change of Ownership: 4

Change of Location: 18

New Programs: 136

Program Modifications: 95

Change of Institutional Name: 10

License Renewals: A total of 196 licenses were renewed during the specified period.

New School Licenses: The Board granted approval for 17 new school licenses.

Complaint Investigations: The Board conducted investigations into 30 student complaints and 8 non-student consumer complaints and 6 are still pending. The State Board adjudicated 5 complaints

Correspondence and Inquiries: The Board responded to 151 Letters of Intent, 83 State Authorizations, and 43 Inquiries.

Inspections: A total of 30 inspections were carried out by the Board.

School Closures: The Board provided assistance and support during the closure of 10 schools.

Student Record Requests: The Board fulfilled 1,735 student record requests.

Student Tuition Recovery Fund Claims: A sum of $23,992.00 was disbursed in Student Tuition Recovery Fund claims.

Revenue Generated: Educational institutions within the Board's purview generated total revenue of $3.7 billion.

Adverse Actions: The Board took 37 adverse actions, including probationary measures, requirements for higher bonds, quarterly reporting, issuance of Letters of Concern, Cease & Desist Orders, and monitoring.

 II. Student Tuition Recovery Fund Program:

The Board holds the authority to secure and retain student educational records from closed institutions through the administration of the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF). Essential documents such as student transcripts, enrollment agreements, and financial ledger cards are kept indefinitely to ensure students have continued access to critical educational records for employment, further education, or other purposes. Additionally, the STRF fund serves to financially compensate students affected by the closure of private postsecondary institutions. The Board currently safeguards around 6 million student documents as the custodian of records.

The STRF fund operates as a non-appropriated fund and is funded through assessments imposed on licensed institutions. It maintains a minimum balance of $500,000 and is utilized to provide restitution to students who have been harmed due to the closure of a licensed school before completing their contracted coursework. Each year, the agency receives and fulfills approximately 1,500 student record requests. It's worth noting that Arizona is one of the few states that offers access to student records following institutional closures.

Public Information Requests:

The agency provides information to the public regarding:

Licensed schools in Arizona
Licensed programs
The meaning of accreditation and which licensed schools are accredited
Student Tuition Recovery Fund claims
Grievance Procedures and how to file student complaints
Locating records in other states
Ordering student records in Arizona
How to become a licensed institution

The agency has a Website that provides online information and downloadable forms to facilitate public information requests.


Agency Partnerships:

The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education serves as part of the “triad” in terms of oversight for the Federal Student Aid programs. The Board provides consumer protection and “creates a level playing field for schools within the state.” The other partners include the U.S. Department of Education and the Accrediting Agencies.

The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education has developed partnerships with other City, State, and Federal agencies to facilitate the dissemination of information.  They include:

U.S. Department of Education * Arizona Department of Education
Regional & National Accrediting Agencies * Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act
Department of Health Services * Veteran’s Administration
Department of Economic Security  
Other State Boards who share dual licensing responsibilities for schools

Office of the Ombudsman

The ombudsman-citizens aide helps citizens to resolve ongoing issues with state agencies. Please go to http://www.azoca.gov for more information.

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