Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education

Agency Description: The Board licenses and regulates 217 private postsecondary educational institutions operating vocational and degree programs.  These private universities, colleges, career colleges, and vocational schools annually serve approximately  265,544 students.  Arizona schools provide education and training to students in Arizona, across the nation and around the world.


The Board has two primary programs: Licensing and Regulation and the Student Tuition Recovery Fund.

The Board acts on license applications, determines compliance, investigates complaints and violations, and takes disciplinary action.
Through the administration of the Student Tuition Recovery Fund, a fund of approximately $500,000+, the Board confiscates and retains student educational records from closed institutions, which provides students access to their educational records to continue their education and/or provide educational verification to a potential employer.  The fund also provides financial restitution to students injured by private postsecondary institutional closures.  The Board is currently a custodian of records for approximately 1 million students.


I.  Licensing & Regulation Program:  For FY2021 (July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021) the Board: Licensed 217 schools (includes vocational/degree & accredited/non-accredited)

  • Total Students Enrolled in Arizona Licensed Institutions: 264,336 (39,210 Vocational Students & 226,334 Degree Students)
  • Approved 242 new programs.
  • Approved 18 new schools.
  • Approved 6 changes of name.
  • Supervised 21 school closures.
  • Serviced 2198 student record requests.
  • Paid $20,494 in Student Tuition Recovery Fund claims
  • Educational institutions generated 2,352,681,833 in tuition revenue during FY2021. 
  • Adverse Actions taken: 67 (Probation, require higher bonds, quarterly reporting, Letter of Concerns, Cease & Desist Orders, Monitoring)


Each new license application contains 23 items that must be reviewed and approved by Staff and then the full State Board.  This includes CPA prepared financial statements, certificates of insurance, surety bonds, course descriptions and faculty resumes to name a few.  On average, it takes between 180 to 240 days to process a new application.


Once licensed, each school must renew their license annually.  During license renewal, each school must submit 13 separate items for staff review and approval.  This process takes 60 days for each school to complete.  Renewals are divided into 4 quarterly cycles.  Renewal fees are determined by gross tuition revenues ranging from a minimum of $600 to a maximum of $2300.  Fees have NOT been increased since 1996.


II. Student Tuition Recovery Fund Program:


The agency also administers the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF).  The STRF fund is a non-appropriated fund assessed from licensed institutions and maintains a minimum balance of $500,000.  The fund is used to compensate students injured when a licensed school closes before a student has completed contracted coursework.  The agency seizes student records and maintains and provides student records.  The agency services approximately 4,400 student record requests annually.  Students who attended postsecondary schools that have ceased operations may request copies of transcripts and student records to either continue or complete their education or obtain employment.  Not all states provide this service.


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


The ombudsman-citizens aide helps citizens to resolve ongoing issues with state agencies. Please go to for more information.