Postsecondary registration is the term used in Iowa law to describe the process by which a college or university gains authorization to offer programs in Iowa or to Iowa residents. A school that wants to offer educational instruction to students in Iowa may be required to comply with one or more of the following requirements of Iowa law:
- Iowa Code Chapter 261B - Registration of postsecondary educational institutions (examples that require registration),
- Iowa Code Sections 714.18 and 714.19 - Evidence of financial responsibility or a claim of exemption,
- Iowa Code Section 714.23 - Iowa tuition refund policy for for-profit educational institutions, or
- Iowa Code Section 714.25 - Student disclosures for for-profit postsecondary educational institutions that do not participate in the federal student aid programs.
Notice of Rules Revision for Postsecondary Registration
Effective upon the date that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signs Iowa Senate File 2323, the Commission will initiate enforcement of a new set of rules that govern Iowa postsecondary registration (authorization). Notice was provided to the public of the Commission’s intended action to adopt rules on September 15, 2015, and again on March 16, 2016.
Significant changes enacted by these new rules include the following:
A school that applies for initial registration in Iowa shall remit to the Commission an initial, nonrefundable registration application fee in the amount of $5,000.
A school that is approved for registration in Iowa shall remit an annual fee payable to the Commission that is due by July 15 of each year. The annual fee is nonrefundable and will be assessed based on a school’s full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment, as reported to the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), as follows:
- Under 2,500 FTE – $2,000.
- 2,500 to 9,999 FTE – $4,000
- 10,000 FTE or more – $6,000.
Implementation of the New Registration Fees
The Commission will implement the new, $5000 initial registration fee and the new, annual fee due by July 15 of each year beginning with initial registration applications the Commission receives on and after the enactment date of the new rules. For schools that are currently registered, the Commission will implement the new, annual fee due by July 15 of each year beginning with registration renewal applications the Commission receives on and after the enactment date of the new rules.
The following examples illustrate how the Commission intends to implement these fee changes:
- A school submitted an initial registration application to the Commission prior to the effective date of the new rules. The Commission will not retroactively charge this school an initial $5,000 registration fee. Upon registration approval, the Commission will not charge the school an annual fee during its initial, two-year registration term. If the school applies for subsequent registration renewal, it will not be charged an application fee. If the Commission approves the school’s registration renewal, the school must pay the Commission an annual fee due by July 15 during the first year of its two-year, registration renewal term and by July 15 of every year thereafter as long as the school continuously maintains its Iowa registration.
- A school was initially registered in Iowa for a two-year term that began on December 15, 2015, and ends on December 15, 2017. The Commission will not charge the school an annual fee during the current registration term on July 15 of 2016 or 2017. If the school applies for registration renewal, it will not be charged an application fee. If the Commission approves the school’s registration renewal for a two-year term that begins on December 16, 2017, the school must pay the Commission an annual fee due by July 15, 2018, and by July 15 of every year thereafter as long as the school continuously maintains its Iowa registration.
- A school is currently in a registration renewal term of two years that began on November 17, 2014, and ends November 17, 2016. As of the date of enactment of the new rules, the Commission has not received a renewal application from the school. If the school applies to extend its registration authorization beyond November of 2016, it will not be charged an application renewal fee. If its registration renewal application is approved for another two-year term that begins on November 18, 2016, the school must pay the Commission an annual fee due by July 15, 2017, and by July 15 of every year thereafter as long as the school continuously maintains its Iowa registration.
- A school is currently in a registration renewal term of two years that began on June 18, 2014, and ends on June 18, of 2016. The Commission received the school’s registration renewal application prior to the date of enactment of the new rules. If its registration renewal application is approved for another two-year term that begins on June 19, 2016, and ends on June 19, 2018, the Commission will not charge the school an annual fee on July 15 of 2016 or 2017. If the school subsequently applies for and is approved for registration renewal in June of 2018, the school must pay an annual fee to the Commission by July 15, 2018, and by July 15 of every year thereafter as long as the school continuously maintains its Iowa registration.
Program, Campus or School Closure
Currently, the chief executive officer of a school that applies for registration must provide a signed statement agreeing to provide alternatives for students to complete their programs at the same or other schools if the school discontinues a program, the applicant school closes, or the applicant school closes an Iowa site before students have completed their courses of study. New rules clarify that, notwithstanding any limitations on student eligibility for a teach-out plan approved by a school’s accrediting agency, the alternatives that the school provides under this agreement with the Commission shall ensure that all academically eligible students attending the programs the school offers under its registration are provided with a viable option(s) to finish the program(s). No later than 90 days before a registered school takes action to discontinue a program that is offered by the school under its registration, close an Iowa site, or close the school, the school must notify the Commission in writing. The school’s notice to the Commission must include all of the following:
- The full name, residential address, telephone number, email address, program name, and anticipated graduation date of affected Iowa resident students, or as applicable, affected students at the school’s Iowa campus, organized alphabetically by student last name.
- Documentation of the school’s proposed notice to students.
- The school’s specific plan to provide alternatives for affected students to complete programs offered under the school’s registration, as described above. The school shall obtain the prior approval of the Commission for any agreement the school proposes to establish with another institution that provides completion alternatives for programs the school offered under its registration.
- The school’s plan for permanent storage and retrieval of student transcript information.
- Specific information about how the school will provide transitional support to affected students.
- Contact information for the specific entity and individual who will accept responsibility for all of the following:
Ensuring that unearned federal student aid is timely returned to the U.S. Department of Education.
Finalizing student account records and providing copies of the students’ final account statements to the students, and upon request, to the Commission
Collecting outstanding bills a student owes to the school for tuition and other educational expenses.
Collecting on private education loans or other institutional loans made to students by the school and, if applicable, the school’s private preferred lender(s).
Limitation, denial or revocation of registration
At the time of initial registration or registration renewal and during a registration term, the Commission may take action that includes, but is not limited to, limiting the school’s program offerings or enrollment or denying or revoking the school’s registration as a result of any of the following:
- An adverse notice, warning, or other sanction issued by the school’s accrediting agency.
- An adverse action or sanction issued by the U.S. Department of Education.
- A law suit filed by a state agency, a state attorney general’s office, or another enforcement authority.
- A judgment issued by a state attorney general’s office or another enforcement authority.
- A for-profit school’s most recently calculated percentage of revenue derived from Title IV, federal student aid funding exceeds the threshold established by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Repeated complaints about a school received from the school’s students by the Commission, by another state, or by a state attorney general’s office.
- Notice that the school has experienced a change of ownership or governance. The school shall notify the Commission no later than 30 calendar days after the change in ownership or governance.
- Failure to pay fees due to the Commission.
- Other actions deemed by the Commission as significant evidence that the school should not be allowed to operate under registration authorization.
Please contact the Postsecondary Registration Administrator Carolyn Small by email at Carolyn.firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (515) 725-3413 if you have questions about this information or to obtain a copy of the new postsecondary registration rules.
Rule Change Alerts
Schools that wish to receive notice of proposed and adopted rules that impact postsecondary registration in Iowa may subscribe to rule change alerts at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Subscribe/agencyChanges.aspx
Links and Resources
Iowa College Student Aid Commission Contact Information
For additional information regarding the State of Iowa's postsecondary registration, financial responsibility, tuition refund and disclosure requirements, please contact:
Postsecondary Registration Coordinator
Iowa College Student Aid Commission
430 East Grand Avenue, FL 3
Des Moines, IA 50309-1920
(877) 272-4456 option 4