Postsecondary Registration - Iowa Code Chapter 261B
Registration Application Additional Requirements
A registration applicant must provide a listing of all programs that the applicant wishes to offer in Iowa through, as applicable, instruction and/or distance education and the total estimated institutional charges associated with each program (i.e. total tuition, mandatory fees, books/supplies and other standard costs). While the Commission does not "approve" or "accredit" specific programs, Commission staff review all programs and curriculum for Iowa-specific implications. For example, Iowa Code and Administrative Code set standards for certain programs that prepare students for licensure in specific professions.
A school that seeks registration in Iowa is strongly encouraged to review the Iowa Workforce Development online listing of Iowa's state-licensed occupations, and any applicable Iowa Code or Administrative Code requirements for educational programs that prepare students for licensure in that occupation. Questions about such requirements should be directed to the appropriate Iowa licensure board or authority. The Iowa Workforce Development website provides contact information for the appropriate licensing board or authority.
Iowa Administrative Code authorizes the Commission the right to deny a registration applicant permission to offer a specific program in Iowa that prepares students for employment in an occupation if the Commission believes that the school's program has not been approved by the appropriate state of Iowa licensing agency or accrediting agency, if such approval is required, or the school’s program fails to meet the curriculum standards of the appropriate state of Iowa licensing agency such that the student must complete additional coursework or practicum hours that the school did not offer in its professional licensure preparation program.
Registration applicants are strongly encouraged to review their catalog materials before submitting a registration application to ensure that the description of programs associated with professions that commonly require a state-issued license or certification (e.g., teacher, school administrator, psychologist, professional counselor, or law enforcement officer) clearly state whether the program prepares the student for a mandatory license or certification. Commission staff may require such clarifications of a school during the registration application review process.
Under Iowa Code 261B.3A, subsection2, a registration applicant that wishes to offer what Iowa Code terms a "practitioner preparation program", (i.e., a program that prepares a student for licensed employment in Iowa as a teacher, early childhood educator, school administrator, school counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, or speech pathologist/audiologist) must first apply to the Iowa Department of Education for approval of that program before the Commission will permit the school to offer the program under its Iowa registration.
A school that applies for registration in Iowa to offer distance education programs must also apply to the Iowa Department of Education for approval of all practitioner preparation programs the school wishes to offer in Iowa via distance education. The Iowa Board of Education's approval of a distance education provider who wishes to offer practitioner preparation programs in Iowa via distance education does not qualify a student who completes such a program for initial licensure in Iowa. The student must first obtain a license from the state in which the distance education provider is located, and may then apply to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners for an Iowa license.
If approval from the Iowa Board of Education for a school's practitioner preparation program is pending, or the school cannot secure such approval, the Commission may register the school to offer other programs that do not require the Iowa Board of Education's approval.
A school with questions about the approval of practitioner preparation programs or that wishes to apply for approval of such programs should contact:
Iowa Department of Education
Bureau of Accreditation and School Improvement
400 East 14th Street
Grimes Building - FL 3
Des Moines, IA 50319
A registration applicant that wishes to offer a nursing-related program in Iowa (whether at a site in Iowa or via distance education) must first contact the Iowa Board of Nursing. The Commission relies on the Iowa Board of Nursing to determine whether a school must seek the Board's approval for a nursing program that the school wishes to offer in Iowa. If the Iowa Board of Nursing requires the school to seek its approval, the school must first obtain that approval before the Commission will permit the school to offer the nursing program under its Iowa registration.
At this time, the Iowa Board of Nursing does not require an out-of-state school that offers programs for licensed nurses via distance education to seek its approval, but the school must contact the Board of Nursing and follow its instructions regarding the operation of the online nursing-related programs in Iowa.
Assistant Director, Iowa Board of Nursing
Iowa Department of Public Health
400 SE 8th Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Full-Time Iowa Resident Faculty Member or Program Coordinator: Iowa Administrative Code requires a school that applies for registration to maintain a campus, branch campus, student services center, or administrative office at a fixed location in Iowa to employ at least one full-time Iowa-resident faculty member or program coordinator that is devoted to Iowa students.
Faculty Education and Experience: Iowa Code Section 261.2 and Iowa's Administrative Code require the Commission to ensure that faculty have education and experience that qualify them for their assignments. Therefore, a registration applicant should expect to submit at least one of the following relative to all faculty that provide instruction in the programs of which the school applies to offer under its Iowa registration:
- A resume or profile that provides, at minimum, the highest educational credential achieved, a history of professional experience that is pertinent to the faculty member's instructional assignment and the general subject matter in which the faculty member teaches; or
- A link to the school's web page(s) or site(s) that provide the information described above.
A school must also provide the Commission with the number of full-time and part-time faculty and instructors who provide instruction in the programs offered under the school's registration.
The successful registrant must comply with all of the following:
- Provisions of Sections 261B.4 and 261B.5
- Provisions of Section 261B.7
- Provisions of Section 261B.9
- State regulations found in Iowa Administrative Code (283.21). Note: Iowa Administrative Code includes a requirement for a registered school to adopt policies that meet the requirements of Iowa Code Section 261.9(1)"e" to "h." The details of Iowa Code Section 261.9(1)"e" to "h" are not included in the registration provisions of Iowa Administrative Code or on the registration application. They are provided below as a reference for a registration applicant.
Section 261.9(1)"e" ...[Adopt] a policy that prohibits unlawful possession, use, or distribution of controlled substances by students and employees on property owned or leased by the institution or in conjunction with activities sponsored by the institution. Each institution shall provide information about the policy to all students and employees. The policy shall include a clear statement of sanctions for violation of the policy and information about available drug or alcohol counseling and rehabilitation programs. In carrying out this policy, an institution shall provide substance abuse prevention programs for students and employees.
Section 261.9(1)"f" ...[Develop and implement] a written policy, which is disseminated during student registration or orientation, addressing the following four areas relating to sexual abuse:
(2) Campus security
(3) Education, including prevention, protection, and the rights and duties of students and employees of the institution.
(4) Facilitating the accurate and prompt reporting of sexual abuse to the duly constituted law enforcement authorities.
Section 261.9(1)"g" ...[Adopt] a policy to offer not less than the following options to a student who is a member, or the spouse of a member if the member has a dependent child, of the Iowa national guard or reserve forces of the United States and who is ordered to state military service or federal service or duty:
i. Withdraw from the student's entire registration and receive a full refund of tuition and mandatory fees.
ii. Make arrangements with the student's instructors for course grades, or for incompletes that shall be completed by the student at a later date. If such arrangements are made, the student's registration shall remain intact and tuition and mandatory fees shall be assessed for the courses in full.
iii. Make arrangements with only some of the student's instructors for grades, or for incompletes that shall be completed by the student at a later date. If such arrangements are made, the registration for those courses shall remain intact and tuition and mandatory fees shall be assessed for those courses. Any course for which arrangements cannot be made for grades or incompletes shall be considered dropped and the tuition and mandatory fees for the course refunded.
Section 261.9(1)"h" ...Develop and implement a consistent written policy for an employee who in the scope of the person's employment responsibilities examines, attends, counsels or treats a child to report suspected physical or sexual abuse. The policy shaII include an employee's reporting responsibilities. The reporting responsibilities shall designate the time, circumstances, and method for reporting suspected child abuse to the accredited private institution's administration and reporting to law enforcement. Nothing in the policy shall prohibit an employee from reporting suspected child abuse in good faith to Iaw enforcement.
A school that is a participant in the federal student aid programs may already have policies in place that meet the requirements of Iowa Code Section 261.9(1)"e" and "f" (i.e., a drug/alcohol abuse prevention policy, and a sexual abuse prevention policy). A school must submit either with its application policies that it is prepared to implement upon registration that meet the requirements of Iowa Code Section 261.9(1)"e" through "g" and, if applicable, Iowa Code Section 261.9(1)"h". A school that declines to implement any required policy will not be permitted to operate in Iowa.
School Status with Other Oversight Agencies (see Iowa Code Section 261b.3A, 261B.4 and Iowa Administrative Code)
Accrediting Agency: A school must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Iowa Administrative Code requires the school to certify to the commission the school’s status with the accrediting agency at the time of the application and provide information about any pending or final action that may affect the school’s status with its accrediting agency.
U.S. Department of Education: The school must certify that it is not subject to a limitation, suspension or termination order issued by the U.S. Department of Education. A federal student aid participating school must submit a copy of its federal student aid Program Participation Agreement to verify its status with the U.S. Department of Education.
Other State Registration or Licensing Agencies: A school must list the states in which the school is required to seek the state’s approval to operate in that state and provide information about the school’s status with each state agency at the time of the application. The school must certify to the commission that the applicant’s approval to operate in a state has not been revoked and that the school has not been sanctioned by a state within a year prior to the date the school submits its registration application to the Commission,
Other Enforcement Authorities: The school must certify to the Commission that the school is not under investigation or bound by the terms of a judgment issues by a state’s attorney general or other enforcement authority. If either condition is the case, the school must provide information in its records about, as applicable, the investigation or judgment.
The school must certify to the Commission that it will immediately notify the Commission of any pending or final sanction issued by the school’s accrediting agency, another state agency that registers or licenses the school during its registration term, or a state attorney general’s office or other enforcement authority.
A registration applicant must also comply with the following provisions of Iowa Code Chapter 714:
- A non-public school must file evidence of financial responsibility with the Iowa College Student Aid Commission under Iowa Code Section 714.18 or demonstrate qualification for an exemption under Iowa Code Section 714.19.
- A for-profit school that has a program of more than 4 months in length that leads to a recognized educational credential such as a postsecondary degree, diploma or license must implement a tuition refund policy that meets the requirements of Iowa Code Section 714.23. A school is strongly encouraged to consult with Commission staff during development of the policy, and the school must submit that policy to Commission staff for review and comment no later than during the registration application review period.