Postsecondary Registration - Iowa Code Chapter 261B
Schools that are exempted from registration in Iowa are listed in Iowa Code Section 261B.11. With two exceptions, the exemptions listed in this section of Iowa Code apply only to schools that originate in Iowa. Registration exemptions that may apply to an out-of-state school or other out-of-state entity are as follows:
- Section 261B.11, subsection 8 - Schools and educational programs conducted by religious organizations solely for the religious instruction of leadership practitioners of that religious organization. This exemption requires a school to substantiate that it restricts its enrollment to persons who are, or who aspire to be, leadership practitioners of the specific, bona fide, recognized religious organization with which the school is affiliated. Iowa Code does not recognize the federal exemption for a religiously-affiliated institution in 34 CFR 600.9.
- Section 261B.11, subsection 11 - Postsecondary educational institutions offering programs limited to non-degree (e.g., certificate or diploma) specialty vocational training programs.
A school that wishes to operate at an Iowa location and believe it qualifies for an exemption from registration under Iowa Code Section 261B.11 must complete an application. Exemption applications are evaluated by the Commission's postsecondary registration administrator to determine the claimant's qualifications for the exemption. The postsecondary registration administrator makes a recommendation concerning the outcome of the school's exemption application to the agency Board of Commissioners, who have ultimate authority to approve or deny registration exemption requests.
A school that exclusively offers distance education programs to Iowa residents must contact the postsecondary registration administrator for evaluation of the school's distance education programs and operational activities. If the Commission's postsecondary registration administrator determines that a distance education provider's programs and operations meet none of the conditions for registration of distance education program providers under Iowa Code Sections 261B.2 and 261.3, the school will receive a written communication stating that, at this time, the school is not required to register in Iowa (i.e., seek explicit authorization) in order to offer its distance education program to Iowa residents. Currently, the Commission does not accept registration exemption applications from schools that exclusively offer distance education programs to Iowa residents. However, a distance education program provider that is not required must comply with the independent requirements of Iowa Code Chapter 714 as follows:
- The school must file evidence of financial responsibility under Iowa Code Section 714.18 or demonstrate qualification for an exemption under Iowa Code Section 714.19; and
- For a for-profit school with at least one program of more than 4-months in length that leads to a degree, diploma, or license, the school must adopt an Iowa tuition refund policy for Iowa residents who withdraw that meets the conditions of Iowa Code Section 714.23.