School

Overview

Below is a basic overview of the reason for EAP approval.

Obtaining Approval


The Educational Approval Program (EAP) exists to protect consumers and ensure the programs offered by schools meet certain education/training quality standards. A school seeking approval goes through an application process, which includes the following:
◾Evaluating applications for approval of schools, programs, representative permits and teaching locations;
◾Requiring a surety bond to demonstrate financial stability;
◾Ensuring schools adhere to legal requirements in their catalogs/handbooks and enrollment agreements;
◾Reviewing advertising materials for honesty and fairness.

Need for Approval

To help schools determine if they are subject to EAP approval, a flow chart providing an overview of the need for approval has been created. If you have questions or are unsure of the need for approval, contact the EAP to discuss your particular situation.

School and Program Approval Guide

To help schools understand the EAP's oversight, it has developed a comprehensive School and Program Approval Guide. It is important to thoroughly review this document before starting the approval process. It also created a fee guideline to help schools anticipate costs for approval.


Download the School and Program Approval Guide

In becoming an approved post-secondary school, college or university that offers a training/educational program to Wisconsin residents, a school will need to provide the EAP with information by completing a series of forms and/or submitting certain documentation. Completing the forms takes time and effort. Some of the requirements are very precise, and the school policies and procedures (even the content of documents) must meet certain legal guidelines.However, before completing any forms, schools seeking approval should contact the EAP and ask to speak with one of the School Administration Consultants.

Application Forms

In order to obtain approval for your school you must submit an application to the EAP. Below are the forms required in the application with a description for each.

Application forms

The following forms are intended to be used by schools seeking initial approval. Schools should contact the EAP and speak with a school administration consultant before using the forms. In addition, the School and Program Approval Guide provides critical information about the EAP's oversight and should be thoroughly reviewed prior to completing the forms. A brief description of each form, which can be downloaded as a Microsoft Word document, is provided below. The Word version of each form can be completed electronically. For a guide to the application fees click here.

School Operations and Governance - Form 1.01

Under sections 440.52 (7) and (10), Wis. Stats., all private postsecondary schools not otherwise exempt are required to obtain approval from the Educational Approval Program before advertising or doing business in Wisconsin.


Surety Bond - Form 1.02

A surety bond ensures that students can recoup tuition and other costs if the school closes. Make sure that your surety company also attaches the power of attorney for your bond.


Program Application - Form 1.03

Under s.440.52(7), Wis. Stats., all private postsecondary schools not otherwise exempt are required to obtain approval from the Educational Approval Program before advertising or doing business in Wisconsin.


Background of Instructor - Form 1.04

All schools must provide information about the qualifications instructors/faculty members must have to teach the programs offered (see program approval application). In addition, non-accredited schools must complete the following form for each instructor/faculty member the school employs.


School Catalog Checklist - Form 1.05

Under Wis. Admin. Code SPS 404.03 (2), every school is required to have a catalog. This following checklist must accompany a proposed catalog as part of a new school application or a proposed catalog revision for an already approved school.


Enrollment Agreement Checklist - Form 1.06

Schools that choose to use an enrollment agreement must submit it to the EAP and have it approved prior to use.


Customer's Right to Cancel - Form 1.07

Use this form as the cancellation agreement for you and your students.


Teaching Location - Form 1.08

Please fill this application out for each location where you plan to hold classes.


Representative Permit Application - Form 1.09

To recruit prospective students in Wisconsin, you need to fill out this application, pay a $200 fee, and designate coverage of $2,000 in the general school surety bond.


Institutional Planning - Form 1.10

All schools are required to submit an institutional planning document.


Approval Checklist and Statement of Submission - Form 1.11

All schools seeking initial approval are required to submit an Approval Checklist and Statement of Submission.


Balance Sheet Template - Form 2.01

Form 2.01 is a basic balance sheet for institutions to use.


Income Statement Template - Form 2.02

Form 2.02 is a form to determine basic operating expenses.


Compliance and Institutional Assessment - Form 2.03

Form 2.03 is a basic institutional assessment that a school consultant may use during a school visit.


Change of Ownership - Form 2.04

Schools that intend to change ownership of their institution must fill out Form 2.04 and submit it to the EAP.


Employment Verification - Form 2.05

To verify employment please submit the attached form to the EAP.


Student Complaints - Form 3.01

Students with complaints about the school they are attending can submit Form 3.01 to the EAP.

Student Records Request - Form 3.02

In order to request a transcript from a closed school submit this form with a $10 check per person you want it sent to.

Online Institutions

Online instituions may or may not need EAP approval depending on their SARA status. See below for more information regarding online schools

Online Institutions

The EAP is providing the following information to help institutions understand Wisconsin's regulatory requirements related to offering programs to Wisconsin students via distance learning. Unless your institution is a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) participant, it must be approved to enroll Wisconsin students in online programs. Institutions do not need to have physical presence in Wisconsin to trigger the need for approval by EAP.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Wisconsin became a member of SARA on August 15, 2016 through the Midwest Higher Education Compact (MHEC). The Wisconsin Distance Learning Authorization Board (DLAB) has been designated the portal agency for SARA – the entity responsible for coordinating SARA activities in Wisconsin. The DLAB website provides additional information.

Although federal rules specify that institutions must have state authorization to offer programs via distance learning when it is required by the state, such approval has always been required in Wisconsin. Under s.38.50 (2), Wis. Stats., "[t]he board shall protect the general public by inspecting and approving private trade, correspondence, business, and technical schools doing business within this state, whether located within or outside this state,...and courses of instruction offered by the schools and regulate the soliciting of students for correspondence or classroom courses and courses of instruction offered by the schools.


Exemptions

Wisconsin statutes provide a general exemption from EAP oversight for publically-governed and religious institutions. While the statutes also provide an exemption for certain private non-profit, in-state institutions, no out-of-state, private non-profit institutions are exempt from EAP oversight.


Publically Governed Institutions

Under s.38.50 (1)(e) 2., Wis. Stats., "[s]chools that are supported mainly by taxes" are exempt from EAP oversight. Because the exemption is not restricted to public institutions governed by the state of Wisconsin, the EAP has consistently interpreted it to mean any public college or university that is an instrumentality of a state is exempt.

Should public institutions offer online programs in a regulated profession, such as nursing, counseling, social work or teacher training, the EAP strongly advises institutions to contact the respective oversight bodies (e.g., the Department of Safety and Professional Services or the Department of Public Instruction) about requirements specific to those programs to ensure they conform to the state of Wisconsin's licensure requirements.


Religious Institutions

Under s.38.50(1)(e)3., Wis. Stats., the EAP does not regulate "schools of a parochial or denominational character offering programs having a sectarian objective." For example, a college offering programs leading to a degree in divinity, theology or pastoral counseling would not need EAP approval. However, if an institution offers degree programs such as music, business, or teaching, which are not limited to use in the ministry, then the institution must be EAP-approved


SARA Participants

SARA is a national initiative which seeks to establish comparable national standards for the interstate offering of postsecondary distance-education courses and programs. SARA is a voluntary agreement among regional compacts (SRED, NEBHE, MHEC, and WICHE) and member states. Each member state approves their in-state institutions for SARA participation. Institutional membership is voluntary and open to accredited, degree-granting institutions from all sectors of postsecondary education (proprietary, public, private). Once approved, SARA participants may offer distance education programs in other SARA member states without additional authorization. For more information on SARA, and for the latest listing of participating states and institutions, visit NC-SARA.


Approval Process

In Chapter 11 of its Administrative Code, the EAP acknowledges that distance learning presents a materially new context for Wisconsin to protect consumers. Because the oversight of online programs differs from those offered on-ground, EAP 11 makes several "accommodations" for distance learning providers in its approval process and fees. For example, if a school has approval from another state whose requirements are substantially equivalent to those of the EAP, then the board may accept that state's approval as fulfilling all or parts of the approval process.

Information and materials regarding EAP approval, including the School and Program Approval Guide, are available here. Additionally, the EAP's statutory and administrative code provisions, including the specific distance learning requirements found in EAP 11, are available here.


School Approval Needed - Contact the EAP

If you believe your institution needs approval based on the preceding information because it currently enrolls (or plans to enroll) Wisconsin residents in an online program, please contact the EAP and ask to speak with a school administration consultant to discuss the approval process, as well as the specific distance learning requirements and accommodations contained in EAP 11.

Renewing a current school

Once a school has obtained EAP approval it must early renew it's approval with the EAP or risk losing its ability to operate in Wisconsin or accept Wisconsin students.

School Renewal

2018 School Renewal

The annual renewal process requires information to be submitted electronically. The online renewal will be available beginning Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at noon and can be accessed by using the link below. Schools have until Friday, September 1, 2017 to submit a renewal of approval application.

NOTE: DO NOT START THE RENEWAL EARLY -- INFORMATION ENTERED PRIOR TO NOON ON TUESDAY, JULY 18 WILL NOT BE SAVED!

Online Renewal Template Although the annual school renewal process is completed entirely online, a Renewal Template has been developed to provide schools with an idea of the renewal information that will be required. During the renewal process, schools will have the ability generate a pre-renewal working copy of the renewal application -- specific to their school -- to assist with completing the online renewal.


Renewal Process Timeline


◾mid-July

> Annual renewal letters sent to schools.

- Active School Letter

- Active Deferred School Letter

- Inactive School Letter


◾September 1^

>Renewal applications due, including: - First payment renewal fee.

*$500 for Active schools;

*$0 for Active Deferred schools; or,

*$100 for Inactive schools.

- Financial Statements

- Institutional Plan.

- School Catalog

- Enrollment Agreement (if applicable)

- Employment Verification Form (if applicable)


◾through November

>Renewal materials reviewed by EAP staff.


◾late-December

> Renewal of approval memo provided to schools.

> Approval certificates issued for coming year.

> Invoice for second renewal payments sent to schools.


◾March 1^

> Second renewal payment due (based on reported AGASR for Active schools or $500 for Active (deferred) schools).


^Date will change if it falls on a weekend or holiday.

Exempt Schools

Depending on the type of programs you serve you may not require EAP approval to conduct education in Wisconsin.

Exempt Schools

Under current law, certain schools are exempt from EAP regulatory authority. The following is a listing of the types of schools arranged by exemption category.


Public Colleges and Universities

The UW System Colleges and Universities and Wisconsin Technical Colleges are governed by separate public boards.


Schools Regulated by other State Agencies

Cosmetology, Barbering, and Real Estate schools are currently regulated by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. Schools that offer certified nursing assistant training are regulated by the Department of Health Services.


In-state Nonprofit Colleges

Schools that are exempt from taxation under section 501 of the IRS code and either were incorporated in this state prior to January 1, 1992, or had their administrative headquarters and principal place of business in this state prior to 1970 are not subject to EAP oversight. This exemption is intended to apply to schools who are members of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.


SARA Participant Schools

Institutions that are State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) participants are not subject to EAP approval. The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements maintains a list of SARA particpants.


Religious Schools

The EAP does not regulate schools of a parochial or denominational character offering programs having a sectarian objective. For example a course for bible study would not require EAP approval. A Business Management course at a religious school would need EAP approval as that program is not related to the ministry


Avocational Schools

The EAP does not regulate schools offering instruction that is recreational in nature and does not lead to a vocational objective.


Special Note: To help schools determine if they are subject to EAP approval, a flow chart providing an overview of the need for approval has been created.

School Visits

EAP school consultants visit schools when they first obtain EAP approval and annually to ensure compliance and to ensure that schools are maintaining standards. Consultants can also make additional visits to schools in the case of complaints.

School Visit Process


Overview

The EAP regularly visits schools for two reasons: to ensure approved schools treat all students fairly and honestly; and to help schools be effective institutions by graduating students who are well-educated and trained, and who can obtain employment and/or advance in their careers.

In performing its consumer protection responsibilities, the EAP seeks to ensure that schools meet the state's legal requirements for full disclosure, and for treating students equitably. This means that a school must meet basic requirements, such as a school's catalog and refund policy complying with EAP's administrative rules; school facilities meeting local health and safety codes; that the recruitment and admissions process is open and fair; and that the school keeps good student records.

Beginning with the annual school renewal process for 2009, schools have been required to submit an institutional plan – a long-term plan that addresses how a school will accomplish its stated mission and strategically position itself in the marketplace. The school's institutional plan is built on the core elements of effective institutions and sets annual goals for improving the school and producing better student outcomes.

Through its regulatory processes, and in particular its school visits, the EAP aims to strengthen the schools own capacity to improve their internal processes, data collection and evaluation, and student outcomes. Although EAP staff may identify "problems" during a school visit, the primary purpose is not about finding and fixing problems. Rather, the aim of the school visit process is to provide the EAP, and the schools it approves, a vehicle to work cooperatively toward the common goal of helping students achieve their personal and professional goals.

School Visit Process

To ensure school compliance with legal requirements and to help schools evaluate and improve their own institutional effectiveness, the EAP is committed to visiting all approved schools on a regular cycle. The EAP conducts several types of school visits – a mandatory comprehensive visit; an optional annual progress and student outcomes visit; a new school visit; and, other visits. See an an overview of the school visit process.


Comprehensive Visit

The comprehensive school visit is designed to be a thorough and in-depth examination (and verification) of a school's compliance with legal requirements, institutional planning and evaluation processes, student outcomes and satisfaction data, financial stability and overall institutional effectiveness. During the school visit, EAP staff will interview school administrators, instructors, students, and employers; review student records and the record keeping system(s); verify compliance with prescribed administrative requirements; examine financial records; and evaluate the school's institutional plan.

A comprehensive visit will last from one-half to one-full day and generally will be conducted by more than one EAP school administration consultant. School officials will be contacted four to six weeks prior the visit to arrange a date and discuss the process. The enclosed material includes a sample agenda, as well as a list of sample questions EAP staff will ask. Note that the question categories match the institutional plan elements, as do the categories on the "Compliance and Institutional Assessment" form that will be used for school visits.

Following a visit, school officials will receive a letter summarizing the EAP's findings. If serious compliance and/or institutional problems are found, the EAP will request that the school submit a written improvement plan identifying what corrective action will be taken. The EAP staff may also conduct a follow-up visit(s) to check on implementation of the plan.

The EAP aims to conduct a comprehensive school visit every three years for non-accredited schools and midway through its accreditation cycle for accredited schools. For accredited schools, the EAP will use the school's last accreditation visit report and annual reports as the context for its visit. Since the EAP regulates such a diverse set of schools, it will tailor its school visits to unique situations like schools offering programs via distance learning.

Annual Visit

The annual school visit is optional and less intensive. It is conducted by the assigned school administration consultant to assess the school's progress in achieving annual institutional goals, and review student outcomes and satisfaction data. The visit is designed to create an on-going conversation and relationship between the school owner and/or administrator and the EAP. During this visit, a class of soon-to-graduate students usually would be interviewed as a way to verify that the school is functioning well and students are satisfied. If problems are identified during this visit, the EAP school administration consultant may determine a comprehensive school visit or other corrective action is warranted.

New School Visits

Because the EAP wants new schools to start strong, it will generally visit all new schools within the first six months of operations and in the second year of operations. If the school is determined to be operating successfully and meeting compliance requirements, it will then enter the three-year cycle for comprehensive schools visits.

Other Visits

While the EAP expects most school visits to be announced and scheduled, it may be necessary to visit a school unannounced. An unannounced visit could occur if serious credible allegations are made about the school, its treatment of students, or its poor functioning. Student complaints could trigger an unannounced school visit, especially if the EAP receives numerous complaints or a pattern of serious complaints. Notification by the US Department of Education, the school's accreditor or another state agency about serious problems at a school could also result in an unannounced school visit

The following resources provide specific information about school visits.
School Visit Letter
Sample Agena
Sample Questions
School Visit Form
Effective School Elements