How To Get Approval For A Degree-Granting Institution In Texas

October 17, 2022
How To Get Approval For A Degree-Granting Institution In Texas
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If you're following along on this series of posts, you'll remember that I previously talked about the process involved in opening a vocational school in Texas. While there are some common areas, in this post, I'm going to go into a bit more depth into the process of opening a degree-granting institution in Texas.

As with most things related to the government, there's a lot of paperwork involved in this process which I'll break down for you below.

Step 1 - Texas Workforce Commission

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has a very detailed application that you will need to fill out. This application includes several key areas that need to be comprehensively addressed:

School Catalog

You will need to review the Guide to Catalog and Supplements (CSC-001X) as well as the Index to Catalog and Supplements (CSC001Y) to fill out this section of the application. These documents will help you understand what needs to be included in your school catalog as well as what the supplement requirements are. The index is a helpful tool that will direct you to the specific pages in the CSC-001X guide that address each required topic.

Enrollment Agreement

Review the Enrollment Agreement Checklist (CSC-190) to ensure that your enrollment agreement meets all of the requirements. The checklist will help you identify what needs to be included in your agreement, as well as any specific formatting requirements.

Representative Registration Application

For all individuals that are employed to recruit students, you'll need to prepare and provide a Representative Registration application (CSC-014). All representatives need to have the required training before they can begin recruiting students on your behalf. It's essential to include all required attachments with your application so that you can avoid any delays in processing.

Course of Instruction

For each program on offer, a New Course of Instruction Application (CSC-302COI) must be submitted.

Financial Statements

The TWC is interested in ensuring that any new degree-granting institution is financially stable and viable. You'll, therefore, need to provide audited financial statements as part of your application. These statements must have been prepared by an accountant registered with the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. When providing proof, use the format outline in CSC-016 as prescribed by the TWC.

Legal Incorporation

If you're not already incorporated, you'll need to do so before applying for degree-granting status in Texas. Once you've received your articles of incorporation, you'll need to provide copies to the TWC. These documents will include a copy of the Certificate of Formation, as well as any amendments made to the original Certificate. In addition to this information, you should also provide copies of any stock certificate issues or any other legal documents related to the organization's share structure.

Facility and Equipment Information

The TWC will also need to know about the facilities and equipment that the degree-granting institution will use. This includes a description of the property, as well as the building's square footage and capacity. In addition, you'll need to provide information on any specialized equipment that will be used for instruction or research purposes. To provide this information, you'll need to use the Facility and Equipment documents contained in CSC-004. This form will also advise the TWC when your school will be ready for an on-site inspection which is mandatory before a school is approved.

Once you have all of the required documentation, you'll need to submit them to the TWC along with the completed Fee sheet (CSC-186) and appropriate payment. The payment is non-refundable and needs to be paid directly to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Step 2 - Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

The next step in the process is working with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). However, it's important to note that before you start the ball rolling with the THECB, you must have approval from the TWC.

The process is admittedly long and complicated, but we'll give you all the steps and advice you need to get through it. Here are the key areas that need to be covered:

  • Purpose and Mission - information about your proposed institution, including its name, location, and mission statement.
  • Incorporation Status - information about your institution's incorporation status, specifics about owners, and details of any bylaws.
  • Point of contact - the name, title, and contact information of a key administrator at your institution that can act as the single point of contact.
  • TWC status - information about your institution's status with the TWC, including any registration numbers.
  • Other Agencies - details about your compliance with any other governing entities and agencies as required by Texas laws.
  • Degree programs - detailed information about each degree program that you wish to offer, including the program's name, length of study, and course of study. Information about the number of credits each program offers and details on diplomas and transcripts should be shared. Details should be provided on expected learning outcomes and how these will be measured.
  • Faculty - information about your institution's faculty, including their qualifications and experience. This includes details of your CEO, CAO, and any other key members of staff.
  • Governing Board - information about your institution's governing board, including a list of board members and their contact information.
  • Student services - you'll need to provide information about the student services that your institution will offer, such as tutoring, career counseling, and health services. In addition, you should provide information about any learning resources that will be available to students, such as libraries and computer labs. These learning resources need to be relevant to the programs offered at your institution.
  • Facilities - information about your institution's facilities, including classrooms, laboratories, and administrative offices. In addition, details about student housing need to be included, if applicable.
  • Financial plan - you'll need to create a financial plan for your institution, detailing how it will be funded and how it will manage its finances. This plan should include the results of any independent audits and disclose details of financial reserves. You should also include a projected three-year budget that needs enrollment information and any additional income or expenses.
  • Admissions Policy - you'll need to detail your admissions policy, including any special requirements for admission.
  • Student Records - you'll need to detail how your institution plans to keep track of student records, both academic and financial.
  • Student Handbook, Rights, and Responsibilities - information about the student activities offered at your institution, including clubs, organizations, and athletics. The handbook should detail any counseling or advisory services available, as well as provide information and guidance on discipline and grievance.
  • Health and Safety - you'll need to detail your institution's policies and procedures for ensuring the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff. This should include emergency preparedness, fire safety, and crime prevention information.

Closing Thoughts

While this list might seem intimidating, remember that you don't have to do it all at once. The key is to start early and work steadily towards your goal. As you gather more information and put together your plans, the process will become easier and less daunting. And, once you're approved, you'll be able to offer degrees to help your students succeed in their career goals.

Of course, you also don't have to do it by yourself - we're here to help and assist and can guide you through the process. Please call me or drop me an email if you need help to open your university in the USA, and me and my team will be happy to help you get started.

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