Getting State Approval in MA
Opening an educational institution in Massachusetts is a potentially rewarding venture, as the state is known for having the best education system in the country.
However, without the proper guidance, the process of getting state approval can be complicated. In this guide, we will outline the steps that need to be taken to apply for state authorization for opening an educational institution in Massachusetts.
Step 1: File a Determination Form with the DPL
- This form will identify if you have an exempt program.
- You must wait for a response from DPL to move forward.
Step 2: Contact OSA
- OSA will provide a form for an occupational school financial audit.
- The audit will take time to complete, you can move forward with other steps.
- OSA will inform you of the amount of Surety Bond needed to open.
Step 3: Create an ePLACE Account and complete the application
The application requires supporting documentation:
For each owner, please upload under CORI Authorization: An Ownership Form, with Notarized CORI Form, SORI Form, and signature page of Ethics Training. The Ethics Training is available on DPL’s website.
Please attach the applicable ownership documentation:
- Corporations must submit a copy of their Articles of Incorporation; and documentation of EIN or FEIN number. (Note: Corporations that are operating (not as schools) and now want to offer courses must amend their articles of organization with the Secretary of State’s Office. Please enclose a copy of the certified amendment.)
- LLCs must submit a copy of their Articles of Organization; and documentation of EIN or FEIN number.
- Partnerships must submit a notarized copy of their partnership agreement and Articles of Organization; and documentation of EIN or FEIN number.
- Individual owners must submit consent to do business from the city/town clerk.
- Franchises must submit an executed copy of their franchise agreement.
- A Business Certificate, or D/B/A Certificate, from the cities or towns in which the school intends to operate.
Facility Inspection Reports:
- The applicant must provide current building and fire inspection reports for each facility in which students enter. A current Certificate of Occupancy report that has been signed by both the local building and fire inspectors may be submitted in lieu of separate inspection reports.
Building Inspection Report:
- For each location, please upload a copy of the school’s current Certificate of Inspection, or use the Building Inspection Report Form available on DPL’s website. The report must include the Building Use Group in accordance with 780 CMR 304 or 305, the regulations for building codes. If the Use Group is not present on your inspection report, contact your local building inspector’s office for a determination of the Use Group. The Use Group code determines how often your facility must be inspected and will therefore inform DPL how often to require building inspections (e.g., annual, biennial) from you.
Fire Inspection Report:
- For each location, please upload a copy of the school’s current Certificate of Inspection, or use the Fire Inspection Report Form available on the DPL website.
- Please upload an Enrollment Agreement on school letterhead that complies with G.L. c. 255, §13K (please check the sample enrollment agreement on DPL’s website to be sure you are using the most up to date language). For a copy of the form, please visit DPL’s website.
School Closure Plan:
- Please complete and upload the School Closure Plan form found on DPL’s website.
Property Lease or Deed:
- If property is owned by the applicant, please upload a copy of the deed. If the property is being leased by the applicant, please upload a copy of the school's lease, signed by both the lessee(s) and the lessor(s), which also includes the lessor’s name, address, and telephone number.
- A copy of the proposed school’s floor plan indicating the approximate size and purpose of each room.
Board of Health Approval:
- If the applicant will be providing instruction in an allied health program that requires approval by the local board of health, the applicant must provide a copy of the approval to DPL. Oversight of programs such as phlebotomy and other allied health programs is at the discretion of the local board of health.
Proof of Adequate Liability Insurance
- On school letterhead, or marked within the school catalogue or student handbook, policies for the following:
- Entrance requirements pursuant to 230 CMR 15.05(1)(b);
- Attendance policies, including the consequences of not adhering to these policies;
- Grading policies, including the consequences of not maintaining the school’s minimum grade requirements;
- Satisfactory progress pursuant to 230 CMR 15.01(10);
- School rules and regulations, including the consequences of not adhering to these rules and regulations;
- Guidance and counseling policies;
- Job placement;
- School calendar (showing dates of courses, days off, days the school is not open, or any other breaks); and
- Student complaint resolution process pursuant to 230 CMR 15.07, including that the school must respond to students’ written complaints in writing within 10 days; and, students may contact the Office of Private Occupational School Education at any time.
Program or Course Catalogue:
- A copy of the school’s catalogue.
Program or Course Approval Form:
- For each program to be offered by the school, and/or each course individually advertised by the school, with all supporting documentation on the form.
Federal Student Aid Approval, if applicable:
- A copy of the approval letter.
Accreditations Approval(s), if applicable:
- A copy of the approval letter(s).
GI Bill Approval Letter, if applicable:
- A copy of the approval letter(s).
- Initial applicants must submit to DPL by first class mail the original surety document in the amount determined by the State Auditor. Initial applicants must also upload a copy of the surety and a copy of the State Auditor’s determination letter.
- For each instructor, please upload under CORI Authorization: An Instructor Certification Form, with Notarized CORI Form, SORI Form, and resume or Curriculum Vitae.
- For each staff person, please upload under CORI Authorization: A Staff Certification Form, with Notarized CORI Form, SORI Form, and signature page of Ethics Training (if the latter is required). The Ethics Training is available on DPL’s website.
Electronic Records Waiver, if applicable:
- A copy of the completed Electronic Records Waiver.
- CORI Notarized Form, if submitting instructors or staff.
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae, if submitting instructors or staff.
- Professional License Printout, if applicable for instructors.
All applicants are required to pay a non-refundable application fee. For-Profit Schools are required to pay a non-refundable, one-time application fee of $2,500.00. Non-Profit Schools are required to pay a non-refundable, one-time application fee of $1,250.00.
This fee can be paid online at the end of the online application process, either by check or credit card. Please note that a convenience fee will be assessed.
Step 4: Contact any other agencies that have oversight of the program
- Some programs have additional requirements, applications or approvals needed for operation.
Step 5: Site Visit
- This is the final step before the approval process.
- DPL will inspect the school.
- Once complete, DPL will evaluate all materials.
Step 6: Approval
- If approved DPL will issue a 2-year license.
- The school will need to renew the license every 2 years after.
Opening a college or university in Massachusetts is an exciting endeavour and requires diligent preparation and attention to detail.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your application meets the requirements of the state's regulations and will be approved by the Board of Higher Education.
If you need help at any point in the process, feel free to email me or call my team for a free consultation.