State Approval in Washington

In order to operate a private degree-granting institution in Washington State, you must apply for authorization from the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC). The council ensures that all institutions meet the minimum state operating requirements.

Authorizations are program-specific as well as site-specific. They are determined by an institution’s financial stability, academic programs, accreditation status, and faculty and staff qualifications. Your institution will need authorization if it is:

  • Offering courses for credit or degree programs from a physical location in the state of Washington.
  • Advertising or recruiting in a way that targets residents of the state.
  • Maintaining a physical presence in the state of Washington.


Getting Started

Both new and existing institutions can apply for authorization in the state. New institutions are required to meet with the WSAC and provide numerous documents, such as student handbooks, institutional policies, course catalogs, budgets, marketing materials, and more. The initial steps to begin the process are as follows:

  1. A new institution must develop a detailed proposal that includes an administrative structure, degree and program definitions, outline of      proposed areas and level of study, delivery mode, and a proposed location.      
  2. Contact the WSAC to set up a meeting to discuss the application process, areas to be reviewed, and your proposal.
  3. Complete the application and submit it to WSAC. The council will then review your application and contact you with questions or for further clarification.

Time to Complete the Authorization

The Authorization process can be quite lengthy, and as such, you should begin as soon as possible. It often takes more than one month to prepare an application for submission. If your application contains incomplete or unclear information, you could face costly delays and have to push your start date.

In the state of Washington, you must contact the WSAC one year prior to the intended start of operations. As noted above, you will want to have your proposal ready to go when you reach out to WSAC.

Associated Costs

Along with your application, you are required to pay a fee of $2000, plus $1000 for each program. Your application must also provide a budget outlining proposed revenue and expenses for the first two years. It is highly recommended that you work with a Certified Public Accountant specializing in higher education to ensure your financial statements and budget are in order. For clients using our comprehensive setup services, this feature is included in the fee.

It is essential for you to put together the strongest application possible to ensure success. In our experience, an application package can run anywhere from 200 to 500 pages, and there are many regulations that you must understand. While you can undertake this process yourself, working with an experienced agency like ours is an excellent strategy.

Our team is here to successfully guide you through the Washington Student Achievement Council’s application process and provide consultation on continued compliance. Reach out today to learn more about how we help.

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