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SB 802 – Revises And Recasts Provisions Of The California Private Postsecondary Education Act Of 2009
Senate Bill 802 (SB 802) revises and recasts certain provisions of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (Act), which provides for oversight and regulation by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (Bureau), a division of the Department of Consumer Affairs, of private entities with a physical presence in California that offer postsecondary education to the public for an institutional charge.
SB 802 broadens the definition of “postsecondary education” under the Act from a formal institutional educational program whose “curriculum” is designed primarily for students who completed or are beyond the age of secondary education, to a formal institutional educational program whose “instruction” is designed primarily for those students. SB 802 further revises the definition of “educational program” to exclude from the Act a course of 32 hours of instruction or less that is not designed to lead to employment.
The Act expressly excludes “continuing education” programs, educational programs for members of a bona fide trade, business, professional, or fraternal organization, and other types of instruction and programs as enumerated in the Act. SB 802 revises the definition of “continuing education” to include instruction that does not lead to a degree in subjects that licensees are required to take solely for the purpose of continued licensure, or to enhance their skills and knowledge within their particular profession, occupation, trade, or career field. SB 802 also clarifies that institutions cannot qualify for the bona fide trade, business, professional, or fraternal organization exemption by sponsoring their own educational programs directly or through an affiliated or corporate entity of the institution and that requires student membership for these educational programs.
The Act requires the Bureau to adopt by regulation minimum operating standards for institutions that are subject to the Act’s provisions, including a standard that requires accreditation for degree-granting institutions. SB 802 allows the Bureau to extend the accreditation deadlines under certain conditions.
The Act further requires a covered institution to obtain approval from the Bureau before making certain substantive changes to its operations. SB 802 expands the types of substantive changes that require the Bureau’s approval to include changes to an institution’s educational programs related to clock and credit hours or distance learning, and those relating to an institution’s participation in certain federal student aid programs.
The Act authorizes the Bureau to suspend, revoke, or place on probation an institution’s approval to operate for violations of the Act that result in actual student harm. SB 802 clarifies the Bureau’s authority to suspend an institution’s educational programs and to suspend, revoke, or place on probation an institution’s approval to operate.
SB 802 further extends the operation of the Act from January 1, 2022, by one year until January 1, 2023.
(SB 802 amends Sections 94827, 94837, 94857, 94874, 94880, 94885.1, 94885.5, 94889, 94894, 94937, and 94950 of the Education Code.)