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Sec. 14.45.100. Exemption.

A religious or other private school that complies with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 is exempt from other provisions of law and regulations relating to education except law and regulations relating to physical health, fire safety, sanitation, immunization, and physical examinations.

Sec. 14.45.110. Requirements of exempt schools.

(a) The parent or guardian of a child of compulsory school age enrolled in a religious or other private school that complies with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 shall file an annual notice of enrollment in the school for the child with the local public school superintendent for the area in which the child resides on a form provided by the department. The form shall be signed by the parent or guardian and the chief administrative officer of the school and returned to the local public school superintendent by the parent or guardian. The school shall notify the local public school superintendent within a reasonable time if the child is no longer enrolled in or attending the school.

(b) A religious or other private school that elects to comply with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 shall maintain monthly attendance records for each student enrolled in the school, shall operate on a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least 180 days of the year, shall make an annual report to the commissioner of the number of students in each grade and the school calendar, and shall comply with the provisions concerning missing children under AS 14.30.700 - 14.30.720.

Sec. 14.45.120. Standardized testing requirements.

(a) A religious or other private school that elects to comply with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 shall administer a nationally standardized test selected by the chief administrative officer of the school to all students enrolled in grades four, six, and eight at least once each school year.

(b) The nationally standardized test must measure achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics.

(c) A religious or other private school that elects to comply with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 shall maintain records of the results of the nationally standardized tests and the records shall be made available to the parent or guardian of the student. Each school shall make composite test results for the school available annually to an authorized representative of the department. The composite test results of a religious or other private school operated in compliance with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 are not public information unless each public school

(1) is also required to administer a nationally standardized test that measures achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics; and

(2) the composite test results for each public school are public information.

Sec. 14.45.130. Records.

(a) A religious or other private school that elects to comply with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 shall maintain permanent student records reflecting immunizations, physical examinations, standardized testing, academic achievement, and courses taken at the school.

(b) The chief administrative officer of a school that elects to comply with AS 14.45.100 - 14.45.130 shall certify to the department, under oath or by affirmation, that the records required under (a) of this section are being maintained.

Article 03. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sec. 14.45.190. School lockers.

A private school may search school lockers and other containers as provided in AS 14.03.105 .

Sec. 14.45.200. Definitions.

In this chapter,

(1) "private school" means a school that does not receive direct state or federal funding;

(2) "religious school" means a private school operated by a church or other religious organization that does not receive direct state or federal funding.

Chapter 14.47. REGULATION OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

[Repealed, Sec. 5 ch 25 SLA 1976].

Chapter 14.48. REGULATION OF POSTSECONDARY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

Sec. 14.48.010. Purposes.

(a) It is the purpose of this chapter to provide for the protection, education, and welfare of the citizens of the state, its postsecondary educational institutions, and its students, by

(1) establishing minimum standards concerning quality of education, ethical and business practices, health and safety, and fiscal responsibility, to protect against substandard, transient, unethical, deceptive, or fraudulent institutions and practices;

(2) prohibiting the granting of false or misleading educational credentials;

(3) regulating the use of academic terminology in designating educational institutions;

(4) prohibiting misleading literature, advertising, solicitation, or representation by educational institutions or their agents;

(5) providing for the preservation of essential academic records; and

(6) providing certain rights and remedies to the public and the commission necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

(b) This chapter may not be construed to preclude the development of innovative, alternative postsecondary educational delivery systems or programs if their purposes and their administration, operation, or management are in the public interest and do not conflict with those purposes set out in (a) of this section.

Sec. 14.48.020. Authorization and permits required.

A person may not

(1) operate a postsecondary educational institution in the state unless the institution has a valid authorization to operate issued under this chapter or is exempt from the provisions of this chapter;

(2) offer itself or through an agent enrollment or instruction in, or the granting of educational credentials from, a postsecondary educational institution, whether the institution is in or outside the state, unless the agent is a natural person and has a currently valid agent's permit issued under this chapter or is exempt from the provisions of this chapter;

(3) accept contracts or enrollment applications of prospective students from an agent who does not have a current permit as required by this chapter; however, the commission may adopt regulations to permit the rendering of legitimate public information services without the permit;

(4) instruct or educate, or offer to instruct or educate, enroll or offer to enroll, contract or offer to contract or award an educational credential, or contract with an institution or person to do so, in or outside the state, unless that person is in compliance with the minimum standards set out in AS 14.48.060 , the criteria established by the commission under AS 14.48.050 (1), and the regulations adopted by the commission under AS 14.48.050 (7);

(5) use the term "university" or "college" without authorization to do so from the commission;

(6) grant, or offer to grant, educational credentials, without authorization to do so from the commission.

Sec. 14.48.030. Exemptions.

(a) The following educational programs, and institutions providing only the following educational programs, are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

(1) instruction provided at a level from preschool through grade 12, including preparation for general equivalency diploma examinations;

(2) a program operated by the United States;

(3) a program that does not offer educational credentials and is provided only to prepare individuals to take graduate examinations; and

(4) a program that does not offer educational credentials and is only avocational or recreational in nature.

(b) Except as provided under AS 14.48.165 , the commission may exempt the following educational programs, and educational institutions only providing programs exempt under (a) of this section and this subsection, from some or all of the provisions of this chapter:

(1) a program operated by a state or a political subdivision of a state;

(2) instruction sponsored by a bona fide trade, business, labor, professional, or fraternal association or organization, recognized by the commission, and conducted only for that association's or organization's membership;

(3) nonprofit postsecondary educational institutions offering undergraduate or graduate educational programs, from a facility in this state, that are acceptable for credit toward an associate, bachelor's, or graduate degree;

(4) a program that is provided without a fee, other than the actual cost of materials, to students;

(5) a program that does not offer education credentials;

(6) a short course of study that is not more than 10 days or 80 hours in duration;

(7) a program offered within the state by an out-of-state institution that is authorized to operate by the state in which it is located and is nationally or regionally accredited;

(8) a program or institution that is regulated by another agency or political subdivision of the state regarding the quality of course contents, facilities, and operation.

(c) In this section, "nonprofit" means an organization that is exempt under 26 U.S.C. 501(c)(3).

Sec. 14.48.040. Commission to administer chapter.

The Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education shall administer this chapter and may hire necessary personnel. The commission may obtain from departments, commissions, and other state agencies information and assistance needed to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

Sec. 14.48.050. Powers and duties of commission.

The commission shall

(1) establish minimum criteria consistent with AS 14.48.060 including quality of education, ethical and business practices, health and safety, and fiscal responsibility that applicants for authorization to operate, or for an agent's permit, must meet before the authorization or permit is issued;

(2) receive, investigate, and act upon applications for authorization to operate postsecondary educational institutions and applications for agent's permits;

(3) maintain a list of postsecondary educational institutions and agents authorized to operate in the state under this chapter;

(4) keep current and make available as public information the list of institutions and agents;

(5) enter into interstate reciprocity agreements with similar agencies in other states, if in the judgment of the commission the agreements will be helpful in carrying out the purposes of this chapter;

(6) receive and maintain as a permanent file, copies of academic records maintained in accordance with AS 14.48.060 (b)(6);

(7) adopt regulations and procedures necessary or appropriate for the conduct of its work and the implementation of this chapter under AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act);

(8) investigate on its own initiative or in response to a complaint lodged with it, persons subject to, or reasonably believed by the commission to be subject to, the jurisdiction of this chapter; and in connection with the investigation subpoena persons, books, records, or documents related to the investigation; require answers in writing under oath to questions propounded by the commission and administer oaths or affirmations to persons in connection with the investigation; and, for the purpose of examination at all reasonable times, shall have access to, and the right to copy, documentary evidence of a corporation that is under investigation or being proceeded against;

(9) exercise other necessary powers and duties in conformity with the provisions of this chapter that, in the judgment of the commission, are necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

Sec. 14.48.060. Minimum standards.

(a) In establishing the criteria required by AS 14.48.050 (1), the commission shall require compliance with the minimum standards set out in (b) of this section.

(b) A postsecondary educational institution must be maintained and operated, or, in the case of a new institution must demonstrate that it can be maintained and operated so that

(1) the quality and content of each course or program of instruction, training, or study are such as may reasonably and adequately achieve the stated objective for which the course or program is offered;

(2) the institution has or has access to adequate space, equipment, instructional materials, and personnel where applicable to achieve the stated objective of the course or program of study and to provide education of good quality;

(3) the education or experience qualifications of directors, administrators, supervisors, and instructors are such as may reasonably ensure that the students will receive education consistent with the objectives of the course or program of study;

(4) the institution provides a catalog or brochure containing information describing the programs offered, program objectives, length of program, schedule of tuition, fees, and all other charges and expenses necessary for completion of the course of study, cancellation and refund policies, and other material facts concerning the institution and the program or course of instruction that are reasonably likely to affect the decision of the student to enroll, together with any other disclosures specified by the commission by regulation; and that this information is provided to prospective students before enrollment;

(5) upon satisfactory completion of training, the student is given appropriate educational credentials by the institution, indicating that the course of instruction or study has been satisfactorily completed by the student;

(6) adequate records are maintained by the institution to show attendance, progress, or grades, and that satisfactory standards are enforced relating to attendance, progress, and performance;

(7) the institution is maintained and operated in compliance with all pertinent ordinances and laws relating to the safety and health of persons upon the premises of the institution;

(8) the institution is financially sound and capable of fulfilling its commitments to students;

(9) neither the institution nor its agents engage in advertising, sales, collection, credit, or other practices which are false, deceptive, misleading, or unfair;

(10) the chief executive officer, trustees, directors, owners, administrators, supervisors, staff, and instructors of the institution are of good reputation and character and have not been convicted of a violation of AS 14.48.020 or 14.48.150 or AS 45.50.471 - 45.50.561 or a comparable law in another state or province;

(11) the student housing owned, maintained, or approved by the institution is appropriate, safe, and adequate;

(12) the institution has a fair and equitable cancellation and refund policy; and

(13) the charges set by the institution for tuition, fees, books, and supplies are fair and equitable.

(c) Accreditation by national or regional accrediting agencies recognized by the commission may be accepted by the commission as evidence of compliance with the minimum standards established by this section and the criteria established under AS 14.48.050 (1). However, the commission may require further evidence and make further investigation as may be necessary. Accreditation by a recognized, specialized accrediting agency may be accepted as evidence of compliance only as to the portion or program of an institution accredited by the accrediting agency if the institution as a whole is not accredited.

Sec. 14.48.070. Authorization to operate.

(a) Each postsecondary educational institution desiring to operate in this state shall apply to the commission, upon forms provided by the commission. The application shall be accompanied by a catalog or brochure published, or proposed to be published by the institution, containing the information specified in AS 14.48.060(b)(4). The application shall also be accompanied by evidence of a surety bond or other deposit as required by AS 14.48.100 , and by the required fees.

(b) Following review of the application and after necessary investigation of the applicant the commission shall either grant or deny authorization to operate to the applicant. A grant of authorization to operate may be on those terms and conditions the commission may prescribe.

(c) The authorization to operate must be in a form approved by the commission and must include

(1) the date of issuance, effective date, and term of approval;

(2) the name and address of the institution;

(3) the authority for approval;

(4) any condition or limitation of the authorization, as considered necessary by the commission.

(d) The term for which an initial authorization is given may not exceed two years, and may be issued for a lesser period of time. A subsequent authorization may be issued for a period up to five years.

(e) The authorization to operate shall be issued to the owner, or governing body, of the applicant institution, and shall be nontransferable. In the event of a change in ownership or management of the institution, a new owner or manager, or governing body, must, within 30 days after the change in ownership is effective, apply for a new authorization to operate, and if the new application is not made the institution's authorization to operate shall terminate. Application for a new authorization to operate by reason of change in ownership of the institution is considered an application for renewal under (f) of this section.

(f) At least 60 days before the expiration of an authorization to operate, the institution shall complete and file with the commission an application form for renewal of its authorization to operate. The renewal application shall be reviewed and acted upon as provided for an original application.

(g) An institution not yet in operation when its application for authorization to operate is filed may not begin operation until receipt of authorization. An institution in operation when its application for authorization to operate is filed may continue operation until its application is acted upon by the commission. The commission may issue provisional authorization to operate, containing limitations as to time, procedures, functions, or other conditions as the commission considers necessary.

Sec. 14.48.080. Agent's permit.

(a) A person desiring to solicit or perform the services of an agent, in this state, shall apply to the commission upon forms provided by the commission. The application shall be accompanied by evidence of the good reputation and character of the applicant and must state the institution that the applicant intends to represent. An agent representing more than one institution must obtain a separate agent's permit for each institution represented. However, when an agent represents institutions having a common ownership, only one agent's permit is required. If an institution that the applicant intends to represent does not have authorization to operate in this state, the application shall be accompanied by the information required of institutions making application for authorization. The application for an agent's permit shall also be accompanied by evidence of a surety bond or other deposit as required by AS 14.48.100 , and by payment of the required fees.

(b) An applicant for an agent's permit shall be an individual of good reputation and character and shall represent only a postsecondary educational institution or institutions that meet the minimum standards established in AS 14.48.060 and the criteria established under AS 14.48.050(1).

(c) Following review of the application and any further information submitted by the applicant, and investigation of the applicant as the commission considers necessary, the commission shall either grant or deny an agent's permit to the applicant.

(d) The agent's permit must be in a form approved by the commission and must include

(1) the date of issuance, effective date, and term;

(2) the correct name and address of the agent;

(3) the institution or institutions that the agent is authorized to represent.

(e) The term for which an agent's permit is issued may not extend for more than two years, and may be issued for a lesser period of time.

(f) At least 60 days before the expiration of an agent's permit, the agent shall complete and file with the commission an application form for renewal. The renewal application shall be reviewed and acted upon as provided for an original application.

Sec. 14.48.090. Fees.

The commission shall adopt regulations that establish the amount and manner of payment of fees for applications, authorizations, permits, and renewals under this chapter.

Sec. 14.48.100. Bonds.

(a) At the time application is made for authorization to operate, or for renewal of an authorization to operate the commission may require the postsecondary educational institution to file a surety bond in the amount determined by the commission. The amount shall be determined by the number of students the institution seeks to enroll. The amount of the surety bond shall be reexamined by the commission upon each renewal of the authorization to operate to determine if a larger or smaller bond would be appropriate to ensure adequate protection for the students or enrollees, or their parents or guardians, or classes thereof. The bond shall be executed by the applicant as principal and by a surety company qualified and authorized to do business in this state and shall be conditioned to provide indemnification to any student or enrollee, or the student's or enrollee's parent or guardian, or class thereof, determined to have suffered loss or damage as a result of an act or practice which is a violation of this chapter by the postsecondary educational institution and that the bonding company shall pay a final nonappealable order of the commission or judgment of a court of this state having jurisdiction, upon receipt of written notification of the order or judgment. The aggregate liability of the surety for the bond of the institution or agent involved in the order or judgment may not, in any event, exceed the amount of the bond.

(b) An application for an agent's permit shall be accompanied by a surety bond in the amount determined by the commission to be necessary for the protection of the students or enrollees, or their parents or guardians, or classes of these, or to reflect an institution's volume of business in the state. The bond shall be executed by the applicant as principal and by a surety company qualified and authorized to do business in this state. The bond shall be conditioned to provide indemnification to any student or enrollee or the student's or enrollee's parents or guardian, or class of these, determined to have suffered loss or damage as a result of an act or practice which is a violation of this chapter by the agent.

(c) The surety bond to be filed under this section shall cover the period of the authorization to operate or the agent's permit, as appropriate, except when a surety is released as provided in this subsection. A surety on a bond filed under this section may be released from that bond after the surety serves written notice of the release to the commission and to the bonded agent or institution 45 days before the release. However, the release does not discharge or otherwise affect a claim filed by a student or enrollee, or a parent or guardian, or class thereof, before or after the release for loss or damage resulting from an act or practice which is a violation of this chapter alleged to have occurred while the bond was in effect or for an institution's ceasing operations during the term for which tuition has been paid while the bond was in force.

(d) Authorization for an institution to operate and an agent's permit shall be suspended by operation of law when the institution or agent is no longer covered by a surety bond as required by this section. However, the commission shall give the institution or agent, or both, at least 30 days written notice before the release of the surety, to the effect that the authorization or permit shall be suspended by operation of law until another surety bond is filed in the same manner as, and in a like amount to, the bond being terminated.

(e) In lieu of the surety bond required in (a) and (b) of this section, the applicant may file with the commission a cash deposit or other negotiable security, acceptable to the commission, in the amount specified for bonds.

Sec. 14.48.110. Denial.

If the commission, upon review of an application for authorization to operate, or an application for an agent's permit determines that the application should be denied, the commission shall notify the applicant, setting out the reasons in writing. AS 44.62 (Administrative Procedure Act) governs the review of a denial under this section.

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