Postsecondary institutions are required to submit reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Reports must be submitted on English fluency of instructors, gifts, sexual violence awareness training, campus crime, graduation rates and program offerings.
Out-of-State Providers of Distance Education
Pennsylvania offers a voluntary registration process for out-of-state providers of distance education that enroll residents of Pennsylvania. This registration is offered to enable providers to demonstrate authority to offer programs via distance education to students in Pennsylvania.
There is a $5,000
Registration Fee for Out-of-State Distance Education Providers that are not
participating in The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).
Out-of-State Institution Seeking to Establish a Location in Pennsylvania
Out-of-state institutions or organizations must be authorized by the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education before conducting any education activity that awards academic or continuing education credit or charges a fee or tuition. Out-of-state institutions must have approval as an Education Enterprise before establishing a physical presence in Pennsylvania. (See 22. Pa. Code § 31.2 and § 36.1 - 8). The Fee for The
Application for Education Enterprise is $10,000.
institutions are required to renew their Education Enterprise authorization
every five years. The Education Enterprise Renewal Fee is $2,000.
Establishing a New Institution
Any institution offering programs for academic credit or a degree must be authorized by the Secretary of Education prior to operating in Pennsylvania. Please note that Pennsylvania does not have a religious exemption.
The Fee for
Establishing a New Institution is $5,000.
- Application for a new institution (Excel) Please contact the Division of Higher Education, Access, and Equity at 717.783.6786 prior to preparing an application for a new degree-granting institution.
Minimum Requirements for Authorization as a Degree-Granting Institution
'To be a degree-granting college, university or seminary, an institution must abide by 24 Pa. C.S.A. § 6502(b), which states:
"No institution shall be authorized to confer degrees in the arts, pure and applied science, philosophy, literature, law, medicine and theology, or any of them, unless it has:
(1) A minimum protective endowment of at least $500,000, beyond all indebtedness and assets invested in buildings and apparatus for the exclusive purpose of promoting instruction, except that, in the case of tax-supported institutions or those maintained by religious or other eleemosynary organizations, financial support or contributed services equivalent in value to the endowment herein specified may be substituted for such endowment.
(2) A faculty consisting of at least eight regular professors who devote all their time to the instruction of its higher education classes, unless the institution is devoted to a specific subject in the arts, archaeology, literature or science (medical and law schools excepted), in which case the faculty shall consist of at least three regular professors who devote all their time to the instruction in the special branch for which the institution is established, and two or more instructors or fellows in the particular branch, who shall be provided to assist in the instruction to be given the students for the promotion of original investigation and in the development and growth of the special branch of science to which such institution may be devoted."
The regulations relevant to this approval process are found in 22 Pa. Code Chapters 31, 36, 40 and 42.
Act 69 of 2012 established that accredited not-for-profit institutions that have operated in Pennsylvania for more than 10 years are not required to have the approval of the Secretary of Education to launch new programs. Institutions not exempted by Act 69 are required to obtain approval by the Secretary of Education to offer new degree programs. The regulations governing new degree program applications are 22 Pa. Code Chapter 42. Please note that institutions that are exempt from PDE approval of programs are still required to maintain compliance with the regulations regarding programs. The New Program or
Degree Application for Approval Fee for Institutions not exempted by Act 69 is
Use of the Words "College," "University" or "Seminary"
The words "college," "university," and "seminary" are restricted words in Pennsylvania. (See 24 Pa. C.S.A. § 6503.) Filing of corporate names and fictitious corporate names using these words requires approval. Contact the Division of Higher Education, Access, and Equity at 717.783.6786 to request approval. The Fee for an
Application for Approval to use the word “college,” “university,” or “seminary”
in a business name is $100.
Any change in status, such as from college to university or establishing a new college, university or seminary, requires approval and a separate certificate of authority. The Fee for an
Application to Change Status From College or Seminary to University is $1,000.
Contact the Division of Higher Education, Access, and Equity at 717.783.6786 for information on applying for University Status.