The State Board for Private Postsecondary Education was created by Laws 1970, Chapter 86. Current authority for the Board can be found in A.R.S. §§32-3001 et seq.
The Board is responsible for licensing and regulating private, postsecondary education institutions, both vocational and degree granting. The Board can retain personnel to carry out their duties, investigate complaints against license holders, compel attendance or testimony on matters within their jurisdiction, and take disciplinary action. The Board also administers the Student Tuition Recovery Fund.
The Board accepts various monies (federal, private grants, gifts) that remain in the Board for Private Postsecondary Education Fund and do not revert to the State General Fund at the end of the year.
The Board is made up of seven members appointed by the Governor to four year terms. Five of the Board members must be executives or managers from private educational institutions (2 vocational, one granting associate’s degrees, and two granting baccalaureate or higher degrees). The remaining Board members must be citizens of Arizona, occupied in commerce or industry for at least three years. Board members serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Board is required to meet at least four times a year.
Laws 1970, Chapter 86 created a State Board for Private Technical and Business Schools (originally found at A.R.S. §§ 15-931 et seq.), specifically exempting religious and other private academic schools from its control. This essentially meant what might be called trade, technical, or vocational schools would be under the purview of Board, but not more academically focused or college preparatory institutions. Other aspects of the original Board and its powers largely mirror the 2015 Board: a seven member board; licensure, subpoena, and investigatory powers; and the right to discipline institutions found to be in violation of the law. The measure also established a fund consisting of 90 percent of all fees collected to be used to defray Board expenses and prosecute violations of the law.
Laws 1981, Chapter 1 recodified A.R.S. Title 15 (the education code), which resulted in transferring and renumbering the Board statutes to Title 32 (professions and occupations). The recodification did not change the meaning or substance of the law.
Laws 1984, Chapter 146 made significant changes and created the modern incarnation of the Board by transferring powers, equipment, employees and monies from the State Board of Private Technical and Business Schools to its successor agency, the State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. In addition, the Board now had licensing and oversight authority for vocational schools, as well as private degree granting institutions.
Laws 1985, Chapter 338 required an annual report to be published, containing placement rates and salaries earned by students completing vocational programs during the prior fiscal year. Private vocational program licensees were required to provide specific information to the Center for Vocational Education in order to prepare the report. The first report was due by March 1, 1986. Note: The requirement for the Board to provide information was deleted by Laws 2000, Chapter 92.
Laws 1986, Chapter 164 modified the powers of the Board relating to investigations and disciplinary actions.
Laws 1987, Chapter 270 increased license fees and established a sliding fee scale based on annual gross tuition revenue that applied to renewals of a private vocational program license. Increases were subsequently enacted in 1991 and 1996. See Laws 1991, Chapter 89 and Laws 1996, Chapter 67.
Laws 1989, Chapter 195 and Laws 2005, Chapter 204 made changes to disciplinary actions and remedies available to the Board, significantly adding to the types of disciplinary action available to the Board. Laws 2005, Chapter 204 added a number of actions that could result in disciplinary action, including harming students or sexual misconduct.
The Student Tuition Recovery Fund was also created by Laws 1989, Chapter 195 and administered by the Board. A per-student assessment was authorized in order to provide a source of revenue for the Fund. The Fund was created to protect students against instances where an institution ceased operations before fulfilling contractual obligations or fully providing the services for which a student had prepaid their tuition. Institutions that are accredited regionally or by a specialized agency recognized by the United States Department of Education are exempt from the per-student assessment. This exemption tends to remove most academic institutions from consideration since regional accreditation is typically a baseline requirement for other institutions (i.e. a graduate school) to accept your credits. Students were able to apply for relief of their actual damages from the Fund.
Laws 1990, Chapter 361 expanded grounds for disciplinary action to include false or misleading advertisement, solicitation or recruitment practices.
Laws 1993, Chapter 195 increased the per-student assessment, used to provide revenue for the Student Tuition Recovery Fund, from a maximum of $4 to a maximum of $10 per student. The law also provided immunity to Board members and employees from personal liability with respect to Board-related actions taken in good faith.
Laws 2000, Chapter 92 was an omnibus bill which addressed licensing, fees, bonding, civil penalties, administration of and claims against the Student Tuition Recovery Fund.
Laws 2008, Chapter 211 exempted licensed nursing schools and licensed drivers’ education schools from Board licensing requirements. Laws 2011, Chapter 141 exempted training programs for managers and caregivers in assisted living facilities from Board licensing requirements.
Laws 2014, Chapter 213 allowed the Board to enter into intergovernmental agreements to manage reciprocity agreements with regard to private postsecondary distance education programs.
Laws 2016, Chapter 310 authorized certain private postsecondary institutions to appoint peace officers to aid and supplement state law enforcement agencies. The measure limited the officer’s jurisdiction to property under the control of the institution. Private postsecondary institution peace officers must meet qualifications established by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board.
Laws 2017, Chapter 203 modified the authority of private postsecondary peace officers by eliminating the limitation on jurisdiction established in 2016. The measure also allowed an officer to use county courts and jails to book persons arrested in the county where the institution is located or where the arrest occurs.
A second measure enacted in 2017 exempted from Board licensing requirements a private instructional program or course that is: 1) less than 40 hours in length and 2) costs less than $1,000. See Laws 2017, Chapter 206.
- Arizona Revised Statutes, §§32-3001 et seq.
- Session Laws
- Laws 1970, Chapter 86
- Laws 1981, Chapter 1
- Laws 1984, Chapter 146
- Laws 1985, Chapter 338
- Laws 1986, Chapter 164
- Laws 1987, chapter 270
- Laws 1989, Chapter 195
- Laws 1990, Chapter 361
- Laws 1991, Chapter 89
- Laws 1993, Chapter 195
- Laws 1996, Chapter 67
- Laws 2000, Chapter 92
- Laws 2005, Chapter 204
- Laws 2008, Chapter 211
- Laws 2011, Chapter 141
- Laws 2014, Chapter 213
- Laws 2016, Chapter 310
- Laws 2017, Chapter 203 and Chapter 206
Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education website
RELATED COLLECTIONS AT ARIZONA state ARCHIVES
Record Group 154 – Board for Private Postsecondary Education