INFORMATION ABOUT APPLYING FOR FIRST-TIME APPROVAL TO BE DESIGNATED AS AN ELIGIBLE INSTITUTION AND IF APPLICABLE, TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FEDERAL STUDENT FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS
Listed below are the minimum requirements that a postsecondary educational institution must meet in order to apply for eligibility. If the institution also wishes to participate in the Title IV programs, it must meet the financial responsibility standards and administrative capability requirements. We urge you to review the student financial assistance regulations regarding the requirements that must be satisfied before a school is approved to offer federal student aid. The applicable federal regulations are
34 CFR Parts 600 and
Minimum Eligibility Requirements
- The school must be authorized by the State in which it is located to provide an educational program that is beyond secondary education.
- The school must admit as regular students only persons who have a high school diploma or equivalent, or are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State where the school is located.
- The school must provide at least one eligible program that provides an Associate's degree or higher, or provides training to students for employment in a recognized occupation and is at least 300 clock hours and 10 weeks in program length.
The school must be accredited by an
accrediting agency recognized by the Secretary of Education to accredit schools to participate in the Federal student aid programs.
- Three types of schools are recognized:
- Private nonprofit - a school that has been granted a tax exemption by IRS under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
- Your school must have provided its eligible program for at least two years prior to applying if
- it is a proprietary school, or
- it is public or private nonprofit school that does not offer a program that is at least 900 clock hours and 30 weeks in length.
The school must be financially responsible. As part of the application process, the school must provide, for the two most recently completed full fiscal years, financial statements that are prepared according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and audited according to Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards.
The school must be administratively capable. This includes (but is not limited to) having:
- A capable individual responsible for administering all of the Title IV programs;
- A system of internal checks and balances for administering federal student financial aid;
- A division of functions of determining student awards and disbursing funds that result from those award decisions;
- Frequent, periodic reconciliation of fiscal office and financial aid office award data;
- System to identify and resolve discrepancies in information you receive from various sources about a student's application for financial aid;
- A satisfactory academic progress policy for recipients of federal student financial aid;
- Procedures to ensure that requests for federal cash do not exceed the amount of funds you need immediately to make aid disbursements to students;
- A policy for refunding tuition when a student withdraws from classes
- A process to ensure that you submit a required annual financial statement audit on time;
- A process to ensure that you submit a required annual compliance audit on time;
- A policy that you use the electronic processes;
- A process to notify the Department within 10 days of any important changes.
If you believe you qualify and want to apply for approval, you must provide us with certain basic information by answering a series of questions.
These questions are taken directly from the Application and are numbered the same way as they appear in the Application. Once you have completed answering these questions, you may email or fax them to your School Participation Division. (Please note that the information you provide in response to these questions will be entered into our database and will appear on the Application. This will keep you from having to answer the questions more than once.) We will then provide you with an OPEID number that will give you access to the electronic application so you can complete the rest of the Application via the Internet.
Click here to access the questions.
If you have any questions regarding initial eligibility, please contact the School Participation Division that serves your state. Click here to access the
School Participation Divisions' phone and fax numbers.
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