58th Legislature
2004 Regular Session

Passed by the House February 12, 2004
  Yeas 94   Nays 2

Speaker of the House of Representatives

Passed by the Senate March 11, 2004
  Yeas 49   Nays 0

President of the Senate

I, Richard Nafziger, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2381 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.

Chief Clerk

Governor of the State of Washington

Secretary of State
State of Washington



Passed Legislature - 2004 Regular Session
State of Washington58th Legislature2004 Regular Session

By House Committee on Higher Education (originally sponsored by Representatives Kenney, Cox, Fromhold, Chase, Miloscia, Morrell and Moeller)

READ FIRST TIME 02/06/04.   

     AN ACT Relating to degree-granting institutions of higher education; and amending RCW 28B.85.020 and 28B.85.040.


Sec. 1   RCW 28B.85.020 and 1996 c 305 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) The board:
     (a) Shall adopt by rule minimum standards for degree-granting institutions concerning granting of degrees, quality of education, unfair business practices, financial stability, and other necessary measures to protect citizens of this state against substandard, fraudulent, or deceptive practices. The rules may require that an institution be accredited or be making progress toward accreditation by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States department of education. The board shall adopt the rules in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW;
     (b) May investigate any entity the board reasonably believes to be subject to the jurisdiction of this chapter. In connection with the investigation, the board may administer oaths and affirmations, issue subpoenas and compel attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memorandums, or other records which the board deems relevant or material to the investigation. The board, including its staff and any other authorized persons, may conduct site inspections, the cost of which shall be borne by the institution, and examine records of all institutions subject to this chapter;
     (c) Shall develop an interagency agreement with the work force training and education coordinating board to regulate degree-granting private vocational schools with respect to degree and nondegree programs; and
     (d) Shall develop and disseminate information to the public about entities that sell or award degrees without requiring appropriate academic achievement at the postsecondary level, including but not limited to, a description of the substandard and potentially fraudulent practices of these entities, and advice about how the public can recognize and avoid the entities. To the extent feasible, the information shall include links to additional resources that may assist the public in identifying specific institutions offering substandard or fraudulent degree programs
     (2) Financial disclosures provided to the board by degree-granting private vocational schools are not subject to public disclosure under chapter 42.17 RCW.

Sec. 2   RCW 28B.85.040 and 1996 c 97 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
     (1) An institution or person shall not advertise, offer, sell, or award a degree or any other type of educational credential unless the student has enrolled in and successfully completed a prescribed program of study, as outlined in the institution's publications. This prohibition shall not apply to honorary credentials clearly designated as such on the front side of the diploma or certificate and awarded by institutions offering other educational credentials in compliance with state law.
     (2) No exemption granted under this chapter is permanent. The board shall periodically review exempted degree-granting institutions, and continue exemptions only if an institution meets the statutory requirements for exemption in effect on the date of the review.
Except as provided in subsection (1) of this section, this chapter shall not apply to:
     (a) Any public college, university, community college, technical college, or institute operating as part of the public higher educational system of this state;
     (b) Institutions that have been accredited by an accrediting association recognized by the agency for the purposes of this chapter: PROVIDED, That those institutions meet minimum exemption standards adopted by the agency; and PROVIDED FURTHER, That an institution, branch, extension, or facility operating within the state of Washington which is affiliated with an institution operating in another state must be a separately accredited member institution of any such accrediting association to qualify for this exemption;
     (c) Institutions of a religious character, but only as to those education programs devoted exclusively to religious or theological objectives if the programs are represented in an accurate manner in institutional catalogs and other official publications; ((or))
     (d) Honorary credentials clearly designated as such on the front side of the diploma or certificate awarded by institutions offering other educational credentials in compliance with state law; or
Institutions not otherwise exempt which offer only workshops or seminars ((lasting no longer than three calendar days and for which academic credit is not awarded)) and institutions offering only credit-bearing workshops or seminars lasting no longer than three calendar days.

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