WSR 07-24-064




[ Filed December 4, 2007, 9:48 a.m. ]

Continuance of WSR 07-19-037.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 07-15-079.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Chapter 490-105 WAC, Private vocational schools.

Hearing Location(s): Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (WTECB), 128 10th Avenue S.W., 6th Floor, Olympia, WA 98502, on January 8, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: January 31, 2008.

Submit Written Comments to: Peggy Rudolph, WTECB, P.O. Box 43105, Olympia, WA 98504-3105, e-mail, fax (360) 586-5862, by January 9, 2008.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Peggy Rudolph by January 5, 2008, at (360) 586-8682 or

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: Adopt new rules and/or revise existing rules that set standards for private vocational schools. The subjects under consideration are: (1) Financial responsibility, (2) tuition refund deadlines, (3) applicants' ability to benefit, (4) "at risk" schools, and (5) faculty qualifications.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: This rule making is in response to the legislature's adoption of SB 5402 which increased the agency's oversight of private vocational schools. These rules will enhance the agency's oversight of schools and give it additional tools to deal with schools that are in distress.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 28C.10.040.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: WTECB, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Peggy Rudolph, 128th 10th Avenue S.W., Olympia, WA 98501, (360) 586-8682.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rule changes will impose no more than minor costs to private vocational schools.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. The proposed rule changes will impose no more than minor costs to the WTECB.

December 4, 2007

Peggy Rudolph

Program Manager


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-030   How are words and phrases used in these rules?   (1) The following clarifies the statutory exemptions under RCW 28C.10.030:

(a) "Avocational" or "recreational" means instruction that is primarily intended for leisure; it is not offered to provide a student with employable skills or competencies. Instruction offered as a prerequisite for a vocational program does not qualify for this exemption.

(b) "Entities not otherwise exempt offering only workshops or seminars lasting no longer than three calendar days" means instruction that can be completed within three eight-hour days. A vocational education program divided into a series of supplementary seminars does not qualify for this exemption.

(c) "Programs of continuing professional education" include:

(i) Review programs offered solely as preparation for tests leading to certification in specific disciplines but not offered to provide occupational competencies. For example, this exemption applies to test preparation programs that lead to: Certification by a state board of accountancy (CPA); certification by the institute of certified management accounting (CMA); admission to practice before a state bar; certification in health occupations initiated by the American Medical Association, American Dental Association, and their respective professional auxiliaries; and, acquisition of other public certificates of convenience and necessity; ((and))

(ii) Programs offered to conform with rules adopted by state agencies that require practitioners to undergo continuing professional education as a condition to renewing certification or licensure.

(2) The term "revoke" as used in RCW 28C.10.050(3) means an agency action that terminates a school's license. The agency's executive director or designee may revoke a school's license for just cause.

(3) The term "suspend" as used in RCW 28C.10.050(3) means an action by which the agency interrupts the school's authority to make offers of training. The agency's executive director or designee may suspend a school's license for just cause. An order of suspension prohibits the school from beginning instruction of new students for a maximum of thirty days. The school may remain in operation to continue training students in regular attendance on the date the suspension takes effect.

(4) The term "private vocational school" is further defined to include instruction at the postsecondary level that is intended for use by individuals who have either completed high school or are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance. Instruction or training offered to pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school students is not encompassed by the act.

(5) "At-risk" means the school demonstrates a pattern or history of one or more of the following conditions that the agency determines raise doubts for the continued successful and profitable operation of the organization:

(a) Failure to meet the standards of financial responsibility;

(b) Misrepresentation;

(c) A decrease in enrollment from the previous reporting period of fifty percent or more or twenty-five students, whichever is greater;

(d) Frequent substantiated complaints filed with the agency;

(e) Staff turnover from the previous year of fifty percent or more or three staff, whichever is greater; and

(f) Conditions listed in (c) and (e) of this subsection, caused by unusual circumstances, shall be evaluated by the agency and exceptions may be grated.

(6) "Distance education" means education provided by written correspondence or any electronic medium for students who are enrolled in a private vocational school in pursuit of an identified occupational objective, but are not attending classes at an approved site or training establishment.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-030, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-21-037, filed 10/12/00, effective 11/12/00)

WAC 490-105-040   What does it take to obtain a private vocational school license?   (See RCW 28C.10.050 and 28C.10.060.) An entity that wishes to operate a private vocational school must apply for a license on forms provided by the agency. If the agency determines an application is deficient, the applicant will be so notified. The applicant must correct the deficiencies within thirty days of notification. If that fails to occur, the application will be returned to the applicant. The license application fee will not be refunded. The agency's executive director or designee may deny a license application for just cause.

The application must include the following information attested to by the school's chief administrative officer:

(1) An identification of owners, shareholders, and directors.

(a) The complete legal name, current telephone number, and current mailing address of the owner;

(b) The form of ownership; e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, or corporation;

(c) Names, addresses, phone numbers, birth dates, and prior school affiliations if any, of all individuals with ten percent or more ownership interest;

(d) A school that is a corporation or a subsidiary of another corporation must submit:

(i) Current evidence that the corporation is registered with the Washington secretary of state's office; and

(ii) The name, address and telephone number of the corporation's registered agent;

(e) "Ownership" of a school means:

(i) In the case of a school owned by an individual, that individual;

(ii) In the case of a school owned by a partnership, all full, silent and limited partners having a ten percent or more ownership interest;

(iii) In the case of a school owned by a corporation, the corporation, each corporate director, officer, and each shareholder owning shares of issued and outstanding stock aggregating at least ten percent of the total of the issued and outstanding shares;

(f) Schools under common ownership may designate a single location as the principal facility for recordkeeping via written notice to the agency.

(2) Financial statement.

(a) The school must submit information reflecting its financial condition at the close of its most recent fiscal year to demonstrate that it has sufficient financial resources to fulfill its commitments to students.

((The)) (i) Each nonaccredited school must submit a financial statement ((must be completed)) in a format supplied by the agency.

(ii) Each accredited school must submit a reviewed or audited financial statement, whichever is required by its accrediting body.

(b) If inadequate time exists to produce a financial statement in the interval between the ending date of the school's fiscal year and the due date of an application, the agency will adjust the school's license period to provide a reasonable interval.

(c) New schools must submit a proposed operating budget for the initial twelve months of operation rather than the financial statement described in (a) of this subsection. The proposed operating budget must be completed in a format supplied by the agency.

(d) New schools that have operated another business for at least one year, must submit, in addition to the proposed operating budget described in (c) of this subsection, a financial statement for that business. The financial statement must cover the existing business' most recently completed fiscal year and be prepared by a certified public accountant or be certified by the business' chief administrative officer.

(e) Owners of multiple schools may file financial information that consists of a single, consolidated financial statement and balance sheet for the corporation. The consolidated financial statement must be accompanied by data that documents total tuition earnings for each separate school under the corporation's ownership at the close of its most recent fiscal year. If historical data is not available, the data must project total tuition earnings for the school in its first or next completed twelve months of operation.

(3) Financial references.

(a) The school must furnish the names of at least one bank or other financial institution and two other entities that the agency may consult as financial references.

(b) A statement must be included authorizing the agency to obtain financial information from the references.

(4) A school must demonstrate to the agency that it is financially viable under the requirements established by this section.

(a) The agency considers a school to be financially viable only if it:

(i) Is able to provide the services described in its official publications and statements;

(ii) Is able to provide the administrative resources necessary to comply with the requirements of this subsection;

(iii) Is able to meet all of its financial obligations, including, but not limited to refunds that it is required to make;

(iv) Demonstrates at the end of its latest fiscal year, a ratio of current assets to current liabilities of at least 1:1;

(v) Had, for its latest fiscal year, a positive net worth. For the purposes of this subsection, a positive net worth occurs when the school's assets exceed its liabilities;

(vi) Has not had operating losses over both of its two latest fiscal years. In applying this standard, the agency may consider the effect of unusual events;

(vii) Has not had, for its latest fiscal year, an operating deficit exceeding ten percent of the institution's net worth. For purposes of this subsection, an operating deficit occurs when operating expenses exceed revenues from current business activities.

(b) A school that is not financially viable may be considered "at-risk" and be required to follow the procedures cited in WAC 490-105-175.

(5) A copy of the school's catalog. (See RCW 28C.10.050 (1)(c).) The school must publish a catalog or brochure that explains its operations and requirements. The catalog must be current, comprehensive, and accurate. The school must disclose the following in some combination of a catalog, brochure or other written material and furnish a copy of each to every prospective student prior to completing an enrollment agreement:

(a) Date of publication;

(b) Names of owners having a ten percent or more equity ownership and officers, including any governing boards, and the name and address of its parent corporation, if a subsidiary;

(c) Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the school's administrative offices and all auxiliary facilities;

(d) Names and qualifications of faculty. The list must be accurate as of the date of catalog publication. Any changes of faculty must be noted on a catalog errata sheet;

(e) The school calendar, including hours of operation, holidays, enrollment periods, and the beginning and ending dates of terms, courses, or programs as may be appropriate;

(f) Admission procedures including policies describing all prerequisites needed by entering students to:

(i) Successfully complete the programs of study in which they are interested; and

(ii) Qualify for the fields of employment for which their education is designed;

(g) A description of the job placement assistance offered, if any. If no assistance is offered, the school must make that fact known;

(h) The school's policy regarding student conduct, including causes for dismissal and conditions for readmission;

(i) The school's policy regarding leave, absences, class cuts, makeup work, tardiness, and interruptions for unsatisfactory attendance;

(j) The school's policy regarding standards of progress required of the student. This policy must define the grading system, the minimum grades considered satisfactory, conditions for interruption for unsatisfactory progress, a description of the probationary period, if any, allowed by the school, conditions for reentrance for those students dismissed for unsatisfactory progress; and information that a statement will be furnished to the student regarding satisfactory or unsatisfactory progress;

(k) An accurate description of the school's facilities and equipment available for student use, the maximum or usual class size and the average student/teacher ratio;

(l) The total cost of training including registration fee, if any, tuition, books, supplies, equipment, laboratory usage, special clothing, student activities, insurance and all other charges and expenses necessary for completion of the program;

(m) A description of each program of instruction, including:

(i) Specific program objectives including the job titles for which the program purports to train;

(ii) The number of clock or credit hours of instruction, the method of instruction (e.g., correspondence, classroom, lab, computer assisted), and the average length of time required for successful completion;

(iii) If instruction is calculated in credit hours, the catalog must contain at least one prominent statement describing the contact hour conversion formula applied by the school; i.e., the number of contact hours applicable to each quarter or semester credit hour of lecture, laboratory/practicum, and/or internship/externship;

(iv) For ((the purpose of home study)) distance education schools, instructional sequences must be described in numbers of lessons((. "Home study school" means the instructional format of the school involves the sequential distribution of lessons to the student, who studies the material, completes an examination, and returns the examination to the school. The school then grades the examination (and, in some instances, provides additional comments and instruction), and returns the graded examination to the student along with the next set of instructional materials));

(n) The scope and sequence of courses or programs required to achieve the educational objective;

(o) A statement indicating the type of educational credential that is awarded upon successful completion;

(p) The school's cancellation and refund policy;

(q) The following statement must appear prominently on either the first or last printed page or inside the front or back cover: THIS SCHOOL IS LICENSED UNDER CHAPTER 28C.10 RCW; INQUIRIES OR COMPLAINTS REGARDING THIS OR ANY OTHER PRIVATE VOCATIONAL SCHOOL MAY BE MADE TO THE: WORKFORCE TRAINING AND EDUCATION COORDINATING BOARD, 128 TENTH AVENUE S.W., P.O. BOX 43105, OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON 98504-3105 (360/753-5673);

(r) The availability of financial aid, if any;

(s) Supplements or errata sheets for the catalog and other written materials related to enrollment must be filed with the agency prior to being used (see RCW 28C.10.110(2)):

(i) Supplements or errata sheets must be made an integral part of that publication;

(ii) The supplement or errata sheet must include its publication date;

(iii) In the event information on a supplement or errata sheet supplants information contained in the catalog, the insert must identify the information it replaces, including at the least an appropriate page reference.

(((5))) (6) A copy of the school's enrollment agreement/contract. (See RCW 28C.10.050 (1)(d).) An enrollment agreement is any agreement that creates a binding obligation to purchase a course of instruction from a school. Each school must use an enrollment contract or agreement that includes:

(a) The school's cancellation and refund policy, in accordance with these rules, displayed in a type size no smaller than that used to meet any other requirements of this section;


(c) Information that will clearly and completely define the terms of the agreement between the student and the school, including at least the following:

(i) The name and address of the school and the student;

(ii) The program or course title as it appears in the school's catalog, date training is to begin, and the number of hours or units of instruction or lessons for which the student is enrolled;

(iii) An itemization of all charges, fees, and required purchases being incurred by the student or his/her sponsor in order to complete the training. The student enrollment agreement must also contain the methods of payment and/or payment schedule being established;

(iv) Language explaining that the agreement will be binding only when it has been fully completed, signed and dated by the student and an authorized representative of the school prior to the time instruction begins;

(d) A statement that any changes in the agreement will not be binding on either the student or the school unless such changes have been acknowledged in writing by an authorized representative of the school and by the student or the student's parent or guardian if he/she is a minor;

(e) A "NOTICE TO THE BUYER" section which includes the following statements in a position above the space reserved for the student's signature:







(f) Attached to each contract must be a form provided by the agency that contains statements relating to the student's rights, responsibilities, and loan repayment obligations; and the school's responsibility to counsel the student against incurring excessive debt;

(g) The school must provide the student a copy of the signed enrollment agreement.

(((6))) (7) Information regarding the qualifications of administrative and instructional personnel. (See RCW 28C.10.050 and 28C.10.060.) The education and experience of administrators, faculty, and other staff must be adequate to insure students will receive educational services consistent with the stated program objectives.

(a) The school must file the qualifications of all affected individuals with the agency within thirty calendar days of their employment. The information must be submitted on forms provided by the agency.

(b) The school must establish and enforce written policies for the qualification, supervision, continuing education, and periodic evaluation of administrators, faculty, and staff.

(c) School directors must have at least two years of experience in either school or business administration, teaching, or other experience related to their duties within the organization.

(d) Faculty must be qualified to provide instruction in their areas of specialization as demonstrated by possession of the following:

(i) Sufficient broad and comprehensive training;

(ii) Industry recognized certification when available; and

(iii) Two years of relevant education, work experience and/or relevant, current teaching experience that particularly qualifies them to provide instruction in their areas of specialization; or

(iv) Current evidence of being qualified to teach that has been issued by a regulatory agency of this or another state.

(e) In addition to the requirements in (d) of this subsection, faculty who teach a course related to an occupation for which the student must subsequently be licensed or certificated must((:

(i))) hold or be qualified to hold such a license or certificate ((and possess at least two years of work experience, postsecondary training or a combination of both in the subject they instruct; or

(ii) Possess current evidence of being qualified to teach that has been issued by a regulatory agency of this or another state)).

(((e))) (f) If the school uses teacher assistants, aides, or trainees, it must maintain policies governing their duties and functions. Such personnel may provide services to students only under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. They may not act as substitutes for the instructor.

(((f))) (g) Owners, administrators, faculty, agents and other staff must be of good moral character and reputation. The agency may find that a person is not of good moral character and reputation if the person ((has been convicted of)):

(i) Has been convicted of any felony within the prior seven years((;

(ii))), a misdemeanor which involved the illegal use, possession, or sale of a controlled substance((; or

(iii))), or a misdemeanor that involved any sexual offense; or

(ii) Is found to have made any false statements in the application for a private vocational school license.

(((g))) (h) If the person has been convicted of a felony, or is found to have made false statements in the private vocational school application, the agency will consider the relationship of the facts supporting the charge or conviction to the performance of his or her occupational responsibilities with the licensed school and to that school's students.

(((h))) (i) In making such determinations the agency will request a letter of recommendation from the employing school and may consider any other related materials submitted by the school and/or affected individual prior to making a finding under this section.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040. 00-21-037, 490-105-040, filed 10/12/00, effective 11/12/00. Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-040, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-060   Do off-campus activities require licensing?   (1) The agency may grant exemptions from licensing for off-campus activities that either:

(a) Absorb a temporary overload that the licensed facility cannot accommodate; or

(b) Provide a single, specialized kind of training activity, generally on a short-term basis, under circumstances that cannot readily be accommodated at the licensed facility((; or

(c) Provide training under contract with a public agency, private company, or other sponsor as long as no contractual responsibility is created between students and the school and the training is not open to the general public)).

(2) The school must obtain approval from the agency before conducting operations at an auxiliary facility. To obtain approval, the school must document that:

(a) The facility meets one of the above definitions;

(b) The instructional program, site administration, and training are significantly integrated with the school's primary facility;

(c) The facility will not be represented as a school location and its address will not be advertised; and

(d) No enrollment will be solicited or executed at the auxiliary facility.

(3) Activities occurring at an auxiliary facility must be incorporated into operational and financial data the school reports to the agency. ((However, income derived from activities conducted under contract should not be reported for purposes of calculating license fees or contributions to the tuition recovery trust fund (see subsection (1)(c) of this section).))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-060, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-100   Who is exempt from licensing?   To qualify for an exemption as test preparation or continuing education under WAC 490-105-030 (1)(c)(i) and (ii), a school must apply to the agency on a form created for that purpose and obtain approval. Exemptions must be renewed annually.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-100, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-130   What are minimum requirements for student refunds?   (See RCW 28C.10.050 (1)(b).) At a minimum, schools must use the following cancellation and refund policies; however, the agency may approve refund policies whose terms are more favorable to students than the following established minimums. Refunds must be paid within thirty calendar days of the student's official date of termination.

(1) For resident programs:

(a) The school must refund all money paid if the applicant is not accepted. This includes instances where a starting class is canceled by the school;

(b) The school must refund all money paid if the applicant cancels within five business days (excluding Sundays and holidays) after the day the contract is signed or an initial payment is made, as long as the applicant has not begun training;

(c) The school may retain an established registration fee equal to ten percent of the total tuition cost, or one hundred dollars, whichever is less, if the applicant cancels after the fifth business day after signing the contract or making an initial payment. A "registration fee" is any fee charged by a school to process student applications and establish a student records system;

(d) If training is terminated after the student enters classes, the school may retain the registration fee established under (c) of this subsection, plus a percentage of the total tuition as described in the following table:

If the student completes this amount of training: The school may keep this percentage of the tuition cost:
One week or up to 10%, whichever is less 10%
More than one week or 10% whichever is less but less than 25% 25%
25% through 50% 50%
More than 50% 100%

(e) When calculating refunds, the official date of a student's termination is the last date of recorded attendance:

(i) When the school receives notice of the student's intention to discontinue the training program;

(ii) When the student is terminated for a violation of a published school policy which provides for termination;

(iii) When a student, without notice, fails to attend classes for thirty calendar days.

(2) Discontinued programs:

(a) If instruction in any program is discontinued after training has begun or if the school moves from one location to another, it must either:

(i) Provide students pro rata refunds of all tuition and fees paid; or

(ii) Arrange for comparable training at another public or private vocational school. Students must accept comparable training in writing.

(b) If the school plans to discontinue a program it must notify the agency and affected students in advance. The notification must be in writing and must include at least data required under WAC 490-105-210(3).

(c) Students affected by a discontinuation must request a refund within ninety days.

(3) For ((home study)) distance education programs:

(a) A student may request cancellation in any manner.

(b) The following is a minimum refund policy for ((home study)) distance education courses without mandatory resident training:

(i) An applicant may cancel up to five business days after signing the enrollment agreement. In the event of a dispute over timely notice, the burden to prove service rests on the applicant.

(ii) If a student cancels after the fifth calendar day but before the school receives the first completed lesson, the school may keep only a registration fee of either fifty dollars or an amount equal to fifteen percent of the tuition (in no case is the school entitled to keep a registration fee greater than one hundred fifty dollars).

(iii) After the school receives the student's first completed lesson and until the student completes half the total number of lessons in the program, the school is entitled to keep the registration fee and a percentage of the total tuition as described in the following table:

If the student completes this percentage of lessons: The school may keep this percentage of the tuition cost:
0% through 10% 10%
11% through 25% 25%
26% through 50% 50%
More than 50% 100%

(iv) Calculate the amount of the course completed by dividing the number of lesson assignments contained in the program by the number of completed lessons received from the student.

(4) Combination ((home study)) distance education/resident training programs:

(a) The following is a minimum refund policy for a home study program that includes mandatory resident training courses.

(i) Tuition for the ((home study)) distance education and resident portions of the program must be stated separately on the enrollment agreement. The total of the two is the price of the program.

(ii) For settlement of the ((home study)) distance education portion of the combination program, the provisions of the table in subsection (2)(b)(iii) of this section apply.

(iii) For the resident portion of the program, beginning with the first resident class session if the student requests a cancellation, the provisions of the table in subsection (1)(d) of this section apply.

(iv) Calculate the amount of resident training completed by dividing the total number of training days provided in the resident training program by the number of instructional days the student attends resident training.

(b) A ((home study)) distance education student who cancels after paying full tuition is entitled to receive all course materials, including kits and equipment.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-130, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-140   What are student admission standards?   (See RCW 28C.10.050 (1)(g).) Prior to enrolling students the school must assess their basic skills and relevant aptitudes to determine that they have the ability to complete and benefit from the training they are considering.

(1) When a school applies for initial licensing under chapter 28C.10 RCW, it must submit a description of the method it will use to comply with the requirements under this section. Any subsequent change in that method must be reported to the agency no more than fifteen calendar days after the change is adopted.

(2) The school must measure all applicants' ability to benefit against current prerequisites for employment in the job objective established for the program, e.g., prior work and health history, English language proficiency, driving and arrest records, and evaluations of any applicable physiological factors such as vision acuity, color perception, lifting and weight bearing capabilities, and manual dexterity.

(3) Schools may consider that applicants ((who)) have adequate academic abilities to meet learning needs if they have earned a high school diploma from a United States high school or General Educational Development (GED) certificate ((may be considered to have adequate academic abilities to meet learning needs)) in English.

(4) Schools my enroll applicants who have not ((earned a high school diploma or GED must be tested)) met the conditions in subsection (3) of this section if the applicant can document acceptable scores on an academic or English language proficiency assessment instrument such as the SAT, ACT, Test of English as a Foreign Language, or the International English Language Testing System. The school must ((adopt or devise a)) test all other applicants to assess ((the applicants')) their academic abilities or English proficiency. In the case of an applicant for whom English is a second language, the school may accept a satisfactory evaluation of the applicant's foreign course work that has been produced by a reputable organization specializing in such evaluations. ((The)) Any academic or English language proficiency test must have the capability of:

(a) Validating that applicants possess skills, competencies, and knowledge that correlate with grades, course or program completion or other measures of success in the program of study; or

(b) Validating that applicants' academic skills, competencies, and knowledge are at a level equivalent to that of persons completing a high school education;

(c) Comparing success ratios of accepted students with test cut-off scores and incorporating appropriate cut-off adjustments.

(5) Any ability to benefit (ATB) test that has been published by the American College Testing Service (ACT) or reviewed and approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) is acceptable evidence of meeting the criteria in subsection (4) of this section.

(6) The following must be part of the methodology developed for assessment:

(a) In the event tests are administered by school officials, evidence the tests are being administered as intended by the publisher;

(b) Information about the test security procedures employed, evidencing that students have no advance information about the exact questions or tasks and that answers cannot be supplied by a third party while completing the test(s);

(c) Information about test scoring procedures employed, evidencing that if tests are scored by school officials the tests are being evaluated as intended by the publisher;

(d) Information that the tests are free from information that is offensive with regard to gender, age, native language, ethnic origin, or handicapping conditions.

(7) Records resulting from the ability to benefit assessment must be included as a regular part of all students' records.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-140, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-150   What ((are)) program, facility, and equipment standards must schools meet?   (See RCW 28C.10.050 and 28C.10.060.)

(1) ((The school must design and implement programs that will adequately achieve the stated objectives for which they are offered. In evaluating programs, the agency will use as a guideline their comparability to similar programs that have been established by other comparable schools.)) Schools must design and implement programs of quality, content, and duration, and with appropriate entrance criteria, instructional materials, staff, equipment and facilities to prepare students for the program's occupational objectives.

(2) The school must have an exact physical location which:

(a) Is adequate to meet the needs of its students and the objectives of the program;

(b) Provides a modern and effective learning environment with enough classroom, laboratory, and shop space for the number of students to be trained; and

(c) Is maintained in compliance with state laws and local ordinances related to safety and health.

(3) The school must have equipment, furniture, instructional devices and aids, machinery and other physical features that are:

(a) Adequate in number and condition to achieve the stated educational objectives of the course;

(b) Comparable in number and quality with those used by comparable schools with similar programs;

(c) Comparable to those in current use by the appropriate trade, business or profession; and

(d) Of sufficient quantity for the number of enrolled students.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-150, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-160   What reports are required?   (See RCW 28C.10.050 and 28C.10.060.) In addition to the minimum licensing standards described in RCW 28C.10.050, each school must((:

(1) Complete and submit to the agency an annual Impact Data Survey; and

(2) No later than July 1, 2000,)) submit the following information annually for each student who participated in training((. The information will be used to compile consumer reports that will be published in the future)) during the reporting period:

(((a))) (1) Student name, address, telephone number and Social Security number if provided by the student;

(((b))) (2) Start date of training and date of completion or dropout;

(((c) Whether or not the student graduated;

(d))) (3) Enrollment status as of the end of the reporting period;

(4) Previous education before starting the current training program;

(((e) Ethnicity;

(f))) (5) Race;

(6) Date of birth;

(((g))) (7) Gender;

(((h) Program or major (for larger schools with multiple programs).)) (8) Disability status;

(9) Hispanic/non-Hispanic;

(10) Program title and duration (in months).

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-160, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

WAC 490-105-175   Under what conditions will a school be determined to be "at-risk"?   What steps will the agency take if a school is determined to be "at-risk"?

(1) The agency may determine a school is "at-risk" if it demonstrates a pattern or history of one or more of the conditions described in the definition of "at-risk."

(2) A school determined to be at-risk may petition the agency to reconsider that designation if the school believes it is unreasonable, unfair, or not in keeping with the intent and purpose of the act. The agency will consider the school's petition and may rescind the "at-risk" designation.

(3) The school's owner and/or director will be required to meet with agency staff to discuss the conditions that lead to the designation.

(4) A school determined to be "at-risk" will be placed on probation and will be required to provide:

(a) A school improvement plan acceptable to the agency within thirty days after meeting with agency staff;

(b) A line of credit if appropriate; and

(c) Monthly progress reports for up to twelve months that include at a minimum:

(i) Steps taken to correct identified deficiencies; and

(ii) Current student directory information.

(5) During the probation period the school must demonstrate improvement or the agency will take action to suspend or revoke its license.

(6) The agency may publish on its web site, a list of schools whose licenses have been either suspended or revoked.


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-22-033, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98)

WAC 490-105-180   How are student complaints handled?   (See RCW 28C.10.084(10) and 28C.10.120.)

(1) A complaint must be filed no more than:

(a) One calendar year following:

(i) A resident student's last recorded date of attendance; or

(ii) The date ((the)) a distance education school received a ((home study)) student's last completed lesson; or

(b) Sixty calendar days from the date a school ceases to provide educational services.

(2) The agency may extend the time a student has to file a complaint if the student can establish that good faith efforts to obtain satisfaction from the school were being made during the time elapsed.

(3) The term "a person" used to reference a complainant under RCW 28C.10.120(1) is further defined to mean only individuals who established a contractual relationship through their enrollment in a school or, in the case of a minor, the minor's parent or guardian.

(a) Private or public agencies, employers, or others who contract with a private vocational school to provide training services to a particular individual or individuals do not have access to the complaint process.

(b) When a person establishes a financial obligation for only a portion of the contracted costs and is subsidized for the remainder as described under (a) of this subsection, that student's claim will be prorated to recognize only the unsubsidized amount.

(4) The agency may consider the following costs when determining losses suffered by a complainant:

(a) Tuition and fees;

(b) Transportation costs;

(c) Books, supplies, equipment, uniforms and protective clothing, rental charges; and

(d) Insurance required by the school.

(5) In estimating a student's attendance related expenses other than tuition, the agency may use standards developed under Title IV of the Higher Education Act or those of the Washington state departments of employment security and social and health services.

(6) When the agency receives a complaint, it will:

(a) Evaluate the complaint for completeness and to determine eligibility within ten working days after receipt;

(b) Accept or reject the complaint and so notify the complainant within an additional five working days;

(c) Forward a copy of a bona fide complaint and related attachments to the school by certified mail.

(7) The school has fifteen working days after receipt to respond to the student's complaint. If a school fails to submit a timely response the agency will conclude the school has no defense to offer.

(8) Based on all information then available, the agency will:

(a) Investigate the facts;

(b) Secure additional information if so indicated;

(c) Attempt to bring about a negotiated solution;

(d) Adjudicate the complaint by making findings, conclusions, and determinations; and

(e) Notify all parties of the determinations and remedies.

(9) If a student can document that the procedures used by the agency to resolve a complaint were either unreasonable, unfair, or not in keeping with the intent of the law, the student may request a review of the decision.

(a) The student must request the review in writing within twenty days following receipt of the complaint determination. A timely request stays the agency's determination during the review process.

(b) When the agency receives a request for review it will:

(i) Notify the school that the student has requested a review and that the complaint determination will not take effect until the review has been completed;

(ii) Schedule an informal hearing to be conducted by agency staff; and

(iii) Make a final determination regarding the complaint within fifteen working days following the hearing.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 28C.10.040(2). 98-22-033, 490-105-180, filed 10/29/98, effective 11/29/98.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office