AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE NORTH CAROLINA PROPRIETARY SCHOOL LICENSURE ACT.
Repeals GS Chapter 115D, Article 8 (regarding Proprietary Schools), effective October 1, 2019.
Enacts new GS Chapter 115F (regarding Proprietary Schools), applicable to any person applying for an initial license or the renewal of a license for a proprietary school on or after October 1, 2019. The new Chapter is largely identical to the repealed GS Chapter 115D, Article 8, with the following exceptions.
Sets out the purpose of the new Chapter.
New term definitions are added, including distance education and license.
Changes the definition of catastrophic loss amount to increase the dollar amount in the definition from $1 million to $1.5 million. Changes the definition of fund cap amount from $1.5 million to the amount for the catastrophic loss amount plus a $5,000 reserve.
Changes the name of the State Board of Proprietary Schools to the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools (Board). Transfers all powers and responsibilities currently given to the State Board of Community Colleges regarding proprietary schools to the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools.
Requires the Board to establish the Office of Proprietary Schools. Requires the Office to use BEACON for payroll purposes for Board employees. Directs the executive director of the Office of Proprietary Schools to annually submit a written report to the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools and the State Board of Community Colleges, including eight specified pieces of information. Deletes the provision requiring the Executive Director to give the Board an annual projected operating budget. Authorizes the Board's Executive Director to collect fees prescribed by the Article and turn the funds over to the State Treasurer, to be credited to the appropriate Fund of the State Board and expended for the administration and enforcement of the Article. Establishes caps on the fees that may be established for initial licensure, annual renewal, and inspections.
Directs that the physical locations of proprietary schools in separate counties constitute separate proprietary schools for the purposes of licensure.
Allows the Board to refuse to issue or renew a license, or suspend or revoke a license, for failure to pay license or renewal fees.
Amends the bond requirements to allow the bond currently applicable to the first four license renewals to apply to the first five bond requirements, and the requirement for schools licensed for at least five continuous school years to apply to schools licensed for at least six continuous school years. Authorizes the Board to require any licensed school to increase its bond if it determines the increase is necessary to provide indemnification to a student or student's parent or legal guardian who may suffer a loss of tuition, fees, or any other instructional related expenses paid to the school.
Authorizes the Board or its authorized representatives to make application to superior court for an order enjoining violations of this Chapter. Authorizes the court to grant an injunction or restraining order or take any other appropriate action upon a showing of violation or impending violation, regardless of whether criminal prosecution or other actions may be instituted as a result of the violation. Authorizes the Board to assess a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for the violation of any section of this Chapter, or of Board rules implementing the chapter, to be remitted to the Civil Penalty and Forfeiture Fund. Directs the Board to establish a schedule of penalties for violations of this Chapter. Directs the Board to consider four listed factors before assessing a civil penalty under the statute. Authorizes the Board to assess the costs of enforcement actions taken under this Chapter.
Makes technical and conforming changes.
Amends GS 135-1.1 by adding that a state board charged with administering any law related to the licensing of a proprietary school subject to the State Budget Act may make an irrevocable election by October 1, 2019, to become an employer in the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System.
Makes conforming changes to GS 86A-22(7), GS 88B-17(a), GS 90-171.55(b)(1), GS 93A-32(2), GS 116-15, GS 126-5(c2)(4), and GS 135-48.1.
Requires the members serving on the State Board of Proprietary Schools as of the date this section becomes law who were appointed under GS 115D-89.1 to: (1) beginning September 1, 2019, serve in a dual capacity as members of the State Board of Proprietary Schools and as members of the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools until September 30, 2019; (2) beginning October 1, 2019, serve the remainder of their terms as members of the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools established under GS Chapter 115F; and (3) beginning October 1, 2019, assume the advisory duties and responsibilities of the State Board of Proprietary Schools under Article 8 of Chapter 115D of the General Statutes in regard to any proprietary school operating in this State under a license approved on or before October 1, 2019.
Authorizes the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools to enter into an agreement with the State Board of Community Colleges to provide that the Community Colleges System Office acts as the fiscal agent for the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools and for the Office of Proprietary Schools for the purpose of administering the Commercial Education Fund and the Student Protection Fund, until those funds may be established in accounts with the Department of State Treasurer under the sole supervision and direction of the North Carolina Board of Proprietary Schools.
Establishes the fees for application, initial licensure, license renewal, and inspections performed of proprietary schools that are to be used until the fees are established under new GS 115C-35.
Unless otherwise indicated, effective September 1, 2019.
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