(a) An institution of higher education is a public or private nonprofit educational institution that—
(1) Is in a State, or for purposes of the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work-Study, and Federal TRIO programs may also be located in the Federated States of Micronesia or the Marshall Islands;
(2) Admits as regular students only persons who—
(i) Have a high school diploma;
(ii) Have the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma; or
(iii) Are beyond the age of compulsory school attendance in the State in which the institution is physically located;
(3) Is legally authorized to provide an educational program beyond secondary education in the State in which the institution is physically located in accordance with § 600.9;
(i) Provides an educational program—
(A) For which it awards an associate, baccalaureate, graduate, or professional degree;
(B) That is at least a two-academic-year program acceptable for full credit toward a baccalaureate degree; or
(C) That is at least a one academic year training program that leads to a certificate, or other nondegree recognized credential, and prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation; and
(ii) May provide a comprehensive transition and postsecondary program, as described in 34 CFR part 668, subpart O; and
(i) Accredited or preaccredited; or
(ii) Approved by a State agency listed in the Federal Register in accordance with 34 CFR part 603, if the institution is a public postsecondary vocational educational institution that seeks to participate only in Federal student assistance programs.
(b) An institution is physically located in a State if it has a campus or other instructional site in that State.
(c) The Secretary does not recognize the accreditation or preaccreditation of an institution unless the institution agrees to submit any dispute involving the final denial, withdrawal, or termination of accreditation to initial arbitration before initiating any other legal action.