38 CFR § 21.4254 - Nonaccredited courses.

§ 21.4254 Nonaccredited courses.

(a) General. Nonaccredited courses are courses which are not approved as accredited courses and which are offered by a public or private, profit or nonprofit, educational institution. These include nonaccredited courses offered by extension centers or divisions, or vocational or adult education departments of institutions of higher learning.

(b) Application. Any school desiring to enroll veterans or eligible persons in nonaccredited courses will submit a written application to the appropriate State approving agency for approval of such courses (38 U.S.C. 3676(a)). Such application will be accompanied by not less than two copies of the current catalog or bulletin which is certified as true and correct in content and policy by an authorized owner or official of the school and will include the following:

(1) Identifying data, such as volume number, and date of publication;

(2) Names of the school and its governing body, officials, and faculty;

(3) A calendar of the school showing legal holidays, beginning and ending date of each quarter, term, or semester, and other important dates;

(4) School policy and regulations on enrollment with respect to enrollment dates and specific entrance requirements for each course;

(5) School policy and regulations relative to leave, absences, class cuts, makeup work, tardiness, and interruptions for unsatisfactory attendance;

(6) School policy and regulations relative to standards of progress required of the student. This policy will define the grading system of the school, the minimum grades considered satisfactory conditions for interruption for unsatisfactory grades or progress, and a description of the probationary period, if any, allowed by the school, and conditions of reentrance for those students dismissed for unsatisfactory progress. A statement will be made regarding progress records kept by the school and furnished the student;

(7) School policy and regulations relating to student conduct and conditions for dismissal for unsatisfactory conduct;

(8) Detailed schedule of fees, charges for tuition, books, supplies, tools, student activities, laboratory fees, service charges, rentals, deposits, and all other charges;

(9) Policy and regulations relative to the refund of the unused portion of tuition, fees, and other charges in the event the student does not enter the course, or withdraws, or is discontinued therefrom;

(10) A description of the available space, facilities, and equipment;

(11) A course outline for each course for which approval is requested, showing subjects or units in the course, type of work, or skill to be learned, and approximate time and clock hours to be spent on each subject or unit; and

(12) Policy and regulations relative to granting credit for previous education and training.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3676(b))

(c) Approval criteria. The appropriate State approving agency may approve the application of such school when the school and its nonaccredited courses are found upon investigation to have met the following criteria:

(1) The courses, curriculum, and instruction are consistent in quality, content, and length with similar recognized accepted standards.

(2) There is in the school adequate space, equipment, instructional material, and instructor personnel to provide training of good quality.

(3) Educational and experience qualifications of directors, administrators, and instructors are adequate.

(4) The school maintains a written record of the previous education and training of the veteran or eligible person and clearly indicates that appropriate credit has been given for previous education and training, with the training period shortened proportionately, and the veteran or eligible person and the Department of Veterans Affairs so notified.

(5) A copy of the course outline, schedule of tuition, fees, and other charges, regulations pertaining to absences, grading policy, and rules of operation and conduct will be furnished the veteran or eligible person upon enrollment.

(6) Upon completion of training, the veteran or eligible person is given a certificate by the school indicating the approved course and indicating that training was satisfactorily completed.

(7) Adequate records as prescribed by the State approving agency are kept to show attendance and progress or grades, and satisfactory standards relating to attendance, progress, and conduct are enforced.

(8) The school complies with all local, city, county, municipal, State, and Federal regulations, such as fire codes, building, and sanitation codes. The State approving agency may require such evidence of compliance as it deemed necessary.

(9) The school is financially sound and capable of fulfilling its commitments for training.

(10) The school does not utilize advertising of any type which is erroneous or misleading, either by actual statement, omission, or intimation. The school will not be deemed to have met this requirement until the State approving agency:

(i) Has ascertained from the Federal Trade Commission whether the Commission has issued an order to the school to cease and desist from any act or practice, and

(ii) Has, if such an order has been issued, given due weight to that fact.

(11) The school does not exceed its enrollment limitations as established by the State approving agency.

(12) The school administrators, directors, owners, and instructors are of good reputation and character.

(13) The school either: (i) Has and maintains a policy for the pro rata refund of the unused portion of tuition, fees and charges if the veteran or eligible person fails to enter the course or withdraws or is discontinued from it before completion, or

(ii) Has obtained a waiver of this requirement. See § 21.4255.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3676)


(i) For a course designed to prepare an individual for licensure or certification in a State, the course meets all instructional curriculum licensure or certification requirements of such State.

(ii) For a course designed to prepare an individual for licensure to practice law in a State, the course is accredited by a specialized accrediting agency for programs of legal education or association recognized by the Secretary of Education under subpart 2 of part H of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1099b), from which recipients of law degrees from such accredited programs are eligible to sit for a bar examination in any State.

(iii) For a course designed to prepare an individual for employment pursuant to standards developed by a board or agency of a State in an occupation that requires approval, licensure, or certification, the course meets such standards.

(iv) An educational institution may apply, through their State approving agency of jurisdiction, to the Secretary or designee for a waiver of the requirements of this paragraph (c)(14). The State approving agency will forward an application for waiver, together with its recommendation for granting or denying the application, to the Secretary or designee. The Secretary or designee may grant a waiver upon a finding that all of the following criteria have been met:

(A) The educational institution is not accredited by an agency or association recognized by the Department of Education.

(B) The course did not meet the requirements of this paragraph (c)(14) at any time during the 2-year period preceding the date of the waiver.

(C) The waiver furthers the purposes of the educational assistance programs administered by VA or would further the education interests of individuals eligible for assistance under such programs.

(D) The educational institution does not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollments or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance, except for the recruitment of foreign students residing in foreign countries who are not eligible to receive Federal student assistance.

(15) Such additional reasonable criteria as may be deemed necessary by the State approving agency if the Secretary or designee, in consultation with the State approving agency, approves the additional criteria as necessary and equitable in its treatment of public, private, and proprietary for-profit educational institutions. The Secretary or designee will determine whether the additional criteria are necessary and treat schools equitably based on a proposal and any additional information submitted.

(i) Before requiring a school and its nonaccredited courses to meet any additional criteria, the State approving agency must present a written proposal to the Secretary or designee justifying the need for the additional criteria and containing an attestation that the criteria will treat all schools equitably, regardless of whether they are public, private or for-profit institutions. The written proposal must contain a description of the need for the additional criteria and an explanation of how the imposition of the additional criteria would remedy the problem. The proposal must also contain a statement concerning whether State or Federal laws, regulations, or policies require the imposition of the additional criteria and an explanation of the consideration of any alternative means to achieve the same goal as the additional criteria.

(ii) The Secretary or designee may request such additional information from the State approving agency as the Secretary or designee deems appropriate before determining whether the criteria are necessary and treat schools equitably.

(iii) The Secretary or designee may change the determination at any time if, after implementation, it becomes apparent that the criteria are unnecessary or schools are treated inequitably under the criteria.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3676(c), (f))

(d) Limitations on course approval. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a State approving agency shall not approve a nonaccredited course if it is to be pursued in whole or in part by independent study.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 3676(e))
[31 FR 6774, May 6, 1966, as amended at 33 FR 9546, June 29, 1968; 47 FR 42733, Sept. 29, 1982; 61 FR 6783, Feb. 22, 1996; 88 FR 2834, Jan. 18, 2023]