Private Postsecondary Education: Our Regulatory and Coordinating Role
The Office of Degree Authorization (ODA) and the Private Career Schools (PCS) Licensing unit are responsible for policy and regulatory action that affect private institutions serving Oregonians. The ODA authorizes degree-granting private institutions offering academic programs in Oregon, or to Oregon students from outside the state. The PCS Licensing Unit licenses private career schools in Oregon. Both units also provide educational leadership, technical assistance, student and consumer protection, and serve as conveners of private institutions and partners in Oregon. The office is also responsible for administering distance education offerings in Oregon through the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).
Regulation, Licensing, and Authorization
The Private Career School unit and Office of Degree Authorization serve as the state regulators that approve private degree-granting institutions, private career schools, and distance education providers to operate in this state. Without approval or explicit exemption from regulation from the HECC, a school cannot legally operate in our state, or offer valid degrees or certificates or college credit to Oregonians. In the U.S, it is the state government that authorizes degree granting institutions with only a few exceptions.
Note: Our office is a regulatory, licensing and authorizing state office, not an accrediting agency. Even if an institution is accredited, it may not be authorized to confer degrees or certificates in Oregon since they must meet rigorous authorizing standards in our state and comply with the necessary laws and regulations that protect consumers in this state.