Oregon Bulletin

January 1, 2011


Oregon Student Assistance Commission,
Office of Degree Authorization
Chapter 583

Rule Caption: Brings rules into compliance with 2009 OR Laws Ch. 172 (SB 114) .

Adm. Order No.: ODA 1-2010

Filed with Sec. of State: 11-16-2010

Certified to be Effective: 11-16-10

Notice Publication Date: 10-1-2009

Rules Amended: 583-030-0010

Subject: OR Laws Ch. 172 exempts all regionally accredited nonprofit degree-granting institutions from ODA oversight and requires ODA to oversee all for-profit degree-granters and all degree-granters lacking regional accreditation. Rule changes will adjust the language of OAR to reflect this change in jurisdiction. Rules will be effective January 1, 2010.

      These were adopted by the Commission on October 23, 2009 but there was a delay in filing.

Rules Coordinator: Beverly R. Boyd—(541) 687-7394



The standards and procedures in this rule shall not apply to a school that is exempt.

(1) A school in the public postsecondary educational system of the State of Oregon is exempt when offering degrees and credits exclusively in its own name and under its own control as the Oregon University System or constituent unit thereof, an Oregon community college, or the Oregon Health and Science University.

(2) A school is exempt on religious grounds if the school meets the requirements of ORS Chapter 546, 2005 Laws. No rules in 583-030 are applicable to a religious-exempt school except as permitted by ORS Chapter 346, 2005 Laws.

(3) A regionally accredited nonprofit school or separately regionally accredited campus of a nonprofit school that has operated at least one ODA-approved program in Oregon for at least five consecutive years is exempt.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 348.594

Stats. Implemented: ORS 348.594

Hist.: ECC 22, f. & ef. 12-22-75; ECC 2-1980, f. & ef. 4-14-80; ECC 3-1981, f. & ef. 12-16-81; EPP 1-1988, f. & cert. ef. 1-7-88; EPP 1-1995, f. & cert. ef. 10-6-95; EPP 1-1996, f. & cert. ef. 8-7-96; SSC 1-1997(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 8-25-97; ODA 2-1998, f. & cert. ef. 8-12-98; ODA 1-2003, f. & cert. ef. 4-16-03; ODA 4-2003, f. 10-29-03, cert. ef. 11-1-03; ODA 2-2004(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-11-04 thru 7-30-04; Administrative correction 8-19-04; ODA 5-2005, f. 12-1-05, cert. ef. 12-7-05; ODA 1-2010, f. & cert. ef. 11-16-10


Rule Caption: Revises standards related to faculty qualifications, job placement and admissions.

Adm. Order No.: ODA 2-2010

Filed with Sec. of State: 11-16-2010

Certified to be Effective: 11-16-10

Notice Publication Date: 7-1-2010

Rules Amended: 583-030-0035

Subject: Revises three parts of the standards applicable to schools and programs under ODA jurisdiction. Clarifies standards for use of high school diplomas. Clarifies expectations of faculty credentials. Clarifies standards related to placement of graduates.

Rules Coordinator: Beverly R. Boyd—(541) 687-7394


Standards for Schools Offering Degree Programs In or From Oregon

In order to receive and hold authorization to offer in or from Oregon instruction or related services leading to one or more degrees, a school must remain open to inspection at all times and continuously satisfy each of the following standard requirements as written, except where the Office approves modification under OAR 583-030-0036 or substitution under 583-030-0011. Standards are applicable to all programs.

(1) Name. The school shall use for doing business publicly a name that is consistent with its purpose and educational programs.

(2) Control.

(a) All persons responsible for top management policy must be individually qualified by education, experience, and record of conduct to assure effective management, ethical practice, and the quality of degrees and services offered. Boards must collectively demonstrate financial, academic, managerial and any necessary specialized knowledge, but individual members need not have all of these characteristics. Any controlling organization or owner is subject to this standard.

(b) Administrators shall be paid by fixed salary and not by commission. Any portion of payment that is based on enrollment of students recruited by the administrator or the administrator’s staff is considered payment by commission.

(c) Teachers shall be paid by fixed salary and not by commission. Any portion of payment that is based on enrollment of students recruited by the teacher is considered payment by commission.

(d) Nonprofit Schools:

(A) Persons who control a nonprofit school shall demonstrate a commitment to the school’s best interest as a public trust.

(B) A nonprofit school shall have a published policy that is followed in practice against conflicts of interest at all organizational levels.

(e) For-profit Schools:

(A) A school operated for profit shall disclose fully to the Office, the specific financial interest of any organization or person, except that a large group of shareholders may be described generally. Any person or entity holding at least 5 percent of voting or common shares in a for-profit school must be named and the percentage of holdings disclosed. All business activities of interested organizations or persons are subject to disclosure.

(B) All board members, administrators, or owners of five percent or more of shares of an applicant school or parent corporation must disclose with explanation the following:

(i) Any prior felony convictions.

(ii) Any known violations of federal financial aid rules by a school of which the person was a board member or employee.

(iii) Any known violations of the policies of an accreditor by a school of which the person was a board member or employee.

(iv) Any previous or current ownership or administration of a school that closed or filed for bankruptcy.

(3) Organization.

(a) The school and any parent organization shall be organized so as to distribute responsibility clearly among positions in a logical structure that is consistent with services offered and qualifications needed to fulfill the duties of the positions. An individual may occupy more than one position.

(b) The school shall satisfy the Office that all top executive officers and other administrators are individually qualified by education, experience, and record of conduct to assure competent management, ethical practices, and effective educational service. Unless an exception is approved by the Office because of sufficient compensatory qualification, administrators above the entry level shall have experience related to their present duties, and all administrators with authority over academic programs shall possess appropriate degrees earned from schools that are regionally accredited or otherwise determined by the Office to be acceptable.

(c) The school shall make available to the Office an administrator generally responsible for school operations within the state and transaction of business with the Office. Unless an exception is approved by the Office because of sufficient compensatory qualification, that administrator shall possess a degree at least as high as any offered by the school in connection with operations in Oregon, together with appropriate administrative experience.

(d) There shall be an academic officer for the entire school responsible for faculty and academic programs offered in or from Oregon. Unless an exception is approved by the Office because of sufficient compensatory qualification, that officer shall possess at least a master’s degree and shall possess a doctor’s degree if the school offers any graduate or non-baccalaureate professional degree. That officer shall have experience in teaching and academic administration, both experiences appropriate to the level, size, and complexity of the school.

(e) There shall be a business officer for the entire school responsible for accounting and managerial services. Unless an exception is approved by the Office because of unusual compensatory qualification, that officer shall possess at least a bachelor’s degree in a business-related field, together with appropriate administrative experience.

(4) Teachers.

(a) The school must obtain and keep official transcripts for all teaching faculty.

(b) The school shall satisfy the Office that all teachers are individually qualified by education and experience to give expert instruction or evaluation in their specialties. Unless an exception is approved by the Office because of sufficient compensatory qualification, teachers shall be qualified for the various levels of instruction or evaluation as described below, with degrees earned from schools that are accredited by a federally recognized accreditor or otherwise determined by the Office to be acceptable.

(c) Standards applicable to specific degree levels. A person who does not hold the appropriate level and major degree as stated in (B) through (D) below may demonstrate qualification by showing at least 12 semester or 18 quarter credits in the field at a level higher than the current teaching assignment combined with appropriate professional experience in the field. Teaching experience cannot be used to replace professional experience if this option is exercised, except for teacher education programs.

(A) Teachers in programs leading to degrees in the fine arts, including art, music, dance, cooking, theater, photography, writing and other programs involving a significant creative element, may demonstrate qualifications with a documented combination of academic and creative work.

(B) Standards applicable to associate degrees: A teacher on a faculty offering associate’s degrees ordinarily shall possess a bachelor’s degree appropriate to the subject taught or evaluated, except that compensatory nonacademic qualifications will be more readily accepted by the Office in programs leading to occupational degrees leading to professional licensure or the fine arts. Where the degree emphasizes transfer courses in the arts and sciences (primarily Associate of Arts degrees), the teacher ordinarily shall possess an appropriate master’s degree.

(C) Standards applicable to bachelor’s degree programs: A teacher on a faculty offering bachelor’s degrees ordinarily shall possess an appropriate graduate degree in the field currently taught.

(D) Standards applicable to master’s degree programs: A teacher on faculty offering master’s degrees ordinarily shall possess an appropriate doctor’s degree and some teaching experience, except that up to half of the teachers in an occupational or professional degree program may substitute for the doctorate a master’s degree together with occupational or professional licensure or equivalent certification and related work experience. More substitutions may be permitted where the terminal degree for teachers in an occupational or professional field is not generally considered to be a doctorate.

(E) Standards applicable to doctoral programs: A teacher on a faculty offering doctor’s degrees ordinarily shall possess an appropriate doctor’s degree and substantial graduate or first-professional teaching experience, including experience overseeing advanced independent study or student practice, except that the doctor’s degree alone may suffice for teaching courses at the master’s level generally or at any level in the teacher’s particular subspecialty.

(d ) Teachers shall be numerous enough and so distributed as to give effective instructional and advisory attention to students in all programs offered by the school.

(e) A school having an undergraduate FTE student-faculty ratio of greater than 30-1 or a graduate FTE student-faculty ratio of greater than 20-1 for students taught in or from Oregon must demonstrate that students and faculty have adequate opportunities for one-to-one interaction.

(f) A school that does not have at least one full-time teacher resident in Oregon or directly teaching Oregon students in each specialty must demonstrate with specific examples the adequacy of faculty contribution to organizational integrity and continuity, to academic planning, and to resident student development.

(g) The school shall have a faculty development policy that continuously improves their knowledge and performance.

(h) The school must provide ODA with annual data regarding turnover of full-time teachers. ODA may limit use of part-time teachers upon finding that such turnover or use results in substandard education of students.

(i) The school shall demonstrate an effort when hiring teachers to avoid dependence on its own most recent graduates. No more than 20 percent of all applicant school teachers can hold their highest degree from the applicant school unless fewer than 10 schools in the United States offer the highest degree available in the field. Schools offering solely religious degrees are exempt from this requirement.

(j) A teacher of an academic or scientific discipline within an occupational or professional degree program (e.g., economics within a business program, psychology within education, anatomy within nursing) ordinarily shall possess the appropriate degree in the discipline rather than a non-disciplinary occupational or professional degree. Lower-division undergraduate courses may be taught by those with non-disciplinary degrees who have demonstrable and extensive acquaintance with the discipline.

(5) Credit. The school shall award credit toward degrees proportionate to work done by students and consequent upon the judgment of qualified teachers and examiners. Credits are generally expressed as either semester (SCH) or quarter credit hours (QCH). One semester credit represents approximately 45 hours of on-task student work in a semester (usually two study hours per faculty contact hour). A quarter credit hour represents approximately 30 hours of student work in a quarter. Credit hours earned through nontraditional learning schedules shall have proportionate value to credit hours based on customary term lengths.

(a) Instructional methods:

(A) Credit awarded by the school shall be based solely upon the judgment of teachers who have had extensive direct contact with the students who receive it, with the exception of methods listed in these rules if approved in advance by ODA

(B) At least one academic year of credit toward any degree, most of it near the end, shall represent teaching or direct evaluation by faculty members employed by the school, except that the Office may approve a lesser amount for an associate’s degree.

(C) Credit may be awarded for distance learning if the school demonstrates that it has adequate methods in place to ensure that student work is sufficient both in quality and quantity to meet ODA requirements, courses are developed and taught by qualified faculty and there will be sufficient interaction between students and faculty and, if possible, among students. The Office may limit or disallow credit awarded for any type of distance learning if the school cannot demonstrate adequate oversight and quality control measures.

(D) Transfer credit integral to the school’s approved degree curriculum may be awarded at the corresponding degree level for academic work documented by other schools that are regionally accredited, authorized to confer degrees in or from Oregon, or otherwise individually or categorically approved by the Office. Such credit must be converted as needed from semester, quarter or nontraditional calendar systems.

(b) Noninstructional Methods No more than one year of an academic program can be completed using any combination of the noninstructional methods set forth in (A), (B), and (C) below:

(A) Advanced Placement credit integral to the approved degree curriculum may be awarded in the lower-division up to a limit of one academic year for passing examinations constructed by testing organizations satisfactory to the Office.

(B) Challenge examination credit as an actual component of the approved degree curriculum may be awarded only at the undergraduate level for successful performance on a final course examination, or on a similar test covering all course content, given by the school in lieu of requiring class attendance. No more than 25 percent of an undergraduate degree program may be earned through challenge examinations.

(C) Noncollegiate learning integral to the approved degree curriculum may be awarded credit only at the undergraduate level for learning validated by a student “portfolio,” a credit evaluation guide issued by the American Council on Education, or a similar criterion. Such learning must be formulated through sufficient contact between teacher and student, communicated competently in terms of ideas (e.g., concept, generalization, analysis, synthesis, proof) rather than mere description, and judged by faculty members or contracted experts demonstrably qualified to evaluate it. Upper-division credit of this type may be awarded only in academic fields in which the school employs its own faculty. No more than 25 percent of an undergraduate degree program may be earned through award of credit for noncollegiate work.

(6) Curriculum. The school shall assure the quality of all attendant teaching, learning, and faculty-student interaction. The curriculum shall have a structure that reflects faculty responsibility for what is to be learned overall, as well as in each course, and thus for the logical sequence and increasing difficulty of subjects and instructional levels. While requirements are sometimes listed in both semester and quarter credit hours, ODA usually states credit hours as semester credit hours. If quarter credits are not listed, colleges using the quarter system should multiply the stated credits by 1.5 to obtain the correct requirement in quarter credit hours (QCH) under quarter systems. These are the basic requirements for different kinds of degrees available in Oregon. ODA may approve minor variations from these curriculum standards in order to allow programs to operate efficiently.

(a) Undergraduate Programs All associate and bachelor’s degrees require one year (at least 6 semester (SCH) or 9 quarter credit hours (QCH) or equivalent alternate term credit hours) of English composition or equivalent ODA-approved writing courses. Students may meet this requirement by achieving a score on a nationally normed test that would permit a waiver of English composition requirements or the award of academic credit in English composition at an accredited college or university.

(b) Associate Degrees An associate’s degree requires at least two academic years (60 semester credit hours or 90 quarter credit hours) in FTE postsecondary study. The degree requires at least 15 SCH or 22 QCH in general education courses, including the undergraduate English composition requirement

(A) Associate of Arts. A full-transfer degree, the A.A. requires two academic years applicable to B.A. or B.S. study fulfilling baccalaureate liberal arts requirements. A major is optional. Thus, the A.A. requires 24 SCH (36 QCH) in the liberal arts and sciences, with at least 6 hours (9 QCH) each in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences.

(B) Associate of Science. A limited-transfer degree, the A.S. requires a major and two academic years applicable to professional or technical baccalaureate study. The A.S. degree requires 24 SCH (36 QCH) in the humanities, sciences and social sciences, or in non-vocational courses closely related to them.

(C) Associate, Professional or Technical. A terminal degree, the professional or technical associate’s degree requires a major (Degree title examples: Associate of Applied Arts, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Technology, Associate of Occupational Studies, Associate of Business, Associate of Religion). In addition to the major requirements, this degree requires the basic 15 SCH or 22 QCH in general education courses, including the English composition requirement.

(c) Bachelor’s Degrees A bachelor’s degree, or baccalaureate, requires at least four academic years (120 SCH or 180 QCH) in FTE postsecondary study. At least 40 semester credit hours (60 QCH) shall be in upper-division courses, and no more than two academic years of instruction (no more than 50 percent of credit hours used for the degree) shall be from schools that do not offer baccalaureate degrees.

(A) General Education: The degree requires one academic year (at least 30 SCH or 45 QCH) of general education, which includes the one-year undergraduate English composition requirement.

(B) Major Field: The degree requires distinct specialization, i.e., a “major,” which entails approximately one academic year of work (30 SCH or 45 QCH) in the main subject, with 20 SCH (30 QCH) in the upper division and 15 SCH (22 or 23 QCH) of upper-division hours taught by the resident faculty. A dual major simply doubles these numbers.

(C) An interdisciplinary major is also permitted. It requires two academic years (60 SCH ) in either three or four disciplines, with at least 15 hours in each discipline and at least 9 upper-division hours in each. A school may offer a major or an interdisciplinary option in any field in which it has more than one fully qualified teacher if at least one teaches full time.

(D) Degrees. The following bachelor’s degree names, levels and types are available in Oregon:

(i) Bachelor of Arts. An arts degree, the B.A. requires competency in a foreign language and one academic year in the humanities, i.e., 30 SCH, of which 12 can be in foreign languages. The language competency requirement is equivalent to the 12 hours, the second-year level, and ESL students can satisfy it with 12 hours of English language and literature. As general education outside the major, the B.A. requires 24 SCH in the liberal arts and sciences, with at least 6 hours in each of the three areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

(ii) Bachelor of Science. A science degree, the B.S. requires one academic year in the social or natural sciences, i.e., 30 SCH, of which 12 can be in mathematics and state-approved computer courses. As general education outside the major, the B.S. requires 24 SCH in the liberal arts and sciences, with at least 6 hours in each of the three areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

(iii) Bachelor, Professional. As general education outside the major, the professional bachelor’s degree requires 24 SCH hours in the liberal arts and sciences, with at least 6 hours in each of the three liberal arts and sciences areas: humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

(iv) Bachelor, Technical. As general education outside the major, the technical bachelor’s degree requires 24 SCH in the liberal arts and sciences, or in non-vocational courses closely related to them, with at least 3 semester hours in each of the three areas: humanities, social studies, and natural sciences, and a total of at least 9 in the two areas most unrelated to the major.

(d) Graduate Degrees A graduate curriculum shall reflect a concept of the graduate school as a group of scholars, the faculty members of which have had extensive collegiate teaching experience and are engaged in the advancement of knowledge. A graduate degree must involve teaching by such qualified faculty and cannot be earned solely by testing and/or portfolio review.

(A) A master’s degree shall require at least one full academic year in FTE post-baccalaureate study, except that a first-professional master’s degree may be authorized for study beyond fulfillment of undergraduate requirements approved by the Office if the total period of study is at least five academic years. The curriculum shall specialize in a single discipline or single occupational or professional area and culminate in a demonstration of mastery such as a research thesis, a work of art, or the solution of a practical professional problem.

(B) A doctor’s degree shall require at least three academic years in specialized post-baccalaureate FTE study, except that a first-professional doctor’s degree may be authorized for four academic years of study beyond fulfillment of undergraduate requirements approved by the Office. Study for a closely related master’s degree may be counted toward doctoral requirements. The doctor’s degree shall represent a student’s ability to perform independently basic or applied research at the level of the professional scholar or to perform independently the work of a profession that involves the highest levels of knowledge and expertise. Requirements for the degree shall include demonstration of mastery of a significant body of knowledge through comprehensive examination, unless a graduate must pass a similar examination in order to be admitted to professional practice in Oregon. The curricular program of a research degree shall be appropriately broad and shall manifest full understanding of the level and range of doctoral scholarship, the function of a dissertation and its defense, the nature of comprehensive examination, and the distinction between matriculation and degree candidacy.

(7) Learning. The school shall require each student to complete academic assignments and demonstrate learning appropriate to the curriculum undertaken.

(a) Teachers or evaluators shall inform students clearly using a syllabus or similar instrument of what should be learned in each course and how it will be measured.

(b)(A) Expectations of student performance shall be increased with each ascending step in degree level. Higher degrees must represent an increase in the difficulty of work and expectations of students, not simply a cumulation or increase in quantity of student work.

(B) Evidence of expectation (e.g., syllabi and sample exams) and performance (e.g., student grades) shall be retained for all academic courses for at least one year.

(c) The school shall require students to make continuous progress toward a degree while they are enrolled and liable for tuition and shall suspend or dismiss those who do not make such progress, except that a period of probation with guidance may be instituted in order to obviate separation of a student who can be expected to improve immediately. Continuous progress for students receiving Title IV aid shall be defined according to federal Title IV standards. Students not receiving Title IV aid shall meet the school’s own published standards for satisfactory progress.

(d) Grading and appeal procedures shall be fair and administered equitably, and criteria of student progress shall be validated by research if not obviously valid.

 (8) Recruitment:

(a) The school is responsible for insuring that its recruitment agents are knowledgeable about the school’s:

(A) History and accreditation;

(B) Programs of study;

(C) Admission and assessment requirements;

(D) Ability to assist in providing housing and/or job placement;

(E) Financial policies and procedures, including the point at which students can expect to receive financial aid disbursements;

(F) Refund policy;

(G) Graduation requirements and rates;

(H) Rules and regulations;

(I) Placement rates if they are used in recruiting.

(b) The school is responsible for insuring that its recruitment agents are providing accurate, realistic information about the school, its policies and achievements, and its ability to assist students.

(c) A prospective student shall receive a complete description of the school and its policies, including an estimate of annual or program costs, before being enrolled. This estimate is not binding on the institution but must give prospective students a reasonable idea of their financial commitment.

(d) Where a degree or certificate implies preparation for a specific occupation, the school shall explain clearly the true relationship between its curriculum and subsequent student qualification for occupational practice, including employment rates in the field and graduates’ success rates in passing licensure examinations if applicable. Employment rates in the field claimed by a particular program shall treat graduates as employed in the field only if the position in which the graduate is employed meets the following conditions.

(A) is at least half-time.

(B) is usually filled by a person with a credential of the kind offered by the program or is one in which holders of such a credential have a competitive advantage in the workplace because of training of the kind provided by the program.

(C) employs the graduate within six months of program completion in a position that is intended to be permanent, i.e. not for a defined period of time. The school has the burden of showing that the position is intended to be permanent.

(e) The school shall take precautions to avoid unrealistic expectation of housing availability and cost when the school does not provide housing and job placement, including part-time employment and practica during the student’s enrollment.

(f) A claim made to attract students shall be documented by evidence available to any person on request. The school shall make no attempt to attract anyone who does not appear likely to benefit from enrollment, and no attempt to attract students on any basis other than instruction and campus life appropriate to an educational institution.

(g) Outside the regular student financial aid process, there shall be no discounting of tuition as an incentive to enroll.

(9) Admission. The school shall offer admission only on receipt of evidence that the applying student can reasonably expect to complete a degree and to benefit from the education obtained.

(a) A student admitted to undergraduate degree study for the first time shall have either a standard high school diploma, a comparable credential issued outside the United States or a GED. Home-schooled students without a standard diploma or GED may only be admitted if they can demonstrate the ability to perform college-level academic work through use of an ability-to-benefit test. Modified diplomas, extended diplomas and other kinds of K-12 leaver certificates are not considered diplomas for purposes of college admissions. Students holding such nonstandard certificates can be admitted only through use of an ability-to-benefit test.

(b) A student admitted to undergraduate degree study with undergraduate experience shall have a record of successful performance therein or else a record of responsibility and achievement following unsuccessful collegiate performance.

(c) A student admitted to graduate degree study shall have a baccalaureate degree from a school that is accredited, authorized to confer degrees in Oregon, or otherwise approved by the Office either individually or by category.

(d) A student admitted to first-professional degree study shall have at least three academic years of accredited or ODA-approved undergraduate credit, graded average or better, including pre-professional courses specified by the school and approved by the Office.

(10) Guidance. The school shall help students to understand the curriculum and to make the best use of it.

(a) There shall be a program of general orientation for new students.

(b) Each student shall be assigned a qualified academic advisor to assist individually in planning, course selection, learning methods, and general adjustment.

(c) The school shall provide career guidance to the extent that curriculum is related to a specific prospective occupation or profession.

(11) Student Affairs. Through both services and supervision the school shall demonstrate commitment to the success of individual students and to maintenance of an atmosphere conducive to learning.

(a) Rules of student conduct shall be reasonable, sufficiently specific, fully communicated, systematically and equitably enforced, and accompanied by policy and practice of disciplinary due process, including notice and hearing and related rights.

(b) Health, counseling or psychological services provided to students must meet requirements for professional practice in Oregon.

(c) Housing where provided or endorsed by the school shall be conducive to study and adequately supervised.

(d) Financial aid services shall be provided by qualified administrators.

(e) Placement services where provided shall be described clearly to students, and the school shall take precautions to avoid unrealistic expectation of placement.

(f) Records documenting relationships between the school and a student shall be open to that student, who may request changes or enter dissenting comments, and the content of records shall be objective and fair. The private notes of a counselor are not to be considered educational records and shall not be transmitted as such, either inside or outside the school. All medical records are confidential and shall not be released without permission of the patient.

(g) There shall be available to undergraduate students and responsible for student affairs an official who possesses knowledge, skill, and managerial experience particularly appropriate to the function, unless the Office waives this requirement. In general, waivers are granted only for small startup schools in their first approval cycle and for schools that mainly teach people who are of nontraditional age (23 or older) or already in the workforce.

(h) Every school shall distribute a student handbook or similar publication describing services and regulations, unless such descriptions are complete in the school’s main catalog.

(12) Information. The school shall be scrupulously ethical in all communication with the public and with prospective students. School publications, advertisements, and statements shall be wholly accurate and in no way misleading. Reference to state approval shall be limited to that described in OAR 583-030-0041. Reference to accreditation shall be limited to that defined in OAR 583-030-0015(2)

(a) The school shall publish at least every two years a catalog or general bulletin. The catalog shall contain a table of contents and adequate information concerning period covered, school name and address, telephone numbers, state approval, purpose, relationship to occupational qualification, faculty and administrators (listing position or teaching specialization together with all earned degrees and their sources, omitting unearned degrees and not confusing professional licenses with degrees), degree requirements and curricula, academic calendar, credit policy in accordance with OAR 583-030-0035(5), transferability of credit to other schools, admission requirements and procedures, academic advising and career planning, academic policies and grading, rules of conduct and disciplinary procedure, student services (counseling, health, placement, housing, food, bookstore, activities, organizations), student records, library, facilities, fees and refunds, estimated total expenses, financial aid, and job opportunities for current students. Electronic publication meets this standard provided that a paper version of the catalog is provided to ODA, is available to students upon request and is maintained as the “official” version in order to avoid confusion if electronic versions are changed.

(b) A school without regional accreditation shall print in a separate section of its catalog titled “transfer of credit to other schools” a statement warning students verbatim that “transfer of credit is always at the discretion of the receiving school, generally depends on comparability of curricula, and may depend on comparability of accreditation.” Other comments may follow concerning the school’s documented experience in credit transferability, but it must be clear that a student should make no assumptions about credit transfer.

(13) Credentials. The school shall provide accurate and appropriate credit transcripts for students who enroll and diplomas for students who graduate.

(a) The school shall maintain for every past and present student, and shall issue at the request of any student who is not delinquent in fee payment, a current transcript of credits and degrees earned. The transcript shall identify the school fully and explain the academic calendar, length of term, credit structure, and grading system. It shall identify the student and show all prior degrees earned, details of any credit transferred or otherwise awarded at entry, and periods of enrollment. It shall include for each period of enrollment every completed course or module with an understandable title, number of credits earned, and grade received. The transcript shall note with or without explanation if the student is not immediately eligible to continue enrollment, e.g., for reasons of academic probation or suspension.

(b) Upon satisfaction of degree requirements and payment of all fees owed, the school shall provide the graduating student with a diploma in a form approved by the Office, appropriately documenting conferral of the degree.

(14) Records. The school shall keep accurate and safe all records affecting students. There shall be at all times complete duplicate transcript information kept in a location away from the original transcripts, such that duplicates and originals are not exposed to risk of simultaneous damage. In addition to transcripts, which may never be destroyed, the school shall maintain detailed records documenting the significant parts of its formal relationship with each student: financial transactions and accounts, admission qualifications, validation of advanced standing, instructor course records as posted to transcripts, and status changes due to unsatisfactory performance or conduct. Such supporting records shall be kept safe for a period of at least three years after a student has discontinued enrollment. Instructor course records other than those posted to transcripts shall be kept for at least one year.

(15) Library. The school shall provide or arrange for its faculty and students direct or electronic access to verbal and sensory materials sufficient in all subjects of the curriculum to support instruction and to stimulate research or independent study.

(a) The school may arrange for comprehensive privileges from libraries of other organizations, provided it can prove convenient access and extensive use, but the school shall retain full responsibility for adequacy of resources available to students.

(b) Library services shall be under the direction of a person educated professionally in library and information studies, except that the Office may waive this requirement where the range of academic fields represented is narrow.

(c) Library resources shall be current, well distributed among fields in which the institution offers instruction, cataloged, logically organized, and readily located.

(d) The school should conform to the following guidelines for library services unless it can justify a deviation on the basis of unusual educational requirements.

(A) With the exception of those in specialized associate’s degree programs, students should receive direct, contracted or electronic access to a minimal basic collection equivalent to that held by accredited schools offering similar programs. The applicant school must demonstrate this comparability.

(B) Staff should include a professional librarian for each 1,000 students, with clerical support adequate to relieve librarians of all non-professional duties.

(C) Students should have full access to all resources for at least 40 hours per week, and all services should be available for 20 hours per week. The facility, whether provided by the college directly or by contract, should seat no less than 10 percent of the students enrolled unless the program is primarily intended to train practitioners in technical or fine arts fields, in which case a lower percentage may be requested. If the school meets the library standard largely by electronic means, electronic services must be available to a comparable portion of the student body for a comparable period.

(16) Facilities. The school shall have buildings and equipment sufficient for the achievement of all educational objectives.

(a) Buildings in general, including student or faculty housing units, shall be uncrowded, safe, clean, well furnished, and in good repair; and they shall be well lighted, heated, ventilated, and protected from noise. School grounds where provided shall be appropriately used and adequately maintained.

(b) Instructional facilities shall be adequate and conducive to learning. There shall be no less than 15 square feet per student station in classrooms, with at least one station for every two FTE students enrolled. Total classroom and study area, including library space for reading, shall be no less than 10 square feet per FTE student.

(c) Laboratory space and instructional equipment shall be inventoried, its use explained on the resulting report, and its adequacy defended on criteria obtained from experts and documented by the school. A laboratory ordinarily shall have no less than 30 square feet per student station.

(d) Clinical facilities and other public service areas shall be appropriate for instruction of students as well as for service to patients or clients.

(e) Faculty offices shall be sufficient to prevent crowding and to allow private conversations with students.

(17) Finance. The school shall have financial resources sufficient to ensure successful continuing operation and to guarantee full refund of any unearned tuition. There shall be competent financial planning using complete and accurate records. The school shall demonstrate satisfaction of this standard upon application, and thereafter annually, by submitting independently audited financial statements with opinion by a certified public accountant.

(a) Financial reports shall be prepared in a format acceptable to the Office, clearly delineating assets and liabilities and informatively classifying revenues by source and expenditures by function. In some cases, the Office at its discretion may accept an audited balance sheet with opinion, together with annual operating statements that have been reviewed by the auditor. A school that is a subsidiary shall submit financial statements of the parent corporation on request. In unusual circumstances, the Office may require a special investigative audit and report.

(b) Current assets shall be entirely tangible and such that the school is not dependent for solvency on substantial increases in receivables collection rate, gifts, tuition rates, or enrollment. Prospective tuition for which a student is not legally liable is not an asset and shall not be shown as a receivable or other balance sheet asset. Tuition collected but still subject to refund shall be shown as a “prepaid” or “unearned” tuition liability.

(c) A school unable to demonstrate financial strength may be permitted at the discretion of the Office to submit a surety bond in amount equal to the largest amount of prepaid tuition held at any time. The bond would be subject to claims for tuition refund only.

(d) The school shall carry casualty and general liability insurance sufficient to guarantee continuity in case of accident or negligence, and it shall provide or else require by policy professional liability insurance for all of its officers and employees.

(18) Fees and Refunds. The school shall maintain fee and refund policies that are fair, uniformly administered, and clearly explained in the school catalog as well as in any contract made with students. A student shall not be enrolled without having received the explanatory material. The school shall not change its tuition or fees more than once during a calendar year.

(a) Tuition shall be charged by the credit hour or by fixed rate for instruction during an academic semester, quarter, or shorter term. No student is obligated for tuition charged for a term that had not commenced when the student withdrew or a term that was truncated by cessation of school services.

(b) Except as noted below in this section, fees not included in tuition shall not exceed five percent of full-time tuition for any term in which separate fees are charged. One-time application or admission fees may exceed 5 percent of first-term tuition but shall not exceed $200. Lab or equipment fees related to the actual necessary operational costs of specific courses may exceed 5 percent of tuition provided that the fees are made known to students prior to enrollment in the course. Nominal fees for late payments, course withdrawals and the like are acceptable.

(c) After classes begin for a term, a student who withdraws from a course is eligible for a partial refund through the middle week of the term. Refunds shall be based on unused instructional time and shall be prorated on a weekly basis for schools using a semester, quarter or nontraditional calendar. Without specific Office approval, refund rates shall not be differentiated on the criteria of a student’s source of income or loan repayment obligations except as otherwise required by law.

(d) Any fees for credit transferred, for credit attempted or earned by examination or portfolio must be based on the cost of service actually provided, ordinarily less than the cost of regular instruction. The mere award of credit does not justify a fee.

(e) Academic policies shall not artificially prolong the enrollment of a failing student with the effect of increasing financial obligation.

(f) Separation from the school for reason of discipline or other administrative action shall not cause forfeiture of ordinary refund amounts.

(19) Evaluation. The school shall, in order to improve programs, evaluate its own educational effectiveness continually in relation to purpose and planning, including in all aspects the opinions of students. There shall be evaluation of present curriculum and instruction, of attrition and reasons for student withdrawal, and of performance by students after their graduation. In addition to the comments of graduates, employer opinions and licensing examination records should be used in the post-graduation study.

(20) Fair Practice. Notwithstanding the absence of a specific standard or prohibition in this rule, no school authorized to offer degrees or seeking to qualify for such authorization shall engage in any practice that is fraudulent, dishonest, unethical, unsafe, exploitive, irresponsible, deceptive, or inequitable and thus harmful or unfair to persons with whom it deals.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 348.606

Stats. Implemented: ORS 348.603 & 348.606

Hist.: ECC 22, f. & ef. 12-22-75; ECC 2-1980, f. & ef. 4-14-80; ECC 3-1981, f. & ef. 12-16-81; EPP 1-1988, f. & cert. ef. 1-7-88; EPP 1-1995, f. & cert. ef. 10-6-95; EPP 1-1996, f. & cert. ef. 8-7-96; ODA 2-1998, f. & cert. ef. 8-12-98; ODA 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 6-27-01; ODA 1-2002, f. & cert. ef. 2-19-02; ODA 1-2003, f. & cert. ef. 4-16-03; ODA 4-2003, f. 10-29-03, cert. ef. 11-1-03; ODA 2-2004(Temp), f. & cert. ef. 2-11-04 thru 7-30-04; Administrative correction 8-19-04; ODA 5-2005, f. 12-1-05, cert. ef. 12-7-05; ODA 2-2010, f. & cert. ef. 11-16-10


Rule Caption: Defines honorary and earned degrees. Clarifies limits on use of honorary degrees.

Adm. Order No.: ODA 3-2010

Filed with Sec. of State: 11-16-2010

Certified to be Effective: 11-16-10

Notice Publication Date: 7-1-2010

Rules Amended: 583-050-0011, 583-050-0016

Subject: Clarifies the definition of “degree” to include both earned and honorary degrees. Sets forth limits on use of honorary degrees.

Rules Coordinator: Beverly R. Boyd—(541) 687-7394


Definitions of Terms

(1) “Office” means Office of Degree Authorization, as represented by the administrator or designated agent.

(2)(a) “Degree” means any earned or honorary title, rank, or status designated by a symbol or by a series of letters or words-such as, but not limited to, associate, bachelor, master, doctor, and forms or abbreviations thereof, that signifies, purports, or may generally be taken to signify:

(A) Completion of a course of instruction at the college or university level; or

(B) Demonstration of achievement or proficiency comparable to such completion; or

(C) Recognition for non-academic learning, public service, or other reason of distinction comparable to such completion.

(b) “Degree” does not refer to a certificate or diploma signified by a series of letters or words unlikely to be confused with a degree, clearly intended not to be mistaken for a degree, and represented to the public so as to prevent such confusion or error.

(c) “Honorary Degree” means a credential awarded by an accredited or approved school in recognition of the recipient’s personal merits unrelated to academic achievement demonstrated through course work or equivalent work taken at the awarding school.

(d) “Earned degree” means a degree awarded based on academic work evaluated and accepted by qualified faculty in the context of a specific degree program, based on the Carnegie credit system as set forth in OAR 583-030-0035(5) or an equivalent as determined by ODA.

(3) “Confer a degree” means give, grant, award, bestow, or present orally or in writing any symbol or series of letters or words that would lead the recipient to believe it was a degree that had been received.

(4) “Claim a degree” means to present orally, or in writing or in electronic form any symbol or series of letters or words that would lead the listener or reader to believe a degree had been received and is possessed by the person speaking or writing, for purposes related to employment, application for employment, professional advancement, qualification for public office, teaching, offering professional services or any other use as a public credential, whether or not such use results in monetary gain.

(5) “School” includes a person, organization, school or institution of learning that confers or offers to confer an academic degree upon a person or to provide academic credit applicable to a degree. The activities attributable to a school include instruction, measurement of achievement or proficiency, or recognition of educational attainment or comparable public distinction.

(6) “Accredited” means accredited and approved to offer degrees at the specified level by an agency or association recognized as an accreditor by the U.S. Secretary of Education, under the 1965 Higher Education Act as amended at the time of recognition, or having candidacy status with such an accrediting agency or association whose pre-accreditation is also recognized specifically for HEA purposes by the Secretary of Education.

(7) “Foreign equivalent of such accreditation” means authorization by a non-U.S. government found by ODA to have adequate academic standards. This determination may be made through one or more of the following methods at ODA’s discretion:

(a) Direct investigation of foreign standards;

(b) Reliance on an evaluation and determination made by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO); or

(c) Evaluation of the transferability of courses and degrees earned in the foreign country to accredited Oregon institutions at similar degree levels.

(8) “Academic Standards” means those standards in 583-030-0035 or the equivalent standards of an accrediting body that relate to admission requirements, length of program, content of curriculum, award of credit and faculty qualifications.

(9) “Standard School” means a school that meets the requirements of ORS 348.609(1) for degree use without a disclaimer.

(10) “Nonstandard School” means a degree provider that has legal authority to issue degrees valid in its authorizing jurisdiction, but which does not meet the requirements to be a standard school.

(11) “Diploma mill” or “degree mill” means an entity that meets any one of the following conditions as defined in ORS 348.594:

(a) A school against which a court or public body, as defined in ORS 174.109, has issued a ruling or finding, after due process procedures, that the school has engaged in dishonest, fraudulent or deceptive practices related to the award of degrees, academic standards or student learning requirements; or

(b) Is an entity without legal authority as a school to issue degrees valid as credentials in the jurisdiction that authorizes issuance of degrees.

(12) Valid degree means a degree issued by a standard school or by a nonstandard school if the disclaimer required by ORS 348.609(2) is used.

(13) “College level work” required for a degree means academic or technical work at a level demonstrably higher than that required in the final year of high school and demonstrably higher than work required for degrees at a lower level than the degree in question. From lowest to highest, degree levels are associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral. Professional degree levels may vary. College level work is characterized by analysis, synthesis and application in which students demonstrate an integration of knowledge, skills and critical thinking. Award of credit for achieving appropriate scores on ODA-approved nationally normed college-level examinations such as those from College Level Examination Program, American Council on Education, Advanced Placement or New York Regents meets this standard.

(14) “Disclaimer” when appended to a published reference to a degree means the following statement from statute: “(Name of school) does not have accreditation recognized by the United States Department of Education and has not been approved by the Office of Degree Authorization.”

[Publications: Publications referenced are available from the agency.]

Stat. Auth.: ORS 348.609

Stats. Implemented: ORS 348.603 & 348.609

Hist.: ODA 2-1998, f. & cert. ef. 8-12-98; ODA 3-2000, f. & cert. ef. 8-8-00; ODA 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 6-27-01; ODA 3-2003, f. 10-29-03, cert. ef. 11-1-03; ODA 2-2005, f. & cert. ef. 3-3-05; ODA 3-2005, f. 9-27-05, cert. ef. 9-30-05; ODA 1-06, f. & cert. ef. 6-23-06; ODA 1-2008, f. & cert. ef. 2-7-08; ODA 3-2010, f. & cert. ef. 11-16-10


Validation of a Secular Degree

(1) Any person claiming in Oregon to possess an academic degree shall, upon request from the Office of Degree Authorization, have an official transcript of the degree sent directly to the Office from the registrar or other appropriate official of the conferring school.

(2) Where validation of a degree by telephone or electronic means seems readily obtainable from a school, the Office at its discretion may postpone with option of waiver the requirement for a transcript upon receiving from the degree claimant the name, address, and telephone number of the conferring school. Requirement of one or more transcripts may be reinstated at any time if other methods of validation are not sufficient for a conclusive determination.

(3) Upon receipt of evidence of a valid degree, the Office shall inform the degree claimant that a validation has been entered into the record, which shall specify any title and abbreviation that may be used to claim the degree.

(4) Honorary degrees must be distinguished from earned degrees.

(a) Any person claiming in Oregon to hold an honorary degree must label any written use of the degree using the word “honorary” or the abbreviation “hon.” in order to make the public aware that the degree is not an earned credential. Any oral reference to the degree must be accompanied by a reasonable effort to ensure that listeners are made aware that it is honorary.

(b) Any person using an honorary doctorate may not use the title “Doctor” or “Dr.” unless the word “honorary” or the abbreviation “hon.” accompanies the claim in a clear and visible form, or is stated orally when an honorary doctorate is used as the basis for an oral use of the title.

(c) An honorary degree may not be used as a credential for employment in Oregon.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 348.609

Stats. Implemented: ORS 348.603 & 348.609

Hist.: ODA 2-1998, f. & cert. ef. 8-12-98; ODA 1-2001, f. & cert. ef. 6-27-01; ODA 3-2003, f. 10-29-03, cert. ef. 11-1-03; ODA 3-2010, f. & cert. ef. 11-16-10

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