Oregon Student Assistance Commission,
Office of Degree Authorization Chapter 583
Caption: Brings rules into compliance with
2009 OR Laws Ch. 172 (SB 114) .
Order No.: ODA 1-2010
Filed with Sec. of State: 11-16-2010
Certified to be
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.
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
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
Caption: Revises standards related to
faculty qualifications, job placement and admissions.
Order No.: ODA 2-2010
Filed with Sec. of
Certified to be
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.
(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
(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
(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.
(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
(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.
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(7) Learning. The school shall require each student to
complete academic assignments and demonstrate learning appropriate to the
(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.
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(f) Separation from the school for reason of discipline
or other administrative action shall not cause forfeiture of ordinary refund
(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
Stat. Auth.: ORS 348.606
Stats. Implemented: ORS 348.603
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
Caption: Defines honorary and earned
degrees. Clarifies limits on use of honorary degrees.
Order No.: ODA 3-2010
Filed with Sec. of
Certified to be
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
(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
(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
(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)
(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.”
referenced are available from the agency.]
Stat. Auth.: ORS 348.609
Stats. Implemented: ORS 348.603
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
(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
(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
(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
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
Notes 1.) This online version of the OREGON BULLETIN is provided for convenience of reference and enhanced access. The official, record copy of this publication is contained in the original Administrative Orders and Rulemaking Notices filed with the Secretary of State, Archives Division. Discrepancies, if any, are satisfied in favor of the original versions. Use the OAR Revision Cumulative Index found in the Oregon Bulletin to access a numerical list of rulemaking actions after November 15, 2010.