Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–1302. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) “Agent” means any person owning any interest in, employed by, or representing for remuneration, an educational institution, whether such institution is located within or outside the District, and who solicits or offers to enroll in the District students or enrollees for such institution, or who holds himself or herself out to residents of the District of Columbia as representing an educational institution for any such purpose.

(1a) “Accredited” means approved by an accrediting association recognized by the United States Department of Education.

(2) “District” means the District of Columbia.

(3) “Person” includes, but is not limited to, any individual, group of individuals, firm, partnership, corporation, association, company, society, trust, or any other entity whatsoever.

(4) “Educational institution” means:

(A) Any entity or person organized or chartered in the District that operates, keeps, or maintains any facility in the District through which educational instruction is offered;

(B) Any branch, extension, or facility of an entity that operates, keeps, or maintains any facility in the District through which educational instruction is offered, but organized or chartered outside of the District, that furnishes or offers to furnish in the District instruction or educational services leading toward a postsecondary degree, diploma, or certificate; or

(C) An entity that is organized or chartered and that operates outside of the District of Columbia, but through agents or an online presence offers instruction or educational services to residents of the District.

(4a) “Certificate” or “diploma” means a document, designation, mark, appellation, series of letters or words, academic or honorary title, or other symbol that signifies, purports or is generally taken to signify satisfactory completion of the requirements of an academic, educational, vocational or professional program of study at the postsecondary level, but does not include completion of a program for a degree.

(5) “Degree” means a document, designation, mark, appellation, series of letters or words, academic or honorary titles, or other symbol that signifies, purports or is generally taken to signify satisfactory completion of the requirements of an academic, educational, or professional program of study for the associate, bachelor, master or doctor level of college or university education.

(6) “To grant or to confer” includes awarding, selling, conferring, bestowing, or giving.

(7) “Education”, “educational service”, or a like term means a class, course, or program of instruction or study at the postsecondary level in whatever form, manner, or medium provided, whether by personal attendance, online instruction, or by other means.

(8) “To offer” includes, in addition to its usual meanings, advertising, publicizing, soliciting, or encouraging any person, directly or indirectly, in any form, to perform the act described.

(9) “Chairman of the Council” means Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia.

(10) “Commission” means Higher Education Licensure Commission.

(11) “To operate” or “operating” when applied to an educational institution means to establish, keep, or maintain any facility or location in the District, or to establish, keep, or maintain any facility or location organized or chartered in the District wherefrom or through which education is offered or given, or educational credentials are offered or granted, and includes contracting with any person, group, or entity to perform any such act.

(12) “License” or “to license” means the granting of approval to operate by the Commission to any educational institution covered under this chapter. Such approval shall be contingent upon said educational institution’s compliance with all rules, regulations and criteria promulgated by the Commission, as well as compliance with all other applicable D.C. laws and regulations.

(12A) “Non-profit” means an organization or institution that is exempt from federal income tax under the provisions of 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3) and that meets the requirements of Chapter 4 of Title 29.

(12B) “Postsecondary” means the level of education beyond high school.

(13) “Proprietary school” means any privately-owned educational institution operated for a profit.

(14) “Facility” means a physical structure located in the District, including suitable housing, classrooms, laboratories, and library resources, as required by the nature of the program or the student body.

(15)(A) “Online instruction” means education, whether known as virtual class, correspondence course, distance learning, or other like term, where the learner and instructor are not physically in the same place at the same time, that is delivered through an electronic medium such as the Internet, Web-based form, or real time or recorded video or digital form, and that is offered or provided by an educational institution to District residents who are physically present in the District.

(B) The education provided pursuant to subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be deemed delivered through an online presence in the District.

(16) “Online presence” means the delivery of online instruction by an educational institution.

(17) "Reciprocity agreement" means an agreement joined by the District of Columbia with other member states, districts, or U.S. territories that establishes national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs.


(Apr. 6, 1977, D.C. Law 1-104, title II, § 201, 23 DCR 8734; Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-217, § 2(b), 36 DCR 523; Mar. 8, 1991, D.C. Law 8-239, § 2(a), (b), 38 DCR 333; Aug. 16, 2008, D.C. Law 17-219, § 4010(a), 55 DCR 7598; July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 3(cc), 58 DCR 1720; Feb. 27, 2016, D.C. Law 21-74, § 2(a), 63 DCR 252; Oct. 8, 2016, D.C. Law 21-160, § 4102(a), 63 DCR 10775.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-1602.

1973 Ed., § 31-2002.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-219 rewrote pars. (4)(A) and (B); and added par. (14).

D.C. Law 18-378, in par. (12A), substituted “Chapter 4 of Title 29” for “subchapter I of Chapter 3 of Title 29”.

The 2016 amendment by D.C. Law 21-74 substituted “by personal attendance, online instruction, or by other means” for “by personal attendance or correspondence” in (7); substituted “Higher Education Licensure Commission” for “Education Licensure Commission” in (10); and added (15) and 16).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Higher Education Licensure Commission Clarification Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-367, Apr. 27, 2016, 63 DCR 6842).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Education Licensure Commission Emergency Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Act 20-529, Dec. 19, 2014, 62 DCR 4, 20 STAT 4449).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Higher Education Licensure Commission Emergency Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-158, Oct. 16, 2015, 62 DCR 13715).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Higher Education Licensure Commission Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-284, Jan. 27, 2016, 63 DCR 1188).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of Higher Education Licensure Commission Clarification Temporary Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Law 21-127, July 1, 2016, 63 DCR 7102).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Education Licensure Commission Temporary Amendment Act of 2014 (D.C. Law 20-239, March 13, 2015, 62 DCR 1329).

For temporary (225 days) amendment of this section, see § 2(a) of the Higher Education Licensure Commission Temporary Amendment Act of 2015 (D.C. Law 21-51, Jan. 9, 2016, 62 DCR 13983).

Short Title

Short title: Section 4009 of D.C. Law 17-219 provided that subtitle D of title IV of the act may be cited as the “Education Licensure Commission Amendment Act of 2008”.

Editor's Notes

Licensing of proprietary schools: For amendment of proprietary school regulation related to the licensing of proprietary schools, see § 2 of the Proprietary School Regulations Amendment Act of 1982 (D.C. Law 4-134, 29 DCR 2748).