Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–1310. Exempt institutions.

(a) The following types of educational institutions or activities are excluded from the coverage of this chapter:

(1) Courses of instruction not purporting to lead to a degree conducted by any person solely for the training of the employees of the person, and for which no fee is charged;

(2) Education offered by the District or federal government or any instrumentality of the governments, except course approval for veterans under an Act to amend Chapter 35 of Title 38, United States Code, to provide that after the expiration of the Korean conflict veterans’ education and training program, approval of courses under the war orphan’s educational assistance program shall be by State approving agencies (38 U.S.C. § 3500 et seq.);

(3) Education solely avocational or recreational in nature and not leading to a degree and institutions offering the education exclusively, as determined by the Commission;

(4) Education offered by an eleemosynary or nonprofit institution, organization, or agency, if no fee is charged for the education and no credit toward a degree or any degree, diploma, or certificate is awarded;

(5) Courses or programs of instruction given by or approved by a professional body, fraternal organization, civic club, or benevolent order principally for the professional education of its own members or advancement or similar purpose and for which no degree or degree credit is awarded and for which there is no public advertising; and

(6) An educational institution that is organized or chartered outside of the District of Columbia and does not operate in the District of Columbia, except that any agent of an institution who operates in the District shall not be exempt, and the Commission may apply the standards of this chapter to the institution in determining whether to license an agent.

(b) A degree-granting institution shall be entitled to a conditional exemption from all other provisions of this chapter if, upon request to the Commission:

(1) It can show that it has been authorized by the Congress of the United States to grant degrees;

(2) It is accredited by a regional accrediting association recognized by the United States Department of Education;

(3) It files annually with the Commission the following:

(A) A current audited financial statement of the institution;

(B) A certified statement as to the institution’s accreditation status, including whether any conditions have been imposed and whether any action has been taken toward revoking or limiting that status; and

(C) A copy of each course catalogue and a response to the Commission’s annual data survey;

(4) It makes provision for a representative of the Commission to serve as an observer on all visits to the institution by evaluators from a regional accrediting association; and

(5) It furnishes to the Commission a copy of all reports submitted to and received from the accreditation association, including the reports of an evaluation submitted to the institution by the accrediting association and notices of accrediting association action regarding accreditation of the institution.

(c) An institution entitled to a conditional exemption under subsection (b) of this section that is required by a regional accrediting association to show cause why its accreditation should not be revoked, or that has had its accreditation withdrawn, shall notify the Commission immediately of the action by the regional accrediting association. The exemption shall expire and the institution shall become fully subject to the licensing requirements of this chapter as of the date it receives notice of the withdrawal of accreditation status by the regional accrediting association.

(d) The Commission, upon request, may reinstate an institution’s conditional exemption once accreditation is re-established and the Commission has determined that it meets the provisions of this chapter appropriate to the exempt status.

(e) A conditional exemption authorized by this section extends only to programs or courses within the scope of the institution’s accreditation as certified by the accrediting association.

(f) The Commission shall issue a conditional exemption to an off-campus program offered within the District of Columbia by an unconditionally accredited degree training institution or group of institutions. All other requirements of conditional exemptions under this section shall apply to the programs, when the Commission determines that:

(1) The local offering is for the institution’s own students, regularly enrolled on its home campus and does not fulfill more than 25% of the normal degree requirements; or

(2) The local offering is open only to employees of a person, and there is no cost to the employee.

(g) Nothing shall be stated or implied, in any diploma, degree, certificate, or document evidencing same, or elsewhere in the publications or correspondence of the institution that a program excluded from the requirements of this chapter has been reviewed, approved, or authorized by the Commission, the District government or any officer of the District government.

(h) Any self study undertaken by an educational institution as part of the accreditation process, any site evaluation by an accrediting association, or any other report submitted by the educational institution to the accrediting association or by the accrediting association to the educational institution that contains an evaluation judgment about the institution that is not prepared for publication shall, when submitted to the Commission in accordance with this chapter, be exempt from public disclosure under the provisions of subchapter II of Chapter 5 of Title 2, and the Commission shall not disclose the report or take official licensure action solely on the basis of the contents of the report. The Commission shall disclose whether or not an educational institution has received the award, reaffirmation, amendment, or revocation of accreditation from an accrediting association.


(Apr. 6, 1977, D.C. Law 1-104, § 10; as added Mar. 16, 1989, D.C. Law 7-217, § 2(h), 36 DCR 523; Mar. 8, 1991, D.C. Law 8-239, § 2(e), 38 DCR 333; Feb. 5, 1994, D.C. Law 10-68, § 29(b), 40 DCR 6311.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 31-1610.