§ 8501 Definitions.
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Agent” means a person employed by a school as defined herein, whether such school is located within or outside Delaware, to act as an agent, solicitor, broker or independent contractor to directly procure students or enrollees for such school by solicitation in any form made at any place in this State other than the office or place of business of the school.
(2) “Board” means the State Board of Education.
(3) “Private business school,” “private trade school,” “trade school” or “school” means an educational institution privately owned and operated for profit or nonprofit by an owner, partnership or corporation, offering business or trade and industrial courses for which tuition may or may not be charged, and which may include those courses usually associated with business training schools, trade schools, specialized skill training schools or institutes, and other related subjects of a similar character or subjects of general education when they contribute values to the objectives of the course of study. Classes or courses may be identified by reference to Vocational Education and Occupations published by the United States Office of Education, or The Dictionary of Occupational Titles published by the United States Department of Labor; or lists prepared and promulgated from time to time by the Delaware State Department of Education, and in every case by evaluation of the information presented in the application required by § 8504, § 8507 and other applicable sections of this title. Classes in any of the subjects herein referred to which are taught or coached in homes or elsewhere are included in the term “school.”
(4) “Secretary” means the Secretary of Education.
§ 8502 Advisory committee on private business and trade schools.
(a) The Secretary of Education shall appoint an advisory committee of 5 persons whose function it shall be to advise the Secretary relative to the administration of this chapter in regard to policies concerning the conduct of private business schools serving clients in the State.
(b) One of the members of the committee shall be an executive or managerial person in a private business school in the State; 1 shall be a person occupied in commerce or industry in this State in an executive or managerial position; 1 shall be an executive or managerial person in a private trade school in the State; 1 shall be the president of the Delaware Technical and Community College system; and 1 shall have, for at least 5 years, occupied managerial positions concerned primarily with the use of computers.
(c) Members of the advisory committee, except the president of the Delaware Technical and Community College, shall serve for rotating terms of 4 years. At the initial meeting of the committee, members shall draw lots to determine the length of terms for 1, 2, 3 or 4 years. The Secretary of Education shall appoint a person from the staff of the State Department of Education to serve as chairperson and secretary to the committee and shall provide the necessary clerical services to the committee from within the State Department of Education.
(d) Members of the advisory committee shall receive no salary or compensation for the performance of committee duties but shall be entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in carrying out the assignments of the committee. The rate of such expenses shall be in accordance with any statutes from time to time promulgated by the State or according to rules and regulations adopted by the Department of Education.
§ 8503 Necessity for certificate of approval; person eligible; nontransferability; display; approved list.
(a) No person, partnership or corporation, whether its main office be located within or outside the State, shall conduct a private school or classes as herein defined, or instruct individuals in business or trade subjects in this State, without having been issued a certificate of approval by the Department. A person, partnership or corporation shall be qualified to receive a certificate of approval who complies with every standard, rule and regulation of the Department pertaining to this chapter, who pays the fee for a certificate of approval, and whose school, after an examination conducted under the direction of the Department, is approved by the Department. Such certificates of approval are not transferable.
(b) The certificate of approval shall be prominently displayed at some place on the premises of the school open to the inspection of all interested persons.
(c) The Department shall maintain open to public inspection a list of schools approved under this chapter and may annually publish such list.
§ 8504 Application for certificate; contents.
Every person, partnership or corporation desiring to obtain a certificate of approval shall make a verified application to the Department setting forth the following information:
(1) The title or name of a school, together with ownership and controlling officers thereof;
(2) The specific fields and courses of instruction which will be offered;
(3) The place or places where such instruction will be given and a description of the physical and sanitary facilities thereof;
(4) A specific listing of the equipment available for instruction in each field and course;
(5) The educational and teaching qualifications of instructors and supervisors;
(6) The financial resources available to equip and maintain the school;
(7) The entrance requirements for admission to each program offered by the school, and a copy or example of the instrument or instruments used to test for admission to each program.
a. If an institution admits as a regular student a person who does not have a high school diploma or its equivalent, the institution shall determine, at the time of admission, whether that person has the ability to benefit from the education or training the institution offers.
b. An institution shall determine whether a person described in paragraph (7)a. of this section has the requisite ability by administering to the person a nationally recognized, standardized or industry developed test approved by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education and shall include the test and results in the student’s record; or by providing evidence that an assessment of the person’s basic skills and aptitudes has been conducted and that the assessment indicates that the person has the ability to benefit from the education or training the institution offers and shall include the method used and results in the student’s record.
§ 8505 Application commitments.
(a) Each application for a certificate of approval shall also contain the following commitments:
(1) To conduct the school in accordance with standards, rules and regulations from time to time established by the Department;
(2) To agree to provide a surety company bond for the protection of the contractual rights of students in such form and amount as will meet the approval of the Department and written by a company authorized to do business in this State. Such bonds shall be deposited with the Secretary of State. The amount of the surety bond shall be determined in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, except that in no case shall the surety bond of a business and trade school covered by this chapter be for less than $25,000 per calendar year;
(3) a. As a condition for granting certification, each school must maintain a cancellation and settlement policy which must provide a full refund of all moneys paid by a student if:
1. The student cancels the enrollment agreement or contract within 72 hours (until midnight of the 3rd day excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) after the enrollment contract is signed by the prospective student;
2. The enrollment of the student was procured as the result of any misrepresentation in advertising, promotional materials of the school or representations by the owner or representative of the school.
b. As a condition for granting certification, each school must maintain a policy for the refund of the unused portion of tuition, fees and other charges in the event the student, after expiration of the 72-hour cancellation privilege, fails to enter the course, or withdraws or is discontinued therefrom at any time prior to completion, and such policy must provide:
1. Refunds for private business and trade school courses will be based on the period of enrollment computed on the basis of course time expressed in clock hours;
2. The effective date of the termination for refund purposes in private business and trade schools will be the earliest of the following:
A. The last date of attendance, if the student is terminated by the school;
B. The date of receipt of written notice from the student;
C. Ten school days following the last date of attendance;
3. If tuition is collected in advance of entrance, and if, after expiration of the 72-hour cancellation privilege, the student does not enter the private business and trade school, not more than $100 shall be retained by the school;
4. For the student who enters a private business and trade school course of not more than 12 months in length terminates or withdraws, the school may retain $100 of tuition and fees and the minimum refund of the remaining tuition will be:
A. After 0.01 percent enrollment time of the course, 80 percent of the remaining tuition;
B. After 5 percent to 9.9 percent enrollment time of the course, 70 percent of the remaining tuition;
C. After 10 percent to 14.9 percent enrollment time of the course, 60 percent of the remaining tuition;
D. After 15 percent to 24.9 percent enrollment time of the course, 55 percent of the remaining tuition;
E. After 25 percent to 49.9 percent enrollment time of the course, 30 percent of the remaining tuition;
F. After 50 percent or more enrollment time of the course, the student may be considered obligated for the full tuition;
Enrollment time is the time elapsed between the actual starting date and the date of the student’s last day of physical attendance in the school;
5. For private business and trade courses more than 12 months in length, the refund shall be applied to each 12-month period, or part thereof, separately;
6. Refunds of items of extra expense to the student, such as instructional supplies, books, student activities, laboratory fees and service charges, where these items are separately stated and shown in the data furnished the student before enrollment, will be made in a reasonable manner acceptable to the administrator;
7. Refunds based on enrollment in private business and trade schools will be totally consummated within 30 days after the effective date of termination;
8. Refunds for correspondence courses will be computed on the basis of the number of lessons in the course;
9. The effective date of the termination for refund purposes in correspondence courses will be the earliest of the following:
A. The date of notification to the student if the student is terminated;
B. The date of receipt of written notice from the student;
C. The end of the third calendar month following the month in which the student’s last lesson assignment was received unless notification has been received from the student that the student wishes to remain enrolled;
10. If tuition is collected before any lessons have been completed, and if, after expiration of the 72-hour cancellation privilege, the student fails to begin the course, not more than $50 shall be retained by the school;
11. In cases of termination or withdrawal after the student has begun the correspondence course, the school may retain $50 of tuition and fees, and the minimum refund policy must provide that the student will be refunded the pro rata portion of the remaining tuition fees and other charges that the number of lessons completed and serviced by the school bears to the total number of lessons in the course;
12. Refunds based on enrollment in correspondence schools will be totally consummated within 30 days after the effective date of termination.
c. In lieu of the refund policy herein set forth, for programs of instruction not regularly offered to the general public, the Department of Education may, for good cause shown, amend, modify, substitute and/or alter the terms of such policy due to the specialized nature and objective of the subject school’s course of instruction.
d. If a course of instruction is discontinued by the school and this prevents the student from completing the course, all tuition and fees paid are then due and refundable;
(4) Agree that within the 72-hour grace period reserved for cancellation as provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the school will not discount any evidence of indebtedness given by a student applicant, or on an applicant’s behalf, or in any other way place such evidence of indebtedness into the hands of a holder in due course;
(5) To permit the Department to inspect the school or classes thereof from time to time; and to make available to the Department, at any time when required to do so, information pertaining to the activities of the school required for the administration of this chapter;
(6) That all advertising and solicitation will be free from misrepresentation, deception or fraud, and that no fraudulent or deceptive statements shall be made as to possible future employment opportunities or wage expectations.
(b) The amount of the surety bond required of a private business or trade school shall be determined as follows:
(1) The following private business and trade schools shall only be required to post a bond in the amount of $25,000:
a. Schools which only solicit students in the State and which do not receive any revenues for services provided within the State; and
b. Schools which do not receive revenue directly from their students for tuition or any other services. Revenue received by such schools cannot be generated by guaranteed student loans and/or state or federal student grants.
(2) All other private business and trade schools which operate in or from the State, or who render services to students within the State, shall provide a bond in an amount equal to the highest anticipated gross prepaid tuition for students enrolled on any given day in the calendar year for which a certificate of approval is requested. This amount shall include moneys paid by all students regardless of their state of residence.
(3) Surety bonds may only be cancelled during or at the end of any annual term by the bonding agency by giving 45 days’ prior notice in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the Administrator, Private Business and Trade Schools, Vocational Division, State Department of Education, State of Delaware, P.O. Box 1402, Dover, Delaware 19903.
14 Del. C. 1953, § 8505; 58 Del. Laws, c. 544; 65 Del. Laws, c. 63, § 2; 67 Del. Laws, c. 374, §§ 1-3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 111, §§ 2-4; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, §§ 186, 190; 76 Del. Laws, c. 114, §§ 1, 2.;
§ 8506 Signing of application.
Each application for a certificate of approval shall be signed by the applicant. If the applicant is a partnership, it shall be signed by each member thereof. If the applicant is a corporation, it shall be signed by any officer thereof.
14 Del. C. 1953, § 8506; 58 Del. Laws, c. 544.;
§ 8507 Restriction of certificate to fields indicated in application; supplementary applications.
Any certificate of approval issued shall be restricted to the fields or courses specifically indicated in the application for a certificate of approval. The holder of a certificate shall present a supplementary application, as may be directed by the Department for approval of additional fields or courses, in which it is desired to offer instruction during the effective period of the certificate of approval.
§ 8508 Filing fees; renewal fees.
Each original application for a certificate of approval shall be accompanied by a filing fee to be determined by the Department, which fee shall include the cost of investigation and issuance of the original certificate of approval, if the application is approved. There shall be an annual renewal fee to be determined by the Department. No fee shall be charged for a supplementary application for the approval of additional fields or courses of instruction. Fees, charges or fines within this chapter shall be deposited to the General Fund of the State.
§ 8509 Business or trade school agent permits; application; contents; fees; separate permits.
Every agent representing a school as herein defined, whether located in the State or without, shall make application for an agent’s permit to the Department, in writing, upon forms prepared and furnished by the Department. Each application shall state the name of the school which the applicant will represent, contain evidence of the honesty, truthfulness and integrity of the applicant, shall be verified under oath by the applicant, and shall be accompanied by the recommendation of 2 reputable persons, certifying that the applicant is truthful, honest and of good reputation, and recommending that a permit, as an agent, be granted to the applicant. The fee for an original permit, as an agent, shall be determined by the Department, and there shall be an annual renewal fee determined by the Department. A separate permit shall be obtained for each school represented by an agent.
§ 8510 Issuance of pocket cards upon approval of application; contents.
The Department, upon approval of an application for or renewal of a permit, shall prepare and deliver to each agent a pocket card which, among other things, shall contain the name and address of the agent and of the employing school and shall certify that the person whose name appears thereon is an authorized agent of the school.
§ 8511 Annual renewal of certificates.
Each school and each agent that continues as such shall annually renew the school’s or agent’s certificate of approval and pay the required annual renewal fees. Every certificate of approval which has not been renewed by its expiration date shall expire on the expiration date.
§ 8512 Issuance, revocation, renewal or restoration of certificates upon action and report of Department [Repealed].
Repealed by 75 Del. Laws, c. 122, § 2, effective July 7, 2005.
§ 8513 Rules and regulations.
In addition to standards provided for hereunder, the Department shall make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations as shall be necessary for the proper administration and enforcement of this chapter.
§ 8514 Prohibition against advertising school or soliciting students without Department authorization.
Prior to the establishment of a private business or trade school and the issuance of a certificate of approval therefor, no person shall advertise such a school or solicit prospective students for such a school unless such person has applied for and received from the Department authorization to conduct such activity.
§ 8515 Procedure for approval of applications and programs.
The Department shall provide such rules and regulations as are necessary to direct applicants for a certificate of approval in the preparation of a statement of the existing or planned educational programs and managerial organization and financial status of the applicant school. Upon receipt of any application, prepared in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, the Department shall provide for the review of that application and shall, within 90 days of its receipt, notify the applicant that the application is approved or disapproved or that further negotiation will be afforded toward the goal of approval.
§ 8516 Grounds for refusal to issue, renew or for revoking certificates or permits.
In addition to any other cause herein set forth, the Department may refuse to issue or to renew, or may revoke any certificate of approval or permit for any 1 or combination of the following causes:
(1) Violation of this chapter or any rule or regulation made by the Department;
(2) Furnishing of false, misleading or incomplete information to the Department or failure to furnish information requested by the Department;
(3) If any person, who signed an application, has entered a plea of nolo contendere or been found guilty of any crime involving moral turpitude;
(4) If any person, who signed an application, is found by competent medical authority to be addicted to the use of any narcotic drug, other than a drug currently prescribed for treatment or who has been found mentally incompetent;
(5) Violation of any commitment made in an application for a certificate of approval;
(6) Presenting to prospective students information relating to the school, or to employment opportunities or opportunities for enrollment in institutions of higher learning after entering into or completing courses offered by the school, which is false, misleading or fraudulent;
(7) Failure to provide or maintain premises or equipment in a safe and sanitary condition as required by laws, regulations or ordinances applicable at the location of the school;
(8) Refusal by an agent to display that agent’s own permit upon demand of a prospective student, the Department or its representative, or any other interested person;
(9) Failure to maintain financial resources adequate for the satisfactory conduct of the courses of instruction offered or to retain a sufficient and qualified instructional and administrative staff;
(10) Conduct of instruction in a course or field which has not been approved by the Department for the particular school;
(11) Refusal to admit applicants solely on account of race, color, creed, age or sex.
§ 8517 Investigations by Department upon its own motion or upon verified complaint; opportunity for correction.
The Department may, upon its own motion, and shall, upon the verified complaint in writing of any person setting forth facts which, if proved, would constitute grounds for refusal or revocation under this chapter, investigate the actions of any applicant or any person or persons holding or claiming to hold a certificate or permit.
However, before proceeding to a hearing on the question of whether a certificate of approval shall be refused or revoked for any cause enumerated in § 8516 of this title, exclusive of those causes enumerated in paragraphs (3) and (4) of that section, the Department may grant a reasonable time to the holder of or applicant for a certificate of approval to correct the situation. If within such time, the situation is corrected, no further action leading to refusal or revocation shall be taken.
§ 8518 Hearings.
(a) Any applicant for a certificate of approval or agency permit or for the renewal of a certificate of approval or agency permit who is refused issue of that certificate or permit or its renewal may request a hearing before the Secretary. In addition, any certificate or permit holder is entitled to a hearing before the Secretary to challenge a revocation for cause pursuant to § 8516 of this title.
(b) Whenever the Department proposes to refuse to issue or renew a certificate or permit, or to revoke a certificate or permit, it shall first give notice to the applicant or certificate or permit holder of the intended action and the reasons therefore. The applicant or certificate or permit holder shall be afforded at least 20 calendar days to request a hearing.
(c) Hearings shall be held within 90 calendar days of the date the Secretary receives a request for hearing. Notice of the hearing shall be given at least 20 calendar days before the day it is held.
(d) All hearings shall be conducted by the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee who shall prepare a proposed order for the Secretary’s consideration. In connection with such hearings, the Secretary or the Secretary’s designee shall be empowered to:
(1) Issue subpoenas for witnesses and the production of relevant books and papers, either on the Secretary’s or the Secretary’s designee’s own initiative or at the request of any party; failure of any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena shall be punishable according to the rules of the Superior Court;
(2) Administer oaths to witnesses;
(3) Exclude plainly irrelevant, immaterial, insubstantial, cumulative and privileged evidence; and
(4) Limit unduly repetitive proof, rebuttal and cross-examination.
(e) Burden of proof shall be upon the applicant or proponent.
(f) A record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made of all hearings in all contested cases. Transcripts shall be made at the request and expense of the requesting party. With respect to each case, all notices, correspondence between the Department and the parties, all exhibits, documents and testimony admitted into evidence and all recommended orders, summaries of evidence and findings and all interlocutory and final orders shall be included in the record of the proceedings.
(g) The Secretary’s decision shall include:
(1) A brief summary of the evidence before the Secretary and the Secretary’ findings of fact;
(2) The Secretary’s conclusions of law; and
(3) The Secretary’s decision and a brief statement of the reasons therefore.
(h) Upon the revocation of a certificate or permit, the holder shall be required to surrender such certificate or permit to the Department and upon failure or refusal to do so, the Department shall have the right to seize such certificate or permit.
§ 8519 Power to subpoena and administer oaths.
The Department, over the signature of any member thereof, is authorized to subpoena and bring before the Department any person or persons in this State and to take testimony, either orally or by deposition or by exhibit, with the same fees and mileage and in the same manner as prescribed by law in judicial procedure in civil cases in Superior Courts of this State.
§§ 8520-8522 Powers of the Department; Department to provide stenographer; record of proceedings; transcript costs; Service of Department’s report upon respondent; motion for rehearing; time; surrender of certificate [Repealed].
Repealed by 75 Del. Laws., c. 122, § 5, effective July 7, 2005.
§ 8523 Forfeiture of bond.
If any school certified, pursuant to this chapter, should fail to provide the services called for in a contract or agreement with a student, as determined by the Superior Court of the State, the bond prescribed by § 8505(a)(2) of this title, or any part thereof, shall be forfeited, and the proceeds distributed by the Department in such manner as justice and the circumstances require.
§ 8524 Appeal to Superior Court; certification of record.
(a) Any person affected by a final administrative decision of the Department may have such decision reviewed judicially by the Superior Court of the county wherein such person resides, or in the case of a corporation, wherein the registered office is located. If the plaintiff in the review proceeding is not a resident of this State, the venue shall be in any county of this State. The review shall be on the record without a trial de novo.
(b) Service of summons issued in such review proceedings may be had upon any member of the Department. The Department shall not be required to certify the record of the proceeding unless the plaintiff in the review proceedings shall first pay to the Department a sum to be determined by the Department for every page of such record. Exhibits shall be certified without cost.
§ 8525 Unlawful acts of school employees not ground for revocation of certificate; exception.
Any unlawful act or violation of any of the provisions of this chapter upon the part of any agent or employee of a business or trade school shall not be cause for the revocation of the certificate of approval unless it shall appear to the satisfaction of the Department that any 1 or more of the controlling officers, members or managing employees had guilty knowledge thereof.
§ 8526 Penalty.
(a) Any person or corporation violating this chapter shall, if a person, be punished by a fine not to exceed $500, or by imprisonment for a period not to exceed 1 year, or both such fine and imprisonment; and, if a corporation, shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000. Any officer or agent of a corporation or member or agent of a copartnership or association, shall be subject to the penalties herein prescribed for individuals; and the State’s attorney for the county where such offense is committed shall prosecute all persons violating this chapter upon proper complaint being made.
(b) The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of violations of this chapter.
14 Del. C. 1953, § 8526; 58 Del. Laws, c. 544.;
§ 8527 Incorporated institution.
Any applicant seeking incorporation under Title 8 in order to conduct a private business or trade school within the State shall first seek approval as an applicant to conduct a business or trade school in accordance with this chapter. Upon approval of such applicant and the issuance of a certificate to conduct a private business or trade school, the Department of Education shall notify the Secretary of State of such approval. At any time that a certificate of approval is denied or revoked by the Department of Education, the applicant for that certificate shall no longer be authorized to conduct classes as a private business or trade school in the State, other provisions of a corporate charter notwithstanding.
§ 8528 Previously existing schools; temporary authorization [Repealed].
Repealed effective July 13, 2002, by § 190 of 71 Del. Laws, c. 180, as affected by 72 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1.
§ 8529 Certain schools exempt.
Any institution whose main facilities are located in the State and which was approved by the Department of Education in compliance with § 125 of Title 8, prior to July 18, 1972, shall be exempt from this chapter. Apprenticeship and training programs offered or conducted by persons, partnerships, joint ventures, corporations, political subdivisions, employers or employer associations for their employees or prospective employees or by labor organizations or associations of employees for their members or apprentices shall be exempt from this chapter.
§ 8530 Disposition of student records by postsecondary institutions.
(a) Notwithstanding any exemptions to the contrary in this chapter, all postsecondary institutions authorized, approved or licensed by the Department of Education to operate in the State under this chapter or under § 125 of Title 8 prior to discontinuing operation shall perform the following duties:
(1) Notify in writing the Department of Education and all currently enrolled students of the decision to cease operation;
(2) Notify in writing all currently enrolled students, and students enrolled during the 5 prior years, that information concerning student records may be obtained from the Department of Education;
(3) Convey all student records to the Department of Education, or to another location designated by the Department, for safekeeping and for reproduction as requested by the students.
(b) As used in this section, “student records” shall mean all those documents that are necessary to provide a meaningful record of student performance and financial aid and shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(1) Academic records, including written evaluations, competency assessments, etc.;
(3) Change of grade forms;
(4) Class lists, including original grade sheets;
(5) Commencement programs/graduation lists;
(6) Schedules of classes;
(7) Financial aid transcripts and supporting documents.