Guidance for Consumers

The private educational services world is a "buyer beware" market.

Key questions to ask before making any decisions to enroll include:

For colleges, are they accredited by one of the national or regional accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)? (Idaho requires this of degree granting institutions in Idaho.)

Ask to see their Accrediting Agency's approval letter that covers the specific program of study you are interested in. Non-Accredited program credits will generally not transfer or count toward awarding a degree.

Online providers only, operated from outside Idaho, must still be accredited or course work and credits likely will not be transferrable.

For providers located inside Idaho, are they properly registered with the State Board of Education? (Ask to see a Registration Certificate showing current dates. All registered schools should have one on public display.)

Do they provide complete, direct contact information on their web site or printed advertisements? Do they list names of school officials such as the President, Academic Provost, or Department Heads, etc.

Do they provide a clear and complete list of costs per credit hour, tuition, application fees, etc., or clear direction on where/how to find this information?

Do they provide details on the full number of credits required for the Degree or Certificate you are interested in?

How long have they been in business? and How long at their current location in Idaho?

Has the school changed its name in the last two years? If so, why?

Has the school moved from one state to another in the last 2 years? If so, why?

For non-degree Trade/Professional Schools, who is their Surety Bond Agency? (They must report this to the State Board when registering.)

If you have any doubts about a school or education service business, contact the State Board of Education.

Other places to find information include Better Business Bureau, the Idaho Secretary of State's Office, and the Bureau of Occupational Licenses.

If you have any problems or issues with how your school handles Federal Student Aid programs (Title IV Loans & Grants), contact:

The Federal Student Aid -School Participation Team for IDAHO

San Francisco Team, Title IV Participation Team

Seattle Team

USDE Ombudsman's Office, Washington, D.C.

Private Postsecondary & Proprietary Schools Coordinator

Val Fenske Email




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