Frequently Asked Questions
Timothy D. Larson

Timothy D. Larson

Executive Director



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Frequently Asked Questions


What is a private occupational school or a barber/hairdresser school?  It is a person, board, association, partnership, corporation, limited liability company or other entity offering instruction in any form or manner in any trade, industrial, commercial or service occupation for any remuneration, consideration reward or promise of whatever nature.  The school is non-degree granting and does not offer collegiate credit or confer degrees.


What is the role of the Office of Higher Education?  The Office of Higher Education provides consumer protection for students and potential students.  The Office of Higher Education works with schools to assure compliance with state statutes and regulations.


What types of schools does the Office of Higher Education authorize? The Office of Higher Education has approved a variety of schools that provide vocational training which can lead to entry-level employment.  These schools offer a wide range of programs such as barber/hairdresser, electronics, automotive training, dog grooming, bartending, certified nurses aid, and massage therapy.


What types of schools are exempt from authorization by the Office of Higher Education?  Exempt from authorization are schools that offer instruction under public supervision and control; instruction conducted by a firm or organization solely for the training of its own employees; or instruction offered by a school authorized by the General Assembly to confer degrees.


How do I apply to become a postsecondary career school?  See Initial/Renewal Application and/or contact the Office of Higher Education.


Can I operate a school while my application is pending?  No.  In Connecticut, only schools approved by the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education can operate.  Filing an application indicates the intention of becoming approved but does not assure that all the conditions of authorization have been met.


Can I submit a partial new school application and submit the remaining documents at a later date?  No.  The application must be submitted in its entirety.  In addition to the application, this would also include the financial forecast and irrevocable letter of credit.


What is an Irrevocable Letter of Credit?  It is a document used to guarantee payments required of the school to the private occupational school student protection account in accordance with the provisions of section 10a-22u of the Connecticut General Statutes.  The $40,000 letter of credit shall be made with a Connecticut bank and made payable to the private occupational school student protection account in the event that such school fails to make payments to the account or in the event the school closes improperly and a tuition refund needs to be paid to a student.


At what intervals are school authorizations renewed?  All schools must receive one initial authorization followed by three annual renewal visits.  Following the final annual visit, a school may be eligible for an extended authorization of not more than 5 years. 


What is the difference between authorization and accreditation?  A school receives approval/authorization by the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education to operate in the State of Connecticut.  This is the first level of approval.  Once a school receives the Executive Director’s approval, it may voluntarily apply for accreditation by an independent accrediting council that has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.  Accreditation is a separate approval process where the school meets an independent accrediting council’s evaluation standards.  A school that has met the independent accrediting council’s evaluation standards and has received accreditation, may apply to the federal government to participate in Title IV financial aid.


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