Institutional Authorization Requirements

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Financial Statements

Institutions applying for initial authorization to operate, or an authorization to operate under a change of ownership, must submit financial statements audited by an independent, licensed certified public accountant and supporting documentation as requested by the commission for their most recently completed fiscal year, with the following exceptions:

  • An institution with annual tuition revenues of less than $200,000 (from all sources) may submit a compilation report with full disclosure, including an accountant’s cover letter stating that the institution’s financial statements for the most recently completed fiscal year were prepared in conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP); the report must be prepared by an independent accounting service that is licensed as a business; 
  • An institution with annual tuition revenues of less than $300,000 (from all sources) may submit an independent licensed certified public accountant’s review report stating that the institution’s financial statements for the most recently completed fiscal year were prepared in conformity with GAAP;

  • An institution that is a sole proprietorship or partnership and has annual tuition revenues of less than $100,000 (from all sources) may submit a compilation report, with full disclosure, for the most recently completed fiscal year, including an accountant’s cover letter stating the method of presentation and the scope of the accounting services provided; the report required must be prepared by an independent accounting service that is licensed as a business; or 
  • An institution that has annual tuition revenues of less than $300,000 (from all sources) and provides a compilation report with full disclosure, including an accountants cover letter stating that the institution’s financial statements for the year were prepared in conformity with GAAP; the report must be prepared by an independent accounting service licensed as a business and the institution also must provide surety in an amount equal to 100% of tuition and fee revenues projected for the upcoming institutional fiscal year. 

In addition to the required financial statements, new institutions that have not operated as a business prior to the application must submit a business plan and a budget for the first year of operation. Commission staff may require additional information or third party review if plans and budgets are not consistent with resources and assets documented in financial statements.

In all cases, the financial statements must be with full disclosure and include an accountant’s opinion letter, a balance sheet, an income statement, a statement of cash flows and notes to the financial statements, accompanied by a letter to management. Additional information may be required following review of financial statements submitted.

Tax‐exempt institutions must provide a copy of their IRS Determination Letter indicating compliance with 26 U. S. C. 501 (c) (3).

Surety Bond

Institutions applying for Authorization to Operate a Postsecondary Institution in Alaska are required to post a surety bond executed in favor of and filed with the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE).  The Determination of Bonding Liability Form is used to determine the amount of surety required.

The dollar amount required is equal to the largest amount of tuition revenue (from all sources) in the longest enrollment period (semester, term, program, etc.) during the previous fiscal year, or if larger, the projected revenue in the current year.  However, institutions determined by Commission staff to be financially unsound may be required to post a substantially increased level of surety. 

Institutions may also assign a certificate of deposit (CD) in lieu of bonding, and complete an Assignment of Negotiable Instrument Form. The CD must be automatically renewable and made payable to the State of Alaska in trust for the institution. The institution’s tax ID number (not the State’s) must appear on the CD to ensure interest is appropriately reported.

An institution that (1) does not charge tuition; or (2) is operated by the State or a political subdivision of the State; may apply for exemption from the bonding requirement.

Site Visit

After review of the application and receipt and approval of all appropriate documentation, staff will contact the institution to schedule a site visit.  A site visit may require several hours to a full day, depending on the size of the institution, the number of programs, and the volume of records to review.  The purpose of the site visit is to document that facilities and supplies are present and available to students, and instructional facilities are appropriate to the subject matter being taught.   Staff will also verify the presence and condition of advertised learning resources, instructional support features, or safety items described in the institution’s marketing materials.

Staff will inspect institutional records to verify appropriate maintenance and security, and the presence of appropriate documents.  Documents that may be reviewed include business or occupational licenses, faculty resumes, student tuition payment ledgers, admission and grade records, and student attendance records. Institutions will also be asked to demonstrate the operation and security of any computer record‐keeping systems. New schools without student records may be scheduled for an additional site visit following completion of the first class or term.

Updates & Changes

Authorization is specific to the terms of the authorization application and is not transferable. An application is required for the following actions:

  • initial authorization; required for sale, transfer, or change in ownership
  • renewal authorization
  • offering a new program or modifying an approved program
  • opening a new location or changing a location
  • changing the mission
  • obtaining or renewing an agent permit

Applications for initial authorization, renewal of authorization and agent permits must be submitted by the appropriate quarter deadline to be considered at the next Commission meeting. Applications for change of ownership must be submitted within 30 days of the effective date of the ownership change. All other applications must be submitted before the effective date of the change.

Campus Housing Requirements

Alaska Postsecondary Immunization Act

The Alaska Postsecondary Immunization Act of 2005 requires educational institutions in Alaska that provide campus housing provide written notice and obtain a signature from each student prior to attendance indicating that the student has either 1) received an immunization against meningococcal disease, or 2) received written notification informing them of meningococcal disease.

Institutions may insert their letterhead on this sample form (PDF) and use it in meeting this requirement. You may also wish to distribute these frequently asked questions (PDF) and answers about meningococcal disease.

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