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Information for Students

 

Tips on Selecting an Approved School

 

Determine your career and/or academic goal and narrow your search to schools that offer programs in your field of interest.

 

Verify the schools are approved by the Office of Higher Education.

 

Prior to enrolling, take a tour of the schools, interview students in the programs, ask if the schools will allow you to sit in and observe the classes or courses of interest.

 

Request a copy of the student catalog and enrollment agreement to review all binding terms (school withdrawal, termination and refund policies), conditions, costs and student disclosures.

 

Contact the accrediting agency that a school may claim to have accreditation from and verify the school’s claims.

 

Contact the Office of Higher Education to inquire about complaints filed against the school.

 

Review all advertising carefully and compare what is being advertised with what is disclosed in the school’s catalog and course syllabus.

 

Request to see the school’s student completion and job placement rates.

 

Be aware that a school may provide job placement services but cannot guarantee employment.

 

Find out what documentation the school requires from you.

 

Make sure you know the amount and types of financial aid you will need before you enroll.

 

Get everything in writing and signed by a school official.

 

Keep a copy of all your documents.

 

Enjoy your educational experience!

 

Request a Transcript

All requests for student transcripts for records the Office of Higher Education holds, must be made by the student in writing.  Complete the request form, including a phone number, and mail it to the attention of the Transcript Release Officer at the Office of Higher Education, 450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 510, Hartford, CT  06103.  Allow up to 14 days for our response.

Complaint Procedures

No school shall have any policy nor shall act in any manner which discourages or prohibits the filing of inquiries or complaints regarding the school’s operation with the Executive Director of the Office of Higher Education.

Regarding school inquiries or complaints, please refer first to the school's complaint policy.

If you do not achieve a satisfactory resolution after exhausting the school's grievance procedures, you may proceed with filing a formal complaint with the Office of Higher Education. To do so, send an email to the Education & Employment Information Center requesting a complaint form which must be completed and sent to our agency.

The Office of Higher Education can only act to assure that private and hospital-based occupational schools comply with state statutes that we administer.  Complaints regarding other issues should be directed to the entity which specializes in those issues.  For example:

·  For complaints involving employer-employee matters, contact the Connecticut Department of Labor, (860)263-6000

·  For complaints concerning discrimination complaints, contact the Commission on Human Rights, (860)541-3400

·  For complaints regarding disabilities violations, contact the Office of Protection and Advocacy with Disabilities, (860)297-4300 or (800)842-7303

Once the Office of Higher Education receives your complaint, we will send a copy to the school.  A response is required within 20 days of receipt by the school.

The Office of Higher Education will review the complaint and response, and, if necessary, request additional information be provided by either party.

Following a full and complete review of all available information, the Office of Higher Education will determine if the school has complied with Connecticut’s General Statutes, and will indicate if the school has violated any of the school's approved criteria.

Please note that if either party disagrees with the decision by the Office of Higher Education, the complainant can pursue the matter in Connecticut Superior Court or through other legal means.

What To Do if a School Closes

Students should contact the Office of Higher Education if a school closes.

In addition, this website will contain special instructions related to the specific school closure as soon as information becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a private occupational 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 electronics, automotive training, dog grooming, bartending, certified nurses aid, and massage therapy.

 

What is the tuition refund and cancellation policy?  All schools must have a tuition refund and cancellation policy for each program offered.  Read and understand the schools policy regarding tuition refund and cancellation before you sign the enrollment agreement.  If you do not understand it, or are confused by the schools’ explanation, get help before you sign.  You may contact the Office of Higher Education for assistance.

 

What should I know about private occupational school “recruiters”?  Recruiters are employed by the school for the purpose of enrolling students in the school; they are not school counselors.  A recruiter cannot require a student to pay a placement or referral fee.  Each recruiter must be provided to the Office of Higher Education on the school’s roster.

 

What should I know about grants and guaranteed student loans?  A grant is awarded to a student based on income eligibility, and does not need to be repaid (for example, Pell grants are provided by the federal government).  Guaranteed student loans are low interest loans provided under the Federal Guaranteed Student Loan Program.  The decision to apply for such a loan is yours – the school cannot require you apply for a loan.  You should understand that if you pay school tuition with money loaned to you from a lender you are responsible for repaying the loan in full, with interest, in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement.  A failure to repay the loan can hurt your credit rating and result in legal action against you and also prohibit you from qualifying for federal financial aid in the future.  It is your right to select a lender for a guaranteed student loan.  The school cannot require you to apply to a particular lender or lending institution.  However, the school can recommend a lender, but if it does, the school must also provide you with a statement about your right and ability to obtain a loan from another lender and the origination fees charged on these loans.  Read and understand all the information and applications for federal aid grants and loans before signing.

 

Will my credits from a private occupational school transfer to other schools?  The acceptance of credits from another institution is always at the discretion of the receiving institution.  For more information, contact the institution you are considering attending.

 

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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