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Degree-Granting Institution Authorizing Regulations

made under Section 8 of the

Degree Granting Act

R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 123

N.S. Reg. 388/2008 (September 9, 2008)


1     These regulations may be cited as the Degree-Granting Institution Authorizing Regulations.


2     These regulations apply to every institution that must be authorized by the Governor in Council under Section 4 of the Act to grant degrees.


3     In these regulations,


                (a)    “Act” means the Degree Granting Act;


                (b)    “applicant” means an institution applying for an authorization or a renewal of an authorization, as the context requires;


                (c)    “authorization” means an authorization to grant degrees issued by the Governor in Council under Section 4 of the Act;


                (d)    “authorized institution” means an institution authorized by the Governor in Council under Section 4 of the Act to grant degrees;


                (e)    “entry scores” means the final marks achieved by a student on graduation from high school;


                (f)    “program” of an authorized institution means a program of post-secondary instruction offered by the authorized institution that leads to a degree.

Authorization terms and conditions

4     (1)    It is a term and condition of every authorization that the authorized institution


                (a)    must not initiate, modify or alter any program or portion of a program without written approval of the Minister;


                (b)    must maintain sufficient financial resources to support its programs;


                (c)    must comply with the Act and these regulations.


       (2)    If the Minister determines that an authorized institution has failed to comply with the terms and conditions of its authorization, the Minister must report the matter immediately to the Governor in Council and may recommend revocation of its authorization.

Applying for authorization

5     An applicant for an authorization must submit the following to the Minister, in a form acceptable to the Minister:


                (a)    its mission statement and academic goals;


                (b)    the academic and administrative policies, and governance and organizational structure;


                (c)    the names, addresses, telephone numbers and resumés of the applicant’s corporate officers;


                (d)    the address of the applicant’s proposed business location, a description of the facilities and written confirmation from the applicant certifying that for its proposed use the facilities comply with the laws of Nova Scotia;


                (e)    proof that the applicant is a company in good standing and registered to do business in Nova Scotia and registered with the Canada Revenue Agency;


                (f)    a 5-year business plan, marketing plan and growth strategy with cost and revenue projections to cover a 5-year period, including the financial resources available to support the delivery of each program offered;


                (g)    copies of the applicant’s financial statements for up to 3 years before the date of application, audited by an independent licensed chartered accountant who is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants or a chartered accountant whose qualifications are equivalent;


                (h)    a statement of all of the applicant’s debts and liabilities;


                (i)     details of the administrative resources and faculty complement to support the delivery of each program offered;


                (j)     details of the information services, physical infrastructure and technological infrastructure to support the delivery of each program offered;


                (k)    details of the student services provided by the applicant, including counselling, residential accommodations and student aid;


                (l)     student records and transcript policies and standards;


                (m)   the objectives, learner outcomes and curricular structure for each program offered;


                (n)    the degree credential to be awarded for each program offered;


                (o)    if programs relate to a particular industry, details of any advisory group of employers and practitioners from within the industry who have provided advice on program design and marketplace requirements;


                (p)    details of each program’s development, including the involvement of peers and experts external to the institution in the development of the program;


                (q)    demonstration of the need and the student demand for each program, including, if a similar program is currently offered in Nova Scotia, the rationale for introducing the program;


                (r)    an application fee of $500 payable to the Minister of Finance;


                (s)    the review fees determined under subsection 6(3).

Program and institutional review

6     (1)    An applicant must undergo a program and institutional review conducted by the Minister or, at the request of the Minister, by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission or another body that the Minister approves.


       (2)    An applicant that achieves acceptable program and institutional reviews may be recommended by the Minister for an authorization.


       (3)    The fee for each program review and institutional review under this Section is calculated at the rate of $55 per hour for each hour required in conducting the reviews and is payable to the Minister of Finance.

Authorization expiry date

7     An authorization expires 5 years after the date it is issued, unless earlier revoked by the Governor in Council.

Authorization is non-transferable

8     An authorized institution may not assign or transfer its authorization.

Change in control deemed to be assignment or transfer

9     (1)    In this Section, “change in control” of an authorized institution means


                (a)    a sale or other disposition of more than 50% of the voting shares in the capital stock of the authorized institution;


                (b)    if the authorized institution is a partnership, any change of partners.


       (2)    A change in control of an authorized institution is deemed to be an assignment or transfer of the authorized institution’s authorization.

Renewal of authorization

10   (1)    An application for renewal of an authorization by an authorized institution must be submitted to the Minister at least 180 days before the expiry date of its authorization, in the form prescribed by the Minister, and must be accompanied by all of the following:


                (a)    the authorized institution’s current mission statement and academic goals;


                (b)    the names, addresses, telephone numbers and resumés of the authorized institution’s current corporate officers;


                (c)    the authorized institution’s current governance and organizational structure;


                (d)    a 5-year business plan, marketing plan and growth strategy with cost and revenue projections to cover a 5-year period, including the financial resources available to support the delivery of each program offered by the authorized institution;


                (e)    a copy of the most recent quality assurance review conducted under Section 13 for each program offered by the applicant;


                (f)    a summary of all of the following information for the period since the last authorization was granted or last renewed:


                         (i)     the entry scores for students in all programs,


                         (ii)    the annual student enrolment numbers for all programs,


                         (iii)   the academic averages of students in all programs,


                         (iv)   a list of the permanent residences of all students;


                (g)    any outstanding information specified in Sections 20, 21, 22 and 23;


                (h)    the application fee prescribed in clause 5(r);


                (i)     any additional information the Minister requests.

Revoked authorization

10   An institution whose authorization is revoked may not apply for another authorization for at least 1 year after the revocation date and the application must be made in accordance with the requirements in Section 5.


11   (1)    No later than 90 days after the date an authorization or a renewal of an authorization is granted, and before the authorized institution collects any fees from students, the authorized institution must deposit with the Minister a surety bond in a form and on terms acceptable to the Minister.


       (2)    A surety bond deposited under subsection (1) must be in an amount equal to the greater of $200 000 and


                (a)    the product of the number of students enrolled in the institution multiplied by the tuition and other fees per student for the current academic year; or

                (b)    for an institution that has not previously been authorized, the product of the number of student places multiplied by the tuition and other fees per student for the current academic year.


       (3)    If, in the Minister’s opinion, an authorized institution has failed to fully deliver a program for which a student contract has been entered into, the Minister may require the institution to


                (a)    refund tuition and other fees paid by a student;


                (b)    make up the deficiency in the program; or


                (c)    forfeit its surety bond.


       (4)    A student who has a claim against an authorized institution for its failure to fully deliver a program as described in subsection (3) may make a claim by notifying the Minister in writing no later than 60 days after the failure.


       (5)    If the aggregate of all claims made against the security accessed under subsection (3) exceeds the amount recovered under the security, the claimants must be paid on a proportional basis.


       (6)    An authorized institution’s surety bond must continue in force and remain on deposit for at least 1 year following the expiry or revocation of the institution’s authorization.


       (7)    An authorized institution must give the Minister at least 90 days’ notice before it terminates its surety bond.


       (8)    If an authorized institution’s surety bond is terminated and the surety bond has not been forfeited, the Minister must, no earlier than 1 year after the date the authorization expires or is revoked, deliver the surety bond to the principal of the surety bond.


       (9)    If a surety bond has been forfeited and the Minister has not received notice in writing of any claim against the proceeds of the surety bond or any part that remains in the Minister’s hands within 3 years of the forfeiture, the Minister may pay the proceeds of the surety bond, or any part remaining, to the principal of the surety bond, after first deducting the amount of any expenses that have been incurred in connection with any claims or otherwise relating to the expiration or revocation of the authorization for the authorized institution in respect of whose actions the bond was conditioned.

Authorization and security required before collecting fees

12   An institution must not collect any tuition or other fees for a program offered by the institution unless


                (a)    an authorization has been granted to the institution that will be in effect for the duration of the program; and


                (b)    the security required by Section 11 is in place.

Academic quality assurance review

13   Annually, within 90 days of its fiscal year end, an authorized institution must conduct an internal quality assurance review to ensure the academic quality of its programs, consisting of


                (a)    a program review using criteria determined by the Minister and in a form acceptable to the Minister; and


                (b)    an institutional review using criteria determined by the Minister and in a form acceptable to the Minister.

Prerequisites for entering program

14   Subject to Section 15, an authorized institution must not admit a person to any of its programs unless the person has done at least 1 of the following:


                (a)    successfully completed grade 12;


                (b)    passed the grade 12 equivalency GED tests;


                (c)    achieved academic upgrading level 4;


                (d)    completed a standardized test verifying grade 12 level.

Student contracts

15   (1)    An authorized institution must not permit a person to begin a course of study in any of its programs until the person enters into a student contract with the authorized institution.


       (2)    Before a person enters into a student contract, the authorized institution must give the person all of the following information and documents:


                (a)    the total cost to the person, indicating separately the tuition fee for the current academic session and other fees associated with the program;

                (b)    a copy of the institution’s policies, rules and regulations, including the tuition refund policy, the complaint resolution policy, and the payment schedule.


       (3)    A student contract must contain at least the following information:


                (a)    the name, address, telephone number and fax number of the authorized institution;


                (b)    the name, address and telephone number of the student;


                (c)    the name of the program;


                (d)    a statement that the student has received the information and documents required by subsection (2);


                (e)    the start date and anticipated end date of the program;


                (f)    a payment schedule for tuition and other related fees for the current academic session;


                (g)    a statement that the student has been advised of the prerequisites for admission to the program and that the student meets those prerequisites;


                (h)    a statement that the student contract is subject to the Act and these regulations;


                (i)     the date the student contract is entered into;


                (j)     the signature of the student;


                (k)    a statement that the institution will issue a degree to the student on successful completion of the program;


                (l)     the tuition refund policy.


       (4)    An authorized institution must ensure that a student is given a fully executed original of their student contract before the start date of the program.

When student contract cancelled

16   (1)    A student contract is deemed to be cancelled when


                (a)    the authorized institution dismisses the student pursuant to its policies; or


                (b)    the student withdraws from the program contracted for.


       (2)    For the purposes of clause (1)(b), a student is considered to have withdrawn from a program


                (a)    if the student has not attended any classes or submitted any assignments for 4 consecutive weeks, or


                (b)    the student has notified the authorized institution in writing of their withdrawal.


       (3)    A refund by an authorized institution of a tuition or other fee may be made only in accordance with these regulations and the authorized institution’s tuition refund policy contained in the student contract.

Student registration fee

17   (1)    Subject to subsection (2), an authorized institution may charge a non-refundable registration fee for each program in an amount of no more than 5% of the tuition, to a maximum of $250.


       (2)    A registration fee paid by a person accepted into a program must be credited to the tuition fee for the program in which the person is enrolled.

Tuition fees payment

18   (1)    No authorized institution may require payment of tuition fees for programs during an academic year in fewer than 2 reasonably equal instalments.


       (2)    For each academic year, the dates on which the tuition instalments become due must be fixed so that they fall approximately at the beginning of each equal portion of the duration of the academic year.

When authorized institution must refund amounts paid

19   An authorized institution must refund to a student all amounts paid to the institution by or on behalf of the student if, at the time the student contract was entered into,


                (a)    the institution did not have an authorization;


                (b)    the program contracted for had not been reviewed and found acceptable under Section 6.


Academic records and reporting

20   (1)    An authorized institution must keep a record of each of the following:


                (a)    the number of student enrolments and withdrawals for all programs;


                (b)    the transcript of each student;


                (c)    the permanent residence of each student;


                (d)    the results of each annual quality assurance review required by Section 13.


       (2)    Annually, and no later than 90 days after the end of its fiscal year, an authorized institution must give the Minister a summary of the records kept under subsection (1).

Student records

21   (1)    An authorized institution must keep a file for each of its students that includes all of the following:


                (a)    the student’s application forms and entry scores;


                (b)    the student’s transcripts;


                (c)    the student’s contact information, including permanent and local address, telephone number and emergency contacts;


                (d)    records of complaints;


                (e)    the student’s payment records;


                (f)    correspondence to and from the student;


                (g)    copies of degrees granted by the authorized institution to the student;


                (h)    a copy of the student’s contract for each program.


       (2)    An authorized institution must keep a student file for at least 5 years after the student has completed or left the program in which the student was enrolled, except that transcripts and copies of degrees granted must be kept for 25 years after the student has completed or left the program.


       (3)    On closure of an authorized institution, the authorized institution must immediately forward to the Minister the remaining original student files and any other information that the Minister requests.

Participation in surveys

22   At the Minister’s request, an authorized institution must participate in any survey or similar information-gathering exercise that the Minister considers appropriate.

Financial reporting

23   (1)    Annually, and no later than 90 days after the end of its fiscal year, an authorized institution must give the Minister a copy of its audited financial statements for the previous fiscal year, prepared by an independent auditor who is a licensed chartered accountant or a chartered accountant whose qualifications are considered to be equivalent by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants.


       (2)    In addition to annual financial statements, an authorized institution must give the Minister any financial information that the Minister requests, in a form satisfactory to the Minister.

Complaint resolution policy

24   (1)    An authorized institution must have a complaint resolution policy to ensure the proper and efficient resolution of all student complaints.


       (2)    A copy of the complaint resolution policy must be forwarded to the Minister on request.


       (3)    A complaint resolution policy must set out all of the following:


                (a)    the procedure for making and receiving a complaint;


                (b)    the official to whom a complaint must be given;


                (c)    the process to be followed when a complaint is received;


                (d)    the manner in which a complaint and the resolution of the complaint must be recorded.


       (4)    An institution must maintain a record of all complaints received and the resolution of those complaints, and must make the record available to the Minister for inspection on request.


25   (1)    If a student and an authorized institution have been unable to resolve a dispute on their own, the student or the institution may, with the consent of the other party, apply to the Minister to appoint a mediator by filing written notice setting out the details of the dispute with both the Minister and the other party.


       (2)    If the Minister appoints a mediator, the mediator must try to assist the parties to settle the dispute that is the subject of the mediation.


       (3)    Evidence arising from anything said, evidence of anything said or evidence of an admission or communication made in the course of mediation under this Section is not admissible in any action or proceeding, except with the consent of the mediator, the student and the institution.


       (4)    The costs associated with appointing and retaining a mediator will be split evenly between the Minister, the authorized institution and the student.

No limits on rights

26   Nothing in these regulations may be construed as limiting in any way the rights and remedies that a student otherwise has with respect to an institution’s breach of a student contract.

Access to Act and regulations

27   An authorized institution must place a copy of the Act and these regulations in a prominent place at the entrance of the institution.

Display of information

28   An authorized institution must display the authorization of the institution at the entrance to the institution and, if the authorized institution has an Internet site, on the Internet site home page, where it can be readily observed by its students and the public.


29   Notice required by these regulations must be in writing and by


                (a)    mail, postage prepaid; or


                (b)    courier or other means of hand delivery.