Office for Career and Technical Schools (Proprietary Education)
Pursuant to IC 22-4.1-21-10 the Office for Career and Technical Schools (OCTS) is responsible for extending accreditation (authorization to operate) to post-secondary proprietary schools that are non-credit-bearing and non-degree-granting.
If an institution is seeking initial accreditation for a non-credit-bearing / non-degree-granting career or technical school, please continue reading and follow the instructions prior to completing any documents.
If you represent a credit-bearing / degree-granting institution seeking authorization, contact the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Board for Proprietary Education (BPE).
IMPORTANT: It may be a violation of Indiana Code for you to offer to the public for a fee, tuition or charge educational and/or training services without accreditation.
Schools Seeking Initial Accreditation
Please read and follow the instructions prior to completing any documents. Note that not all documents and/or forms are compatible with every internet browser. The documents and/or forms are not compatible with mobile devices. If you are unable to send any documents using the built-in submit button, please download or print and scan the documents and send to OCTS@dwd.in.gov.
- Prior to submitting an applications, proprietors need to complete the Determination of Status Questionnaire and review the OCTS Policy and Procedures document.
- If accreditation is required, you will receive an identification number needed for orientation.
- After receiving the identification number, complete the New School Orientation and submit the verification page. The orientation provides an overview of both the regulatory process and application requirements.
- The Initial Accreditation Application Checklist contains the steps needed to complete an application. NOTE: DO NOT complete and submit the application before receiving notification from OCTS. Fees paid by institutions are non-refundable.
Schools with Full Accreditation or Seeking Accreditation Renewal
Below are important documents that must be reviewed to ensure continual compliance. Institutions that do not remain in compliance are subject to suspension, revocation and/or closure. Please send questions regarding due dates and accreditation renewals to OCTS@dwd.in.gov.
OCTS is charged with protecting students, educational institutions, the general public, and honest and ethical operators of post-secondary proprietary schools that are non-credit bearing and non-degree granting from dishonest and unethical practices. OCTS maintains and updates a list of accredited and closed/defunct institutions for the public (see below):
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - Title III Information
Proprietary institutions most likely fall under Title III of ADA. Please review the informational document that outlines some provisions of Title III. We recommend that you consult an attorney for specific questions or concerns.
Student Protection Fund
IC 22-4.1-21-15 and IC 22-4.1-21-18 requires each educational institution accredited by OCTS to submit an institutional surety bond and contribute to the Career College Student Assurance Fund which will be used to pay off debt incurred due to the closing of a school, discontinuance of a program or loss of accreditation by an institution. To file a claim, each student must submit a completed “Student Complaint Form” below.
Student Complaint Process
OCTS is responsible for reviewing and responding to student claims for monetary reimbursement against post-secondary proprietary schools that are non-credit bearing and non-degree granting. OCTS adjudicates only claims for monetary reimbursement and cannot adjudicate claims involving programmatic content. Monetary claims for reimbursement are limited to tuition and fees paid out of pocket by the student. OCTS does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate claims for reimbursement of scholarships, financial assistance, or fee reductions. OCTS cannot offer legal advice or initiate civil court cases.
Students filing claims must meet these requirements:
- Be a current or former student in a program at a school regulated by OCTS (see List of Accredited Institutions).
- Follow and exhaust the school’s complaint resolution process with the school directly; or provide a detailed explanation (see Complaint Form in step 3) as to why the school’s complaint process was not completed.
- File a formal claim with OCTS by completing the online Student Complaint Form, and attaching the following documents:
- A statement of the facts supporting the claim and outlining the problem, and
- A copy of the enrollment agreement signed by the student, and
- Copies of all receipts for tuition paid by cash, check, money order or credit card, and
- Any other material which substantiates the claim.
OCTS will review the claim and contact the claimant if additional information or clarification is needed. When the student’s initial claim is determined valid by OCTS, OCTS will forward a copy of the claim to the school, and the school will have three (3) weeks to respond. Upon receipt of the school’s response, OCTS will adjudicate the claim and issue a final determination. Both the student and the school will receive notification of the OCTS final determination.
NOTE: If you believe a school has acted in a discriminatory manner, you may wish to contact the Indiana Civil Rights Commission using the ICRC’s complaint form.