All proprietary schools (as defined in 1, B) shall be licensed except the following:
- Educational programs offered by any non-profit corporation
- Institutions whose course(s) are avocational, cultural or recreational in nature and do not advertise the instruction as conveying employable or marketable skills
- Commercial driver education schools, which are subject to approval by the Secretary of State under Title 29-A, Chapter 11, Subchapter III
- Educational programs related to the real estate professions, which are subject to approval by the Maine Real Estate Commission under 32 MSRA chapter 59
- Educational programs offered by any professional or trade association primarily for the benefit of its own members
- Any institution authorized by the laws of this State to grant a degree
- Any course of instruction or training sponsored by a company for the education and training of its own employees, and the training or instruction is not the primary activity of the company
- Schools of cosmetology and barbering, which are subject to approval by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology under Title 32, Chapter 126
- Download a copy of the Initial Licensing Application (PDF, 49KB) Available in an accessible RTF format upon request.
The application for a license shall be accompanied by a fee of $100 and a surety bond and must be submitted at least 45 days prior to the expected date of licensing.
For applicants who participate in state or federal financial aid programs, except the Federal Direct Student Loan Program under the Federal Higher Education Act of 1965, the bond must be in favor of the Finance Authority of Maine. For all other applicants, the bond must be in favor of the Department. The amount of the bond for a new applicant is $20,000.
The bond must be continuous and must provide indemnification to any student suffering loss as a result of any fraud, misrepresentation, violation of chapter 323 or rules adopted under this chapter or breach of contract. The bond must provide for written notification by the surety to the commissioner in the event of cancellation. Cancellation of the body by the surety, or of payment under the bond by the surety to the Department or the Finance Authority of Maine, will result in the revocation of the license.
The bond must specifically provide that proceeds are available to pay tuition refunds to students or to student loan lenders on behalf of students eligible for those refunds pursuant to the policies of the school or state or federal law, rule or regulation.
The following supporting documents shall accompany the application:
Certification from the local fire department or the state fire marshal as well as the local code enforcement officer and the state health department (if the school prepares and provides food services inspection must be conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of Health Engineering) that the school plant adheres to the regulations as established by these agencies
Notarized, unaudited financial statements as evidence of sufficient capital, exclusive of proposed tuition, to operate for at least 12 months
Evidence of an accreditation or approval granted the school by any organized agency or association
A copy of the school's calendar for a complete year, showing school semesters or terms and normal enrollment dates
A copy of each form used for record maintenance purpose
A copy of all catalogs, print, advertisements, promotional material, circulars, enrollment or application blanks and contract forms
A list of all solicitors authorized by the school to recruit in Maine (in an out-of-state school)
A copy of the school's refund policy as well as a copy of posted information advising students of their rights to receive refunds and where to direct any complaints the students have concerning their education
A signed statement from the school's Chief Administrative Officer that the school is in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations
- Download License Renewal Application (PDF, 50KB) Available in an accessible RTF format upon request.
- Download Addendum to Renewal of Licensure (PDF, 63KB) Available in an accessible RTF format upon request.
The application for a license renewal shall be accompanied by a fee of $50 and must be submitted at least 15 days prior to the expected date of licensing.
The following supporting documents shall accompany the application:
- Information pertaining to changes in courses, publications, accreditation, refund policies and solicitors since the date of last approval shall be submitted with the renewal application. The renewal application must include the school's most recent financial audit conducted by a certified public accountant unaffiliated with the school. When the school does not participate in federal or state financial aid programs, internally prepared financial statements signed by the applicant are acceptable. The renewal licensing process may include an on-site evaluation when appropriate.
- Certification from the local fire department and the local code enforcement officer that the school continues to meet the regulations as established by these agencies shall be submitted every fourth year from the date of initial approval
- Every renewal application must include a bond equal to the greater of 10 percent of the applicant's gross receipts from tuition in 12 months prior to the application for renewal or $20,000. The bond must specifically provide the proceeds are available to pay the tuition refunds to students or to student loan lenders on behalf of students eligible for those refund pursuant to policies of the school or state or federal law, rule or regulation.
- Every renewal application must contain certification that:
- The school has included information in all school brochures and handbooks provided to students and has posted information in a location in the school frequented by students advising students of their rights to receive refunds and where to direct any complaints the students have concerning their education
- The school is in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws and regulations
All standards for initial license as specified in Section 6 must continue to be met.
A license is valid for the calendar year in which it is issued. All licenses shall expire on Dec. 31.
Standards for Initial License
The private business, vocational and technical school shall not use the words "Maine" or "State of Maine" or any title or name commonly accepted as descriptive of collegiate or university institutions.
- Each school shall be supervised by an administrative employee or officer of the school. If the school is a branch of a school that has its principal location outside of Maine, there shall be an agent, directory or solicitor whose designation, responsibilities and extent of authority shall be clearly stated in the application for a license.
- Instructor qualification will depend upon the kind of instruction offered. This item will be considered on an individual basis for each school. However, all instructors shall meet one of the following two requirements as applicable:
- An instructor shall hold all licenses, certificates and ratings that are necessary for the instructor to instruct in the field in which he/she is employed.
- An instructor shall have completed an extensive training program or have adequate experience commensurate with the area in which he/she offers instruction.
- An instructor shall be assigned to provide instruction throughout the advertised duration or a course (except in cases where more than one instructor is involved from the outset.)
Enrollment Requirement and Agreement
- Prior to enrollment, the school shall furnish to each student a copy of the school's bulletins and course outlines; schedule of tuition, fees and other charges; refund policy (including a statement advising students where to direct any complaints the students may have concerning their education); enrollment contact; and regulations pertaining to absences, grading policies and rules of operation and conduct.
- The school shall use an enrollment agreement (student contract) which shall contain:
- Pertinent information on the name and length of the course or program of instruction, the name and credentials of the instructor, the tuition and other costs and the methods of payment
- The beginning and approximate completion date of the program
- A statement of the registration fee and refund policy in the event a student does not start the course or discontinues prior to completion
Tuition, Fees and Other Charges
- Tuition, fees and other charges shall be stated in the school's application for license and in the school bulletin, enrollment agreement, or application for enrollment.
- Students shall not be held liable for any tuition, fee or other charges not previously identified in the application or school catalog and submitted to the commissioner.
- The registration fee shall not exceed 15 percent of the total tuition for the course or program of instruction or $150--whichever is the lesser amount.
- Each school shall establish and include with the license application a policy for the refund of the unused portion of tuition, fees and other charges in the event the student fails to enter the course or withdraws, or is terminated therefrom, at any time prior to the completion.
- In the case of a student who requests cancellation and/or refund within three business days after signing of the contract, the school shall cancel the application and refund in full all monies paid to the school by the student.
- In the case of a student whose enrollment application is rejected by the school, the school shall refund in full all monies paid to the school by the student. However, the school may retain a portion of the application fee not to exceed $25.
- In case of termination or withdrawal after classes commence, the school may retain the registration fee (not to exceed $150) and other charges as specified in the refund policy.
- If a student has paid any tuition, fees and other charges for enrollment periods or programs that extend beyond one school year, 12 calendar months, then any payment that does not apply to the school year when the student withdraws or terminates shall be refunded in full to the student.
- Refunds shall be made within 30 days after the effective date of withdrawal or termination.
- The school shall make available the records and necessary data required for a license for evaluation by the commissioner.
- The school shall make available the individual student records to the student who requests to review his/her academic/attendance records.
- The school shall establish a cumulative academic record (transcript) for each student and assure that it is maintained separately from financial and other school records.
- The school shall retain all student academic/attendance records for at least seven years. These records shall be available at all times to the commissioner.
- Any school located within Maine that ceases to operate shall forward the student attendance records to the commissioner.
- All advertising shall be based upon fact and be devoid of any statement that misleads or tends to mislead the public.
- All advertising and promotional literature used by a school must clearly indicate that training or education, and not employment, is being offered.
- Schools using classified columns of newspapers or other publications to solicit students must use only such columns as are headed by "Education," "Schools," "Instruction" or similarly titled classification.
- Statements, direct or implied, assuring or guaranteeing jobs or memberships in unions or other organizations as a result of completing a course or program of instruction shall not be used.
- Schools shall not publish in their bulletins or other promotional literature, instructional courses/programs or material not included in their application for a license.
- Any advertising of the price of tuition must sate the exact name of the course immediately followed by the number of instructional hours of the course. When the cost of tuition is advertised, the cost of tools, supplies, and all other charges shall be included in the advertising.
- Illustrations in bulletins, circulars or advertisements shall relate solely to the school being advertised. In the case of a school that operates two or more separate facilities, all illustrations shall clearly indicate which facility is shown.
- No statement or representation shall be made that students will be guaranteed employment while enrolled in the school or that employment will be guaranteed for students after graduation, nor shall any school or representative falsely represent opportunities for employment upon completion of any course of study.
- Schools wishing to include in advertising that they are licensed by the State shall be limited to use the words "Licensed by the State of Maine Department of Education."