This manual has been developed to assist agents in the important task of helping career colleges and schools alleviate criticism and complaints relative to unlawful and unethical practices in the marketing area of the industry.
A thorough study of its contents and adherence to the statements herein will, in the opinion of the Board, not only contribute in this effort but, more importantly, will make your role as an agent more agreeable and profitable.
Our mutual objective is to provide Ohio citizens with quality postsecondary education incorporating the necessary skills required by our increasingly complex technical and social society.
We anticipate your full compliance and cooperation.
JOHN P. WARE
An agent is generally defined as a person empowered to act for another. Under the provisions of Chapter 3332 of the Revised Code of Ohio which governs the registration of career colleges and schools and their agents, an agent is defined as any individual whose primary duties, performed while on or off school premises, include distribution of literature or information on behalf of a person offering a program, and the solicitation of prospective students in Ohio to enroll for a fee in a program.
An agent is not a counselor. As a reminder, a counselor means an academic advisor, or an employee who, by virtue of education and/or experience performs any or all of the following duties:
1. Advise students while they are pursuing training;
2. Obtains information from or about graduates to determine the effectiveness of their training;
3. Aids in vocational placement of trainees.
The term counselor or any modification thereof shall not be used by anyone who solicits or enrolls students.
THE ETHICAL CONDUCT OF AGENTS
Pursuant to division (H) of section 3332.031 of the Revised Code, the Board has established a code of ethics for agents. An agent representing a career college or school is expected to:
- Have a thorough understanding of the school, its course offerings, facilities, staff and instructors' qualifications.
- Have a knowledge of the success of individuals who have completed the school's programs and were able to obtain either initial employment or advancement in the field in which they were trained.
- Clearly understand that approved and accredited are not the same terms and are not to be used as such. Accredited will only be used by schools who have been accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education.
- Refrain from discrediting other schools by claiming that they are guilty of dishonorable conduct, are unable to fulfill the terms of a contract, are in trouble financially, or make other derogatory comments.
- Refrain from attempting to influence a student to withdraw from a school that the student is presently attending.
- Refrain from encouraging a prospective student to change plans after signing an enrollment application and paying the registration fee to another school.
- Refrain from making exaggerated statements concerning job or employment opportunities.
- Carefully explain to the prospective students that, in addition to course completion, there are certain employment positions requiring examinations and tests, either state or federal, to become licensed prior to being employed in specific fields.
- Accurately state the availability of financial aid at the school.
- Be responsible to make sure the prospective student is provided a receipt for monies collected and a copy of the enrollment agreement.
- Remit to the school, promptly, any funds received from prospective or new students even though the school may be in arrears in the financial obligations to the agent.
- Refrain from offering money or other considerations to students or any other persons, who do not possess an agent permit, to solicit, recruit or otherwise entice prospective students to enroll in the school that you represent.
- Cultivate a highly professional working relationship with all school officials, especially school counselors, financial aid, and persons who seek job placement for the student, in the enrollment of students.
- Refrain from any attempt to obtain a list of names of prospective students still attending any other school, in any manner other than that which is consistent with the school's policy.
- Scrupulously avoid accepting employment or any other type of identification with an employment or sales agency other than the placement service provided by the school represented. This can be a conflict of interest.
- Avoid making any promises to prospective students that cannot be verified.
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
It is the responsibility of the school to determine with reasonable certainty, in advance of the acceptance of a prospective student's enrollment, that the student meets the minimum basic admissions' qualifications to successfully assimilate the program they intend to enter.
Prior to a student's enrollment, a school shall determine, with reasonable certainty, that a prospective student is fully informed as to:
- The graduation requirements and expected outcomes of the program they desire to take;
- The obligations they are entering into;
- Their responsibilities and rights under any contracts or agreements that they are given to sign
No applicant will be allowed to sign an enrollment agreement until the school has provided the applicant with placement and graduation rates, by program, for each of the preceding three years.
A prospective student may be officially enrolled in school only when they have signed the school's enrollment agreement. A copy of the enrollment agreement must be furnished the student at the time the agreement is signed.
It is the responsibility of all schools to develop an informational briefing on financial aid with special attention on the obligations of any student who applies for and accepts a financial aid grant or loan. A student who applies for financial aid through the school shall be required to attend a school's informational briefing on financial aid and sign a statement acknowledging an understanding of the financial obligations they are entering.
If a school accepts an enrollment application from a person who does not meet the normal basic qualifications for acceptance, it should have a record of whatever correspondence has taken place about the prospective student and of the reasons why they were permitted to enroll, and be prepared to justify its action to the Board in accepting the enrollment, if requested.
No school shall accept an enrollment from a person of compulsory school age unless legally dismissed from school, nor one attending a school of elementary or high school level, until and unless it has been established through contact with a responsible person that pursuit of the course would not be detrimental to his/her regular school work.
ISSUANCE OF AGENT
All agents must be regular school employees and may not be outside commissioned persons such as solicitors, canvassers, or independent contractors.
Each school shall assume full responsibility for the actions, statements and conduct of its agents unless an agent's acts or omissions were manifestly outside the scope of the agent's employment or official responsibilities.
Schools will provide agents with adequate training and arrange for proper supervision of their work.
If an agent represents more than one school, they must obtain a separate permit for each school represented. An agent who represents a person or entity that operates more than one school in the same geographical area, as determined by the Board on a case-by-case basis, need not obtain a separate permit for each school.
An agent permit is valid for one year from the date it is issued, unless sooner revoked by the Board. Agent permits must be renewed annually and will be valid for a maximum of thirty days after expiration provided that the school is taking the steps necessary to renew the permit. The permits will be mailed to the school.
Schools will be notified at least sixty days in advance of the expiration date of the agent's permit. The responsibility for renewal of the agent's permit rest with the school.
No permit shall be issued to any person found by the Board not be of good moral character. Any applicant who has pleaded guilty to or has been convicted of a felony or has pleaded guilty or has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude must file a detailed explanation of the circumstances with the agent application and include three letters of reference from the community. The school planning to employ the applicant must validate all elements of the application and provide evidence of the authenticity of the letters of reference.
In unusual circumstances, the Board may require that any agent submit to a background check prior to the issuance of an agent's permit.
Agent permits are processed by the Executive Director of the Board, with the exception of applications indicating a guilty plea to or a conviction of a felony or a guilty plea or a conviction of a crime of moral turpitude, which requires specific Board approval.
STATE BOARD OF
35 EAST BROAD STREET, SUITE 2481
COLUMBUS, OH 43215-3414
(877) 275-4219 Toll Free
(614) 466-2219 Fax