There are thousands of colleges offering degrees in the United States, but not all are legitimate institutions. To protect students and their families, the Council enforces Kentucky law requiring licensure of a college to advertise or operate in the state.
Why Kentucky needs campus licensure
When pursuing a college degree, it is important to have a degree valued by the academic and employer communities. However, not all colleges provide these degrees; there are fraudulent organizations out to indebt students for courses or degrees that will not prepare them for the workforce.
Kentucky’s leaders recognized the importance of protecting students and their families against these frauds. The Commonwealth has legislation that requires licensure by the Council of all private postsecondary institutions granting bachelor’s degrees. This licensing, which is the result of a thorough assessment process by experts, is required before a campus can enroll, or even advertise, in Kentucky.
How we make it work
Before granting a license to a college, the Council thoroughly reviews the academic programs offered. The review includes the degrees offered, the quality of faculty teaching those programs, the rigor of the curriculum and the course requirements for degrees.
In addition to academics, the Council thoroughly evaluates other factors, including the classroom environment, policies, catalog and communications.
Once a campus receives its license to operate in Kentucky, the Council has the authority to protect students from bad business practices.
Preserving quality is a big issue. Students and their families need assurance that once an institution receives its license, it maintains its academic quality and business integrity. To this end, the Council yearly reviews the status of the 100+ institutions licensed to operate in Kentucky. If an institution does not meet the Council’s standards, the institution has the opportunity to rectify the issues, but with a conditional license.
When an institution loses its license, the Council helps facilitate the closure by:
- Approving a receiver for records, as designated by the closing campus.
- Providing access to resources to help with successful transfers to another campus or institution.
How licensure benefits Kentuckians
Debt and employability are two big concerns of Kentucky’s students, as well as adults returning to college to further their careers. Licensure helps ensure that Kentucky’s postsecondary institutions are offering legitimate, quality academic programs that will prepare students for life.
How licensure helps us toward 2025 goals
To increase the employability of Kentuckians, they need a quality education. The Council licenses not-for-profit campuses and for-profit baccalaureate-degree-granting campuses to protect citizens and Kentucky's public institutions from fraudulent practices, unfair competition and substandard educational programs.
Learn more about Kentucky's education goals by viewing Stronger By Degrees, the Council's strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education.