Proprietary School Certification
Certain types of postsecondary education providers must be approved to operate by the MDHE. The MDHE's Proprietary School Certification Program is responsible for the oversight activities involved in this approval process. This page contains information and links of interest to individuals and institutions that want to offer postsecondary education in the state, for schools currently approved to operate, and for students and prospective students.
The central focus of the Proprietary School Certification Program is consumer protection. This is accomplished through the establishment of standards for school operation and monitoring of those operations to ensure students are treated in a fair and equitable manner and receive education and training consistent with the published objectives of the instructional programs and the school.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) selected a new High School Equivalency (HSE) exam for Missourians seeking a high school equivalency certificate. Missouri began offering the new exam on January 2, 2014. While some applicants may provide a GED® credential, proprietary schools are encouraged to review and revise admissions policy as appropriate to ensure the HSE will be accepted for admission purposes.
Annual Recertification (2014-2015)
Certification to operate must be renewed each year. Materials and information relating to the 2014-2015 recertification cycle for all existing schools are available for use. Click on the links below to access the information and documents you need. Please note that recertification applications must be received by the Missouri Department of Higher Education no later than Monday, March 17, 2014. Applications received after March 17, 2014 are considered late, and the school may be charged a late fee of $10 per day.
The department asks that schools submit the application single-sided (no duplexing) because the recertification applications are scanned into an optical imaging system. Duplex copies require additional staff time to scan, so your assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Summary and explanation of the recertification process including deadlines, instructions, and links to application materials and sources of additional information.
Recertification Application/Data Forms
Links to the two primary recertification application packages: one for schools offering instruction in Missouri and one for schools recruiting students to a non-Missouri campus.
Helpful information about using the electronic applications and related data forms.
Information and assistance request form focused solely on issues regarding recertification.
Biennial Recertification Is Here!
Per the requirements of HB 1042, which became effective August 28, 2012, the MDHE is providing the opportunity for eligible schools to apply for a two-year certificate of approval to operate beginning with the 2014-2015 recertification cycle. For more detailed information, review the related program regulations or contact us.
Getting Started As a School In Missouri
Any school or training facility that is not specifically exempted from the law must be certified to operate to offer instruction, grant certificates or degrees, or recruit students in the state of Missouri. In order to comply with this requirement, schools must apply for exemption from or certification to operate under the proprietary school regulations. It is important to note that proprietary as contained in the program title is somewhat of a misnomer as profit-making status is not a primary factor in determining if a school is subject to the certification requirements.
Explanation of certification to operate and a brief overview of the process to become certified to operate.
This link will take you to an overview of the standards established by the MDHE for certification to operate. While primarily applicable to applicant and currently operating schools, this information may also be of interest to students and parents.
This link is for individuals or schools wanting to become certified to operate. It will take you to more detailed information about becoming certified to operate in Missouri, including how to request an application and access to other related resources.
Certain types of schools are not subject to the certification program requirements. Exemption, as this status is called, must be granted by the MDHE based on the submission of an application. This link takes you to a more detailed explanation of the exemption process and eligibility criteria.
Monitor School Operations
Proprietary School Certification Program staff conduct regular on-site evaluations of schools. These evaluations include interviews with faculty and staff, observation of classes and school operations, surveys of students and graduates, and reviews of institutional and student records.
This section provides access to information about how to report and the necessary forms for reporting a variety of changes at the school.
Student Record Verification
The Proprietary School Certification Program strives to maintain information on closed schools in the state of Missouri. In some instances, the department maintains the actual records although we make no claims for having records in their entirety. Click here for information on how to obtain a copy of your transcript or other student records.
Public Information Resources
To assist prospective students and their parents in making informed choices about educational institutions, the Proprietary School Certification Program provides a variety of public information resources about the schools that are certified to operate.
The state's business portal provides information about other requirements for starting a business in missouri such as registration, filings, licenses, and permits required by other agencies.
This is a small business resource for the state of Missouri. MOSourceLink provides a monthly newsletter highlighting tips and trends to help small businesses.
Data tables reporting student and institutional information about the characteristics, scope, and economic impact of this sector.
Consumer information about this sector of education, including a closed school FAQ and information on how to choose a school.
Explanation of what accreditation is and information about a number of recognized accrediting commissions.
Information about substandard educational entities and tips about how to avoid being deceived by such organizations and links to listings of accredited institutions in the United States and recognized institutions in Canada.
Information about a Missouri postsecondary education institution or programs offered in Missouri.