This page is intended to describe the Educational Approval Board (EAB) and what it does. It does not supersede statutes or administrative rule in defining the agency's roles and responsibilities.
The EAB protects consumers by approving and supervising private, postsecondary schools that offer occupational training and educational programs to Wisconsin residents.
The EAB exists for two reasons: 1) to prevent consumers from being misled; and 2) to ensure consumers get quality programs. We do this by holding schools accountable.
The EAB oversees for-profit, postsecondary schools (except cosmetology and real estate); out-of-state non-profit colleges and universities; in-state non-profit institutions incorporated after 1/1/92.
A school is any entity (individual, business or institution) which charges tuition for postsecondary training or education. We define a school by what it does, not what it is called.
Generally, the EAB approves training or education that leads to employment, a diploma, or degree. Such training or education is offered in a defined program.
Any for-profit entity, or non-profit entity incorporated after 1/1/92, must be approved in order to contract with the Workforce Investment Act, W2, or Vocational Rehabilitation.
The following kinds of training are exempt from EAB oversight:
We typically view professional development as training which increases the skills of individuals already qualified for an occupation. This sort of instruction does not fall under EAB jurisdiction. Training for upgrading of skills which leads to a higher level in an occupation may need to be approved.
State statutes say if a school serves a Wisconsin resident, it should be EAB approved unless the school is exempt. However, many schools offering programs and degrees via the Internet do not seek EAB approval. To protect themselves, consumers should contact the EAB before enrolling in schools offering distance learning programs.
Unapproved schools are breaking the law. The Attorney General enforces EAB statutes. An unapproved school is subject to a $500-a-day fine and other penalties.
EAB approval gives school credibility. A list of approved schools is made available to public agencies, job seekers, school counselors, and others interested in education and training.
Although the EAB is a state agency, it receives no tax monies to carry out its responsibilities. EAB charges fees for an initial school application as well as program, teaching location, change of ownership, and school representative applications. EAB-approved schools also pay annual renewal fees.
If you want to start a proprietary or private school, go to the School and Program Approval Guide and Application Forms for information. Carefully read about the approval process--then contact an EAB education consultant to discuss the approval process and answer any questions.
The EAB has an application form, which is used to guide the process. The process generally look like this:
Every year a school must renew its approval by sending in a renewal application. The application is due in September prior to the calendar year for which the school is renewing its approval.
The annual renewal fee has two parts:
The EAB requires that schools and teaching locations not pose a health or safety risk to students or staff and that they provide an adequate learning environment. The Division of Safety & Buildings inspects facilities. Schools must provide to us information about each location along with the appropriate application and fee.
The EAB expects each school to maintain high ethical standards in producing advertising and promotional materials. We have strict guidelines which bar misleading or unfounded claims by a school.
Periodically we receive student complaints. We investigate these only after they are put into written form from the complainant. We work with the school and the complainant to resolve the complaint. If we cannot resolve the situation, the student and/or the school may request a hearing before the board.
Schools must have refund policies, which enable students to withdraw or change their mind about attending a school without losing all tuition they have paid. We require that schools be bonded to protect students if a school closes or if it defrauds or misrepresents itself to the public. We require that enrollment documents and school catalogs contain specific information to allow students to make informed decisions regarding enrollment in a school or program.
Obtain a copy of the school complaint process from the school you are attending. Talk to the teacher or person involved. State clearly what you need or want. If you are not satisfied, contact the education director or school owner. If you follow all the steps of the school process and you are still not satisfied, you may send a letter or call the EAB delineating your complaint, and the facts of the case, in writing. When the complaint is received, this office will contact the school and conduct an investigation into the situation which resulted in the complaint.
The EAB directly manages a closed school situation. We provide advice to students, work with surety companies to secure reimbursements and coordinate activities with other appropriate state and federal agencies. We also ensure that all school records are retained so that students can verify attendance for future education and employment needs.
The EAB does not have student records for all closed schools. If you need a transcript from a school that closed, please contact the EAB to see whether it has those records. If the EAB has the records, you will be contacted and informed about the process to obtain a copy of your transcript.
The term "accreditation" is often misunderstood or incorrectly used synonymously with "EAB approval." Most private postsecondary schools serving Wisconsin students, whether they are located within or outside the state, are required by state law to obtain the EAB's approval prior to advertising or providing training. Accreditation, on the other hand, is a non-governmental, voluntary peer review process. In addition to satisfying the state's legal requirements, EAB approval gives credibility to a school, regardless of whether or not it is accredited.
Please view State Approval and Accreditation: Detailed Description and State Approval and Accreditation: What is the Difference? for more information about accreditation.