Proprietary Schools

A proprietary school is any organization, association, corporation, partnership, limited liability corporation (LLC), sole proprietorship, or any other entity operated on a for‐profit or on a non‐profit basis that operates or seeks to operate to provide instruction or training for a business, trade, technical, industrial or other occupation, and that is not specifically exempted under postsecondary regulations.  Proprietary schools grant no awards above the pre‐associate certificate level.

The Council on Postsecondary Education has the authority to approve or deny the request for authorization to operate a proprietary school in Rhode Island (RIGL §16-40). All proprietary schools operating or seeking to operate in Rhode Island must abide by the Regulations Governing Proprietary Schools, including the Standards laid out in Section IV.

For questions regarding proprietary schools, please contact Deanna Velletri (Deanna.Velletri@riopc.edu) in the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner.


Annual Renewal

Approved proprietary schools must renew their authorization on an annual basis by submitting a renewal application, along with the required fee.

Download renewal forms 


New Application for Approval

The Regulations Governing Proprietary Schools give details about the process of applying for approval to operate a proprietary school in RI. Any school seeking new authorization must adhere to the following general provisions: 

  • Initial approval from the Council on Postsecondary Education must be secured prior to advertising, soliciting for, or operating any school in Rhode Island. (The single exception is that prospective teachers may be recruited and interviewed for an “anticipated opening” as long as they are informed they cannot be guaranteed employment prior to the Council’s approval of the school.)
  • Annual approval for all schools will expire each year on August 31, and, therefore, an annual application for renewal must be made no later than August 1.
  • The operation of a school must be separate and independent from any other business enterprise.
  • No school may use the word “college” or “university” in its title.
  • If a school is purchased or otherwise comes under different ownership, the approval is not necessarily transferable to the new owners.  

Before accepting a completed application for initial approval, RIOPC will make an assessment of the financial condition of any proposed school. Based ont he pre-application, schools will be advised on how to complete the full application for approval.

Download the pre-application


Approved Schools

The following schools have been approved to operate in Rhode Island for 2016-2017:

Complaints about any of the authorized proprietary schools should be directed to the school for resolution first; if no resolution can be agreed upon, students may submit complaints to the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner through the student complaint form


Student Records

Proprietary schools currently operating in RI maintain records for their current and former students, and you can contact the school directly regarding transcripts or other necessary documentation. 

RIOPC maintains student records for some proprietary schools that once operated in RI and have closed their doors. You can find the list of schools and request records on the student records page