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Private Vocational Schools Act

Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board
Telephone: (360) 709-4600
E-mail: workforce@wtb.wa.gov

State Website: www.wtb.wa.gov
PVSA Web Link: http://www.wtb.wa.gov/pcs.asp

Participation: 36,972 students were served by licensed private vocational schools in Washington between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015.

Who is Served: Private vocational schools, also known as private career schools or colleges, serve a wide range of students. Generally, a high school diploma or GED is required for entry into a private vocational school or college.  Individuals without a high school diploma or equivalent must pass an ability-to-benefit test before being accepted.

Program Description: Private career schools represent a large segment of Washington’s education and training resources. The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board licenses and regulates these for-profit schools (as well as several non-profit private schools), ensuring adequate educational quality and protection against unfair or misleading practices. The agency also administers the Tuition Recovery Trust Fund, which provides financial assistance for students adversely affected by a school closure.

Program History: Washington's Private Vocational Schools Act was passed as a consumer protection law in 1986. The law protects students who enroll in private career school programs offering credentials below the degree level. Today, the state's 330-plus schools offer a variety of career and technical training programs, such as massage therapy, boat building, health care, information technology, truck driving, and many more.

State Core Measures: See Workforce Training Results at http://wtb.wa.gov/WorkforceTrainingResults.asp

Other Outcome Measures: The state's Eligible Training Provider List is a form of outcome measurement for private schools. Schools that want their programs to be eligible to receive Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds or to train dislocated workers receiving extended Unemployment Insurance benefits must meet certain standards for student completion, employment, and earnings. In addition, many individual schools apply their own measures.

Funding and Regional Division: Private vocational schools are not funded by the state. The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board’s costs to administer the Private Vocational Schools Act are offset by license fees paid by the schools. The agency received $255,566 in license fees (July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013).

State Expenditures: N/A

Federal Expenditures: N/A

Statutory Authority: Private Vocational Schools Act, RCW 28C.10 and WAC 490-105. Administered by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.

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