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Frequently Asked Questions

Please review our database of frequently asked questions. Click on a subject to jump to that section.

If you don't find what you need, e-mail our webmaster at Webmaster@CPEC.CA.Gov

The Commission

Does the Commission authorize colleges and universities to operate in California?

The California Postsecondary EducationCommission is required under State law to review and approve proposals for new public institutions of higher education. These reviews are to ensure that new university and college campuses and off-campus centers are developed in accordance with state-wide needs and priorities. However, the Commission does not directly authorize colleges and universities to operate in California.

Both the federal government and the states rely upon "accrediting agencies" (private educational associations that develop criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met) as an indication of the quality of education offered by American schools and colleges. Colleges and universities must be accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education in order for it or its students to receive federal funds.

In California, the regional accrediting entity is the Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC). For further information about WASC you may contact:

The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
985 Atlantic Avenue Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 748-9001

or

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
10 Commercial Blvd, Ste 204
Novato, CA 94949
(415) 506-0234

Private postsecondary schools and colleges are approved by the State with oversight authority vested in the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). The BPPE also approves non-degree granting vocational schools and programs leading to licensing. State approval is not the same as accreditation. Some state approved institutions are accredited, while others are not.

Related Links:

What is the Commission?

The California Postsecondary Education Commission is the state's primary planning and advisory body on higher education. It was established in 1974 as a citizen board by the Legislature and the Governor to coordinate California colleges and universities and to provide independent, non-partisan policy analysis and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature.

Who appoints the Commissioners? Do they have to be confirmed by the State Senate?

The Commissioners are selected by various appointing authorities including the Governor, the Senate Rules Committee, the Speaker of the Assembly, the various segments of higher education, and the State Board of Education. Senate confirmation is unnecessary. See the main Commissioners page for more information.

College Guide

Can you tell me which Community Colleges are on the quarter system?

De Anza, Foothill and Lake Tahoe community colleges are on the quarter system. The others are on the semester system.

Can you tell me which community colleges offer housing?

Columbia
Lassen
Redwoods
Reedley
Santa Rosa
Shasta
Sierra
Siskiyous
Taft
West Hills
Yuba

Do you know any universities where I can get a degree without taking any math classes?

It is advisable to refer to the course catalog for information on which courses are required.

How is the determination made for the transferability of a community college course and its applicability to degree programs at the UC and CSU?

Course transferability depends on the institutions and any articulation agreements that may be in place between the two institutions. An articulation agreement is an official agreement whereby one college or university agrees to accept specific courses or groups of courses from another college or university as satisfying specific course-taking requirements in substitute of its own courses.

"Articulation" in this context is when CSU and UC faculty agree to accept sets of community college courses as having the focus, content and rigor necessary to meet course requirements at the baccalaureate institutions. Formal course articulation agreements generally fall within one of three areas:

  • General education breadth agreements, such as those represented by IGETC
  • Transferable course agreements, such as those approved by the State University in various systemwide degrees
  • Course-by-course agreements, which are generally used to build articulation of lower-division coursework required for a particular major.

You can get more information on transferability of community college courses and their applicability to CSU and UC degree programs through ASSIST (Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer) This service displays reports of how course credits earned at one California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's colleges and universities and provides the most accurate information available about student transfer in California.

Related Links:

I love the information in the College Guide. Does the Commission have information about out-of-state institutions?

Yes. Go to the College Guide Search page, scroll down to Additional Search Parameters and select Include Out-of-State Institutions. You can also search the Guide by Program (Major), or a number of other options.

I need information about disability services at the community colleges.

The Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSP&S) program, enacted in 1976, provides support services, specialized instruction, and educational accommodations to students with disabilities so that they can participate as fully and benefit as equitably from the college experience as their non-disabled peers. A Student Educational Contract (SEC) is developed for each student which links student goals, curricula, and academic accommodations to his/her specific disability-related educational limitation.
In addition, you can find out about disability services offered at each community college by using the Commission's Guide to California Colleges and Universities

Related Links:

I need information about the SAT and the ACT. Do they have websites? Is the ACT needed?

Colleges vary as to which test is required for entrance. Contact the schools you are interested in to find out which entrance exam is required.

The SAT is administered by the College Board. Other tests are administered by ACT, once known as the American College Testing Program.

Related Links:

I would like to get a mailing list of the colleges in California. Is this possible?

Please see the following link. It is a .csv (comma separated value) file that can be opened in Excel and other spreadsheet and database programs: www.cpec.ca.gov/OnLineData/AddressOptions.asp

What exactly are postsecondary institutions? Why are they called postsecondary institutions?

Postsecondary institutions are colleges and universities. They are called postsecondary because they offer education after high (or secondary) school.

Which University of California campuses are operating on the quarter system, and how many/which campuses on the semester system?

The University of California, Berkeley, is on the semester calendar, while the other nine UC campuses (Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Merced) use the quarter system.

Related Links:

Data

How does CPEC get segmental data? Does CPEC get reports directly from the centralized offices of the segment (UC, CSU, CCC, Independent) or does it get the data from IPEDS?

CPEC obtains data from the public segments [systemwide offices] for enrollment and degrees. Independent institution data comes from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). IPEDS data is also used for all segmental aggregated data. The Department of Education provides K-12 data.

For additional information, visit the Sources and Timing of Data web page.

How does the Commission determine a "First-time freshman" from the available data?

Commission staff use several criteria. Although the criteria vary by segment, the following community college criteria provides some insight to the process:

  • Student Level = Freshmen
  • Enrollment Status = 1 (First-time student)
  • Term ID = 7 or 8 (fall semester or quarter)
  • Age - between 12 and 19
  • Headcount status - A, B, C, F (credit or non-credit

How is the determination made for the transferability of a community college course and its applicability to degree programs at the UC and CSU?

Course transferability depends on the institutions and any articulation agreements that may be in place between the two institutions. An articulation agreement is an official agreement whereby one college or university agrees to accept specific courses or groups of courses from another college or university as satisfying specific course-taking requirements in substitute of its own courses.

"Articulation" in this context is when CSU and UC faculty agree to accept sets of community college courses as having the focus, content and rigor necessary to meet course requirements at the baccalaureate institutions. Formal course articulation agreements generally fall within one of three areas:

  • General education breadth agreements, such as those represented by IGETC
  • Transferable course agreements, such as those approved by the State University in various systemwide degrees
  • Course-by-course agreements, which are generally used to build articulation of lower-division coursework required for a particular major.

You can get more information on transferability of community college courses and their applicability to CSU and UC degree programs through ASSIST (Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer) This service displays reports of how course credits earned at one California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's colleges and universities and provides the most accurate information available about student transfer in California.

Related Links:

How often is the data collected for the CPEC data search on your site?

Visit our Sources and Timing of Data page for a concise list of data sources, how we collect the data, when we receive the data and when it becomes available on the website. Visit the Custom Data Reports Dates Available page for a list of the range of years for each table used on the website. The Commission website is dynamically driven by our database servers. The instant we update the data on our servers, it becomes available to you, our customers.

I think the number of students from my school that go on to college are greater than reported by CPEC data. Why is there a discrepancy?

There are several possible reasons. Our first-time freshmen data are calculated by selecting students that are 19 years old and younger in their freshmen year of college. The source high schools are reported by the UC, CSU and Community College data centers. Sometimes, the postsecondary institutions are not aware of new high schools. Those high schools might be coded as an unknown high school in a particular county, state or country. We do not follow a cohort of students because the high school and college data cannot be matched. We are not able to identify students from a particular high school that attend out-of-state institutions or private in-state institutions. Some students might have earned enough college credit (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or concurrent college) in high school to start college as a sophomore or junior. These students cannot be identified because of limitations in the data. Therefore they cannot be counted. Students frequently ask to have transcripts sent to a college although they might not enroll for any number of reasons. The count of transcripts (applications) sent will not equal enrollment counts.

I would like to get a mailing list of the colleges in California. Is this possible?

Please see the following link. It is a .csv (comma separated value) file that can be opened in Excel and other spreadsheet and database programs: www.cpec.ca.gov/OnLineData/AddressOptions.asp

If a student attends two or more community colleges, then transfers to UC or CSU, which community college is considered the source institution?

Generally speaking, when there are multiple community colleges, the community college where the student earned the most transferable units is considered the student's source institution.

The Custom Data Reports is difficult to use. How can I get help with the data?

The Custom Data Reports does have a learning curve because it can answer so many questions. Start with the Custom Data Reports Help page. This will answer some basic questions. For greater detail download Navigating the CPEC Custom Report System. This document takes the reader from selecting their criteria to downloading the data to Excel and creating a pivot table.

You can also view a video (about six minutes) to see how easy it is to create a report.

You can always ask us a question if you need help. Send an email to Data_Request@cpec.ca.gov with your detailed question.

Enrollment Growth

Doesn't California's Master Plan for Higher Education require the University of California and the California State University to admit and enroll all eligible students? Won't the university systems be violating State law if they place limitations on student enrollments?

No, the Master Plan does not "require" the CSU and UC to enroll all eligible students. It requires them to choose from among all eligible students in making their respective enrollment decisions. Both the CSU and UC have historically tried to find space for all eligible students who apply to their systems. California's Master Plan for Higher Education is a compact between the State of California and its public higher education institutions. The Master Plan provides that all California residents in the top one-eighth (12.5%) or top one-third (33%) of the statewide high school graduating class who apply on time be offered admission to some campus within the UC or CSU system, respectively, although not necessarily at the campus or in the major of first choice. Typically, the Master Plan has been interpreted as requiring the State's public universities to find a space for all eligible students and for the State to provide sufficient funding to support those enrollments. However, not every aspect of the Master Plan is in statute; it has been the historic institutional policy and practice of both university systems and the State to honor these provisions of the Master Plan. Since 1960, even during periods of severe budget constraint, the State's public university systems have continued to admit every eligible California high school student.

Fees and Tuition

How much will California residents pay in tuition and/or fees to attend the State's public colleges and universities as full-time undergraduate students? What about non-residents?

California residents pay only what are considered "fees" to attend the State's public colleges and universities; they do not pay "tuition." Only non-California residents pay "tuition" to attend the State's public colleges and universities. In actuality, this distinction has become less important since the early 1990s. Fees are generally defined as charges to cover the indirect costs associated with college attendance, while tution is defined as also including direct instructional costs. As resident student fee levels have risen, so has the use of revenue. Revenues from systemwide resident fees now are used as a general-purpose fund source for the higher education systems and are used to cover all the costs associated with the institution's operation.

Current and historic fees are posted on the Commission's Fiscal Snapshots page. A variety of additional information can be found in the Topical Listing of the Reports section.

How will the recent student fee increases affect enrollment at California's public colleges and universities?

State funded, need-based grant aid has been increased to cover the full cost of tuition increases at the University of California and the California State University. Students who receive these "Cal Grants" and attend the State's public institutions will not notice the impact of these fee increases. In addition, universities update their institutional aid programs to address the changing financial needs of needy students However, college students who do not qualify for this aid – and those who may qualify but do not apply – will face increased costs for attending college. This need will likely be met by a combination of increased work committments and greater student loan debt.

Is it true that California pays the college tuition for California residents if they attend a California University?

No. However California's public colleges and universities distinguish between residents and nonresidents for tuition purposes. State residents are charged much less than non-residents, who are charged the full cost of instruction.

What is Title IV?

This term refers to a section of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, which authorizes the vast majority of federal student financial assistance programs.

Title IV student financial aid programs are offered by most institutions that are accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. It is important to note that not all accrediting agencies are recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Students attending institutions that are accredited by agencies not recognized by the Secretary are ineligible to receive aid from the federal Title IV student financial aid programs.

Title IV programs include:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Stafford Loans

What portion of the cost of providing postsecondary education is borne directly by resident students attending California's public colleges and universities and what portion is subsidized by the State?

While we have imperfect information concerning the exact cost associated with providing postsecondary education in California's public colleges and universities, we estimate that, on average, undergraduate residents attending the University of California pay about 30 percent of the cost of education in that system; California State University undergraduates pay about 26 percent of the cost within that system; and California Community College students pay about 10 percent of their cost of education.

Meanwhile, the State of California and its taxpayers are providing about two-thirds of the support for the cost of education at the University of California and about 74 percent of the cost of education at the California State University. For the California Community Colleges, State General Fund revenues support about 48 percent of the cost of education, while local property tax revenues provide the remaining 42 percent of support.

The State and its taxpayers provide about $12,000 to support the postsecondary education of each full-time-equivalent student at the University of California, about $8,000 per full-time-equivalent student at the California State University, and State and local property tax revenues combined provide about $4,000 per full-time-equivalent student at the California Community Colleges.

(Numbers adjusted in 2007)

Financial Aid

Are there any programs in California that would allow one to prepay college tuition?

Yes. Check out California Golden State ScholarShare College Savings Trust. ScholarShare is an IRS Code Section 529 plan. Funds are invested in low-cost, professionally managed stock, bond and money market mutual funds designed to outpace tuition inflation. Investments grow on both a federal and state tax-deferred basis until withdrawn, at which point they are taxed at the beneficiary's (lower) rate. The funds are highly flexible - they may be used at any accredited higher education institution in the U.S., including vocational and technical schools and, if not used, can be transferred to other family members. Funds can be used for tuition, room and board, books, fees and other qualified expenses.

Unlike other college savings vehicles, there are no income limits and maximum contribution levels are far higher than the Education IRA. These "529" plans have been featured in Time, Newsweek, Money Magazine and USA Today as the best new way to save for college. Contributions can be made by check, payroll deduction or automatic funds transfer. For payroll deduction contributions, the minimum is only $15.

Do middle-income students qualify for student financial aid and/or for grant assistance to offset the recent student fee increases?

Many middle-income students do qualify for student financial aid, though most of it would be in the form of student loans and loans their parents or guardians may take to help finance students' college education. The federal government has established a rather complex methodology for determining the financial need of a student based upon the student's and his or her family's individual circumstances. The State's public colleges and universities use this federal methodology for determining a student's financial need. Students who feel they need financial assistance in order to attend or complete their postsecondary education should apply for financial aid even if they believe they or their parents earn too much money. For example, the University of California has recently announced that all financially needy students whose family incomes are less than $90,000 would receive an institutional grant to partially offset the recent increase in UC student fees -- even if those students do not qualify for any other types of grant aid. Because many middle-income families are considered financially needy, they too are eligible to receive a waiver of all California Community College student fees. Even if students are not financially needy, they or their parents may still receive a federal tax credit and/or a federal tax deduction for the student fees they pay.

Given the recent increases in student fees, has additional financial aid been provided to offset the fee increases for financially needy students?

Yes. State funded, need-based grant aid has been increased to cover the full cost of tuition increases at the University of California and the California State University. The segments have also adjusted their institutional financial aid programs to provide appropriate aid to financially needy students to offset the recent student fee increases.

Both UC and CSU regularly set aside between 24 percent and one-third of the additional revenue generated from the student fee increase for additional grant aid to needy students in recent years. All financially needy community college students are eligible to have their student fees waived through the Community College Board of Governors' Fee Waiver Program.

The overwhelming majority of financially needy students attending the State's public colleges and universities receive some form of need-based financial assistance. This aid generally offsets systemwide student fee increases. However, students must apply for financial aid in order to receive this assistance.

How does a student apply for financial aid?

The first step in applying for student financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. The FAFSA is available from college and university student financial aid offices, in public libraries, or can be completed on-line. Students are encouraged to contact their college or university's student financial aid office for assistance. Students still in high schools should work with their schools' counselors to assure tha they have the appropriate school information needed for the FAFSA. Students attending the California Community Colleges can have their enrollment fees waived by completing a short application form and requesting a Board of Governor's (BOG) Fee Waiver. The Community College BOG Fee Waiver applications are available from any California Community College student financial aid office.

Related Links:

What is Title IV?

This term refers to a section of the federal Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, which authorizes the vast majority of federal student financial assistance programs.

Title IV student financial aid programs are offered by most institutions that are accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. It is important to note that not all accrediting agencies are recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Students attending institutions that are accredited by agencies not recognized by the Secretary are ineligible to receive aid from the federal Title IV student financial aid programs.

Title IV programs include:

  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Federal Work Study
  • Federal Direct Loans
  • Federal Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Stafford Loans

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in all educational institutions, including K-12 and higher education, which receive federal funding. Specifically, the language states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX applies to all aspects of educational opportunities, but is especially well known for opening the door to greater athletic opportunities for women and girls. With regard to athletics, Title IX generally requires educational institutions and programs to do the following: offer male and female students equal opportunities to participate in athletics, including interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural and club sports; treat male and female athletes fairly; and give male and female athletes their fair share of athletic scholarship money and other resources. Prior to its passage, girls and women were limited in the athletic opportunities open to them in high school and college, and represented only a very small proportion of school athletes. Since the passage of Title IX, athletic participation rates have increased greatly at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. However, while significant progress has been made, the 1999-2000 NCAA Gender-Equity Report indicates that more than 80% of schools are not in compliance with the provisions of Title IX. An additional issue is that there has been little research into the composition of the populations who have participated in the increased opportunities provided by Title IX. Though not its intention, the effect of Title IX implementation appears to distribute benefits unequally among women. Further research is warranted to determine the degree to which women of color have benefited.

There have been numerous challenges for educational institutions striving to achieve compliance with Title IX. Federal and state regulations have gray areas that are difficult for schools and colleges to interpret. Compliance problems may be under-reported because of lack of awareness of Title IX and the complaint process. Available funding and an evolving body of law regarding the scope of Title IX have limited both federal and state enforcement of Title IX. Updating older facilities constructed during a pre-Title IX era presents many challenges to compliance, as overcrowded classrooms may be prioritized over gender equity concerns in athletic facilities.

Transfer

How is the determination made for the transferability of a community college course and its applicability to degree programs at the UC and CSU?

Course transferability depends on the institutions and any articulation agreements that may be in place between the two institutions. An articulation agreement is an official agreement whereby one college or university agrees to accept specific courses or groups of courses from another college or university as satisfying specific course-taking requirements in substitute of its own courses.

"Articulation" in this context is when CSU and UC faculty agree to accept sets of community college courses as having the focus, content and rigor necessary to meet course requirements at the baccalaureate institutions. Formal course articulation agreements generally fall within one of three areas:

  • General education breadth agreements, such as those represented by IGETC
  • Transferable course agreements, such as those approved by the State University in various systemwide degrees
  • Course-by-course agreements, which are generally used to build articulation of lower-division coursework required for a particular major.

You can get more information on transferability of community college courses and their applicability to CSU and UC degree programs through ASSIST (Articulation System Stimulating Interinstitutional Student Transfer) This service displays reports of how course credits earned at one California college or university can be applied when transferred to another. ASSIST is the official repository of articulation for California's colleges and universities and provides the most accurate information available about student transfer in California.

Related Links:

If a student attends two or more community colleges, then transfers to UC or CSU, which community college is considered the source institution?

Generally speaking, when there are multiple community colleges, the community college where the student earned the most transferable units is considered the student's source institution.

Accreditation

Is there such a thing as distance education accreditation?

Distance study accreditation is an institution-wide, national accreditation that covers all distance study courses offered by an institution. It is unique in American accreditation because it is based upon a method of instruction rather than educational level or subject matter discipline. It covers all programs, courses, and distance study endeavors of an institution, including degree, non-degree, vocational, and avocational programs. Unlike regional or specialized accrediting agencies, the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) provides distance education institutions with a single source of national recognition. For more information on distance education accreditation you may visit DETC's website.

Related Links:

What is accreditation and how do I know if a school or program is accredited?

Accrediting agencies are private educational associations of regional or national scope that develop criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met. Institutions or programs that meet an agency's criteria are thereby "accredited." Both the federal government and the states use accreditation as an indication of the quality of education offered by American schools and colleges. At the federal level, colleges and universities must be accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education in order for it or its students to receive federal funds.

Accreditation does not provide automatic acceptance by an institution of credit earned at another institution, nor does it give assurance of acceptance of graduates by employers. Acceptance of students or graduates is always the prerogative of the receiving institution or employer. For these reasons, besides ascertaining the accredited status of a school or program, students should take additional measures to determine, prior to enrollment, whether or not their educational goals will be met through attendance at a particular institution. These measures should include inquiries to institutions to which transfer might be desired or to prospective employers and, if possible, personal inspection of the institution at which enrollment in contemplated.

Private postsecondary schools and colleges are approved by the State with oversight authority vested in the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). The BPPE also approves non-degree granting vocational schools and programs leading to licensing. State approval is not the same as accreditation. Some state approved institutions are accredited, while others are not. For additional information about schools approved by BPPE, you may contact the Bureau or access their website:
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
P.O. Box 980818
West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818
Phone: (916) 574-7720

Related Links:

What is the difference between accreditation and approval?

Accreditation means that an institution has been recognized as meeting the standards established by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, or the Committee of Bar Examiners for the State of California.

Private postsecondary schools and colleges are approved by the State with oversight authority vested in the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). State Approval means the institution meets minimum standards established by BPPE for integrity, financial stability, and educational quality.

What is WASC?

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) purpose is to promote the welfare, interests, and development of elementary, secondary, and higher education through improvement of educational programs, close cooperation among the schools, colleges, and universities within the territory it undertakes to serve, certification of accreditation or candidacy status, and effective working relationships with other educational organizations and accrediting agencies. WASC and the other five regional associations in the United States grant institutional accreditation after a comprehensive self-study followed by an on-site evaluation of the programs and services of the total institution. For further information about WASC you may contact:

The Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities
985 Atlantic Avenue Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 748-9001

or

The Accrediting Commission for Community of Junior Colleges
10 Comercial Blvd , Ste 204
Novato CA 94949
(415)506-0234

Related Links:

Starting a College

We would like to open a cosmetology school, please provide information on how to apply.

Private postsecondary schools and colleges are approved by the State with oversight authority vested in the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE).

Contact information:
Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
P.O. Box 980818
West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818
Phone: (916) 574-7720

Related Links:

Closed Schools

The institution I attended has closed, how do I get a copy of my transcripts?

If a state-approved institution closes, state law requires the institution to arrange for the storage and safekeeping in California of all transcripts. The length of retention varies by type of institution. If the institution granted degrees, the transcripts must be maintained for 50 years. If it was a vocational institution, the transcripts must be maintained for 5 years. The repository for the records is decided on a case-by-case basis. To learn more about closed institutions, transcripts, the custodian of records, or additional information about schools approved by the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), you may contact the Bureau at:

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
P.O. Box 980818
West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818
Phone: (916) 574-7720

Related Links:

The school I attended has closed. Can you help or direct me where to go or who might be able to assist me in collecting the refund of my tuition?

Contact the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at (916) 574-7720.

Students can request, in writing, a refund of tuition from the school. The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) investigates whether closed schools may have violated state or federal law. If so, students may be eligible for a refund of all or part of tuition and other costs, such as the cost of books. More information on a particular school's refund policy can be found in its course catalog and/or enrollment agreement.

Related Links:

Title IX / Athletics

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in all educational institutions, including K-12 and higher education, which receive federal funding. Specifically, the language states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Title IX applies to all aspects of educational opportunities, but is especially well known for opening the door to greater athletic opportunities for women and girls. With regard to athletics, Title IX generally requires educational institutions and programs to do the following: offer male and female students equal opportunities to participate in athletics, including interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural and club sports; treat male and female athletes fairly; and give male and female athletes their fair share of athletic scholarship money and other resources. Prior to its passage, girls and women were limited in the athletic opportunities open to them in high school and college, and represented only a very small proportion of school athletes. Since the passage of Title IX, athletic participation rates have increased greatly at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. However, while significant progress has been made, the 1999-2000 NCAA Gender-Equity Report indicates that more than 80% of schools are not in compliance with the provisions of Title IX. An additional issue is that there has been little research into the composition of the populations who have participated in the increased opportunities provided by Title IX. Though not its intention, the effect of Title IX implementation appears to distribute benefits unequally among women. Further research is warranted to determine the degree to which women of color have benefited.

There have been numerous challenges for educational institutions striving to achieve compliance with Title IX. Federal and state regulations have gray areas that are difficult for schools and colleges to interpret. Compliance problems may be under-reported because of lack of awareness of Title IX and the complaint process. Available funding and an evolving body of law regarding the scope of Title IX have limited both federal and state enforcement of Title IX. Updating older facilities constructed during a pre-Title IX era presents many challenges to compliance, as overcrowded classrooms may be prioritized over gender equity concerns in athletic facilities.

Improving Teacher Quality Program

Can after-school intervention be part of the project?

It can be a component of a project, but grant funds may not be used to support professional development of after-school staff who are not credentialed teachers or who work off-site. After-school staff may be included in activities and may play a role in a well-conceived professional development plan, but unless they are full-time teachers at the treatment school, matching funds must be utilized to pay for any direct costs their participation will incur.

Can part of the professional development be delivered by principals and teacher leaders (with the IHE staff delivering some components)?

There is no set percentage that the IHEs must deliver. However, IHE staff should be deeply involved in the professional development design, and are responsible for managing and ensuring the effective and coherent delivery of the whole intervention.

Can we fit English Language (EL) skills for teachers into this model such as math teachers struggling with their own EL skills?

Yes. In fact, this has potential to be an excellent model. Assisting teachers to strengthen their language skills in order to help students develop language competency within the context of other subjects is a completely acceptable strategy.

Can we provide college credit to teacher participants?

College credit may be provided to teacher participants as an alternative to stipends or substitute costs, so long as the college credit is for activities that are part of the professional development offered by the project. While the purpose of the grant may not be to advance teachers to additional degrees, earning credit toward a degree (except a pre-service degree) is an acceptable byproduct of a grant award.

How does this tie into the district's plan required by the state for student improvement?

Proposers should be aware of any improvement plans and reform efforts underway in the school(s) they intend to serve. Successful proposers will build on these efforts and will complement them rather than compete with them. Projects that simply layer on another responsibility for teachers to other demands are less likely to succeed. Instead, the project proposed should supplement and harmonize with other work being conducted in the school(s) as part of a coherent plan.

If you are doing multiple subjects, how can you avoid giving teachers too much and expect them to implement in all subjects at once?

It is suggested that projects do not try to cover all the core academic subjects permitted, but limit themselves to one subject or to two or three related subjects. Any project that proposes to do more than one subject should provide a coherent plan for how content will be delivered and teachers will be guided in implementation. There is no single way to do this—it will be up to the proposer.

Other than current teachers, who else may be served by these projects? What about principals, paraprofessionals, and preservice teachers?

The ITQ projects are intended primarily to support people who are currently teachers and their principals. Projects are especially encouraged to provide professional development for principals in the targeted schools to better prepare them to lead whole school reform efforts. They may be included in professional development activities and project data collection, and help to build teamwork within their schools. Projects may not use grant funds to support professional development for principals that is required for administrative advancement. Paraprofessionals may also be included if they are preparing to be teachers, based on federal guidelines in Section G-18 of the Title II-A Non-Regulatory Guidance.

However, paraprofessionals not preparing to be teachers, and preservice teachers who are not paraprofessionals, are not eligible to be supported by grant funding. They may be involved in the project, but the costs of serving them must be paid for out of other funding sources.

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We want to work on reading and language arts, so who could we work with at the IHE since there is no "language arts department?"

In the case of this and other subject areas, the IHE structure may not exactly align with content areas. In this case, you should identify the department or departments that can provide the subject matter expertise you need and explain the choice of entity and selection of personnel in your proposal.

What are allowable activities that may be funded with an ITQ grant?

There are two major areas of allowable activities with specific elements:
  • Professional development activities in core academic subjects to ensure that:
    • Teachers, highly qualified paraprofessionals, and principals (if appropriate) have subject-matter knowledge in the academic subjects the teachers teach, and
    • Principals have the instructional leadership skills to effectively work with teachers in helping students master core academic subjects.
  • Developing and providing assistance to LEAs and their teachers and related staff in providing sustained, high-quality professional development that:
    • Ensure those individuals can use challenging State academic content standards, student achievement standards and state assessments to improve instructional practices and student academic achievement;
    • May include intensive programs to prepare some school personnel to provide professional development as described above to others in their schools, and
    • May include activities of partnerships involving one or more LEAs, their schools, and one or more IHEs to improve teaching and learning at low-performing schools.
Overall, the SAHE-administered portion of the Improving Teacher Quality Program is designed to facilitate the involvement of institutions of higher education in providing high quality, sustained professional development, making sure that subject matter and pedagogy expertise are available to high-need local educational agencies in order to carry out the purposes of the No Child Left Behind Act Title II-A.

What are the "core academic subjects" covered by the grants?

These subjects are Mathematics, Science, English, Reading or Language Arts, Foreign Languages, Civics and Government, Economics, Arts, History, and Geography. In California, applicants are expected to ground the professional development they offer in the State's adopted standards in each subject.

What do the acronyms used by this program mean?

The following are the acronyms most frequently used in the Improving Teacher Quality grant competition:
  • CPEC – California Postsecondary Education Commission (state agency that administers the ITQ Program)
  • ED – U.S. Department of Education (federal funding agency)
  • IHE – Institution of Higher Education (public and private colleges and universities)
  • ITQ – Improving Teacher Quality (Title II-A federally funded state grants program)
  • NCLB – the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (federal law that funds elementary and secondary education programs)
  • LEA – Local Educational Agency (school districts and county offices of education; for ITQ grants, only districts may be a "mandated" partner)
  • RFP – Request for Proposals (notification and requirements to compete for an ITQ grant)
  • IRB – Institutional Research Board

What is the purpose of the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program?

The State Grants Program administered by the California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) is part of Title II-A of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The overall purpose of Title II-A is to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality and ensure that all teachers are highly qualified. A portion of Title II-A funding is allocated to State Agencies for Higher Education like CPEC to fund competitive grants to partnerships involving colleges and universities. These partnerships use the funds to conduct professional development activities in core academic subjects to ensure that teachers, highly qualified paraprofessionals, and (if appropriate) principals have subject-matter knowledge in the academic subjects they teach and that they are also using effective teacher strategies to support student achievement in those subjects.

Improving Teacher Quality - Applications

Are there forms that should be used for the Needs Assessment portion of the application?

No, but the Application Instructions contained in the RFP include more detail about how you might structure the Needs Assessment. It is largely up to proposers to assess need through the use of school and district data, surveys, and other means, and to present those findings. The need identified must be specific to the school or schools proposed.

In addition to page limits in the narrative, is there a page limit for items included as attachments?

Attachments must adhere to the page limits for specific items and should not include additional materials to those described in the Application Instructions. The only exception would be the inclusion of one-page letters of commitment from partner agencies (general letters of support from partners or other agencies should NOT be included). Also, margins, type size, and page limits in the main body of the narrative must be observed, although the inclusion of short tables in single-spaced fonts is permitted. A general rule to be observed is not to overload the proposal—excess pages will be discarded and not considered by readers.

Is the ITQ State Grants Program highly competitive, or do most qualified applicants receive funding?

It is in the interest of quality projects to have as competitive a process as possible, but the number of proposers who submit in each round depends on many circumstances, most beyond the control of the program. CPEC does not know how many applications it will receive every year. The submission of Notices of Intent provides a maximum number, but generally, not all those who file a Notice actually complete a proposal.

May a project director lead more than one ITQ project?

With regard to project leadership, CPEC has historically preferred NOT to fund two projects with the same project director, but this policy is not written in stone. A proposal that includes a project director who already leads an ITQ project should provide additional justification for the project director designation that specifically addresses potential concerns regarding over-commitment and how the integrity of the separate projects will be ensured.

May an institution with a currently funded ITQ Project apply for a new ITQ grant? May an institution apply for more than one project at the same time?

The Improving Teacher Quality program tries to balance the need to widely distribute limited program funds with ensuring the selection of the highest quality projects. Therefore, our rules permit applications to be submitted in situations where all of the above issues apply. If an institution (college or university) wishes to apply for more than one project in a single competition, a separate Letter of Intent must be submitted for each project. An institution that already has an ITQ grant may apply for additional grants in new competition cycles. If one institution submits more than one proposal, bear in mind that it may add an additional layer of competition for those two proposals. If there are more proposals deemed fundable than CPEC is able to fund it would be unlikely that two from one institution would be funded. Also, in this case, geographic distribution of awards would be a factor.

Whose signatures are required on the Letter of Intent to Submit a Proposal

? The Letter of Intent to Submit a Proposal requires ONE signature from the Institution of Higher Education School or Division of Education (which prepares teachers and principals), ONE signature from the School of Arts and Science or a department within it, and ONE signature from the Local Educational Agency. Because the Letter of Intent is mainly used to establish the number of potential proposals and to demonstrate that partnerships are in place to submit them, it does NOT require the same level of signatures required on the final proposal. Project co-directors, lead faculty, or others involved in submitting the proposal may sign. The proposal itself requires signatures from administrators at the appropriate level to accept and/or commit to participation in a grant. All three of the mandated partner institutions (see partnership questions) must sign the application forms, but the signatures may appear on separate pages if needed. They may even arrive separately as long as it is made very clear which Notice of Intent the signature belongs to.

Improving Teacher Quality - Partnerships and Eligibility

An LEA used to be designated as high need and now it is not. What happened?

The eligibility determination is made using the most current US Census data available at the time of the competition. If new US Census data has been made available, the data may have changed in such a way that the LEA is no longer considered eligible (even though it was in previous census years). Similarly, districts that did not qualify in previous years may become eligible. (Note: a partner LEA will remain eligible throughout the life of the grant if it qualified as high-need at the time the grant was awarded, even if updated Census data shows a rate of poverty below the threshold.)

Are private schools eligible to participate in partnerships?

Yes, both private Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) and teachers or principals in private K-12 schools may participate. Whether or not a private IHE participates, there must be two mandated IHE partners—a school or division that prepares teachers and principals, and a school of arts and sciences. Private K-12 school teachers and principals may also participate to the extent that the partner LEA uses funds to provide for professional development for teachers and others. (Additional information on private school participation is available in the Title II-A Non-Regulatory Guidance, Section H.

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Are there specific rules for the structure of a partnership?

There is no cookie-cutter design by which partnerships must be structured, except an eligible partnership must include the three federally-mandated partners. The partnership needs to have a coherent plan that prioritizes service to teachers serving high-need students, but it may organize itself and designate its leadership to best meet project requirements. For further information see: Partnership Guidance for Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) Program Grants.

Can a community college be a mandated partner? Can it be a project lead?

Generally, community colleges cannot meet the federal requirement as "mandated" partners unless they provide teacher preparation that leads to a credential—a condition that few California community colleges meet. They also do not qualify as arts and science partners because they do not award baccalaureate degrees. However, community colleges may be additional partners in any project, may be designated as project lead by the partnership, and may even receive the project award. Their participation is encouraged.

Can a county office of education be a mandated partner? Can it be a project lead?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, because a county office of education is not the same kind of funding recipient as a school district and because its "high-need" status cannot be determined through U.S. Census data, it cannot be considered a mandated partner. However, a county office of education may be an additional partner in a project, and may be designated as project lead by the partnership. As with community colleges, the participation of county offices of education is encouraged.

Can a Subject Matter Project or a university-based institute be a mandated partner?

These types of entities may participate as a mandated partner ONLY if they are part of a College or School of Education and/or of a College or School of Arts and Sciences. The project director may be from such an entity if it is associated with a mandated partner IHE. The application must be signed by the university administrator who represents the School of Education or Arts and Sciences, not the director of the institute or project. If this entity is not officially part of the required IHE schools, it may still participate and may even play a lead role, but the mandated partners must also be included. Care should be taken to assure the proposal reflects ITQ priorities and grant requirements, notwithstanding the routine work of the entity that may play a lead role in proposing and implementing the project.

Do both IHE partners have to be from the same institution?

No. It is permissible for a partner IHE school or division that prepares teachers and principals and a partner IHE school of arts and sciences to be from separate IHEs. Additional IHEs may be optional partners.

Do rejected proposals receive any feedback?

Yes, CPEC does provide summaries of the readers' comments upon request. This usually happens sometime after proposers are notified that they have not advanced to the next stage. Please allow 8-10 weeks for a response.

Do you dictate the level of involvement of the second department?

We do not dictate a specific level of involvement for any of the partners, but the partnership and collaboration should be genuine and NOT only in name. The involvement of each partner should be a coherent part of the overall intervention in the school and should not be "tacked on" as an afterthought.

How is poverty determined? How flexible is this determination?

With regard to the mandated partner LEA, only U.S. Census data may be used for the poverty determination, the first of two tests of "high-need" for the district. The requirement specifies that EITHER 10,000 students OR 20% of the students age 5-17 living in the district must come from families living in poverty. This is not a flexible requirement regarding the LEA. An up-to-date Excel table that lists California LEAs meeting this requirement should be consulted when determining the LEA to be included in your partnership. See the Improving Teacher Quality pages for the latest information.

NOTE: 20% means 20%--not a lower figure that can be rounded up.

While only U.S. Census data may be used to determine LEA eligibility, indicators such as eligibility for free and reduced-price lunch or low school performance may be used to support the need for a project, and may also be used to designate the high-need school or schools which must be served by the project.

Is the Project Year Schedule flexible?

No, the Project Year Schedule specified in the final award is not flexible. For clarity, a distinction should be made between programmatic scheduling and budget/fiscal/administrative scheduling. Although a project must follow CPEC's project year schedule for budget and fiscal administration, proposers are free to structure and schedule program activities as they wish. CPEC closes out each year fiscally, but there is no need to interrupt project activities when transitioning from one year to the next. In terms of their budget, projects must adhere to the project year schedule provided in the application documents. Each year's budget is considered a separate "pot" of money, which means:
  • The budget must be structured to follow the given project year schedule (but activities may overlap project years).
  • The project will submit mid-year and Annual Fiscal Reports on the schedule provided.
  • Program activities that occur during a given project year must be paid for out of funds from the same year's approved budget.
  • Commission approval is required to carry unspent funds over from year to year.
Proposers should schedule activities as they determine best for the project's needs. The costs for the activities, depending on the dates they are incurred, should be allocated to the appropriate year's budget. If necessary, unanticipated schedule changes or other administrative issues can be accommodated by carrying over unspent funds to a subsequent year, with Commission approval.

May an Extension Division of an IHE coordinate or lead a grant?

An Extension Division or other IHE organizational unit may be an additional partner in a grant and may assume responsibility for grant management. However, the mandatory partners of a School of Education and a School of Arts and Sciences must also be included in the grant.

May an IHE outside of California participate in a grant?

There is no prohibition against a non-California IHE participating as a partner in a grant, even as a mandated partner (either education or arts and science). However, the grant will be awarded only to a California-based IHE, which must also be part of the partnership.

May charter schools participate in the grant? May a charter school serve as the high-need LEA?

Charter schools that are under the jurisdiction of a participating school district (assuming that district or another within the proposed partnership is a "high-need" LEA) are definitely eligible to participate. Schools chartered under the authority of the state or a County Office of Education may participate, but the County Office may not be considered the "high-need LEA" partner. Charter schools that are direct-funded and meet California state requirements as independent LEAs may be considered for participation as the high-need LEA. The conditions for eligibility in terms of student poverty and teacher qualifications are still being determined through consultation between CPEC and the California Department of Education.

Since actual awards are not generally made to community colleges, how can community college staff be involved?

The law does not state who must do the work involved in a grant, and there is no limitation on the tasks that community college staff might share with mandated IHE staff. Normally, the award goes to the mandated IHE partner, but CPEC would entertain proposals that made the community college the grant recipient, so long as the two mandated IHE partners are also part of the grant. Community college staff could design and deliver the professional development activities, assisting with evaluation, and any other project element the overall partnership determines to be appropriate.

What do "mandated partner," "principal partner," and "lead partner" mean?

"Mandated partner" is one of three entities that federal statute requires be a participant in a partnership under the Improving Teacher Quality Program. It means the same as "required partner" but CPEC uses the term "mandated." The mandated partners are a school or division in an IHE that prepares teachers and principals, a school of arts and sciences in an IHE, and a high-need LEA. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) refers to the statutorily mandated partner as a "principal partner." The "lead partner," though not an official term, refers to the partner that assumes responsibility for operating the project, and may or may not be a "mandated" partner.

What happens between the submission of the grants and announcements of awards?

The proposals submitted will be distributed to peer reviewers drawn from university, K-12, and evaluation backgrounds. Each proposal will be read and scored by several reviewers. In early July, readers will convene in panels to identify all proposals that may be fundable; these proposers will be invited to interviews with ITQ staff and selected panel members. That process will result in a final list of recommended grantees that will go to the ITQ program administrator, who will submit recommendations to the CPEC Executive Director for approval of the grant awards. If necessary, ITQ and CPEC staff may negotiate budget changes with selected projects before the award is finalized.

What is meant by "mandated partnerships" to receive a grant?

In order to be funded, a project must be provided by a partnership that includes, at a minimum, a school or division that prepares teachers and principals in an Institution of Higher Education (IHE); a department within a school of arts and sciences in an IHE (representing the content area that is the focus of the project); and a high-need Local Educational Agency (LEA). Other ("optional") partners may be involved, including another LEA, a public charter school, an elementary or secondary school, an educational service agency, a nonprofit educational organization, another IHE, a school of arts and sciences within that IHE, the division of that IHE that prepares teachers and principals, a nonprofit cultural organization, an entity carrying out a pre-kindergarten program, a teacher organization, a principal organization, or a business.

What is meant by a "high percentage" of teachers who are teaching outside their certification or whose credentials are not permanent?

Since NCLB required all teachers to be "highly qualified" by 2005-06, the percentage of these teachers has declined, but has not reached zero. Applicants will be required to report the percentage of teachers they have in both categories. Based on 2006-2007 data from the California Department of Education, 95% of teachers statewide are fully credentialed. Therefore, a percentage of 5% or more teachers who do not have full credentials in the partner LEA will automatically be deemed to be a "high percentage." LEAs with a percentage lower than 5% but greater than zero will not necessarily be disqualified, and may be determined to be eligible depending on the circumstances. (NOTE: the percentage of teachers in the district who have not met "highly qualified" requirements may also be submitted, but is not necessarily the same as the two items above). The project should identify these numbers for the district as a whole and for the required "high need" school and submit both to CPEC, which will determine whether the teacher requirement is met. To get district information, visit the California Department of Education's Data Quest Portal.

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What is meant by the "high-need LEA" requirement?

The mandated Local Educational Agency (LEA) partner MUST be a high-need LEA. This definition has two elements:
  • The LEA serves at least 10,000 children from families below the poverty level OR at least 20% of the children in the district are from families below the poverty level (based on district population—the number of children ages 5-17 living within the district boundaries—NOT on school enrollment), AND
  • There are a high percentage of teachers who are not teaching in the academic subjects or grade levels that the teachers were trained to teach, OR there are a high percentage of teachers with emergency, provisional, or temporary certification or licensing.
IMPORTANT: At least ONE school to be served by the grant must also fit the requirement for "high-need." However, as U.S. Census figures are not available by school site, the applicant may use other indicators, such as percent of free and reduced lunch AND a high percentage of teachers teaching outside of their certification or with provisional, emergency, or temporary credentials.

Which partner receives the funding?

Only California institutions of higher education (IHEs) may be designated as grantees. This includes colleges and universities in the University of California (UC) system, California State University (CSU) system, and accredited private universities within the state. California Community Colleges may also be designated by mandated partners to receive a grant although they are only optional partners. Any partner in the grant may act as the fiscal agent, although normally that is the role of the IHE receiving the grant. Also, any partner in the grant may act as the lead partner responsible for project management. Funds awarded to IHEs may be provided to other members of the partnership as subgrants or through contracts or interagency agreements. No single partner in the grant may BENEFIT from more than 50% of the funds in the grant (see additional information under Funding Questions).

Improving Teacher Quality - Funding and Budget

Are matching funds required?

There is no requirement to provide matching funds for ITQ grants. However, contributions of matching funds and/or in-kind services from the applicant institution, its partners, or outside sources are strongly encouraged as a commitment to demonstrating project sustainability. These contributions may also gain extra credit in the scoring. One potential source of contributions is the LEA's Title II-A formula grant allocation.

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Are meal expenses an allowable cost?

Reasonable expenses for food are an allowable cost as a meeting expense under federal rules and need not be itemized in the budget, but should be included within meeting or workshop expenses. Projects must also follow their institution's policy with regard to such expenses. Additionally, travel that includes meal expenses is an allowable cost, but projects should limit travel expenses to the State of California guidelines or their own institution's policy, whichever is less. A general budget guideline would be to minimize meal costs to the extent possible, and to seek funds from other sources or in-kind contributions to support meals at meetings if possible.

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Can we use these funds to pay tuition for participants?

These funds may not be used to pay tuition for pre-service teachers, but it is possible a sufficient case can be made for paying some tuition for active teachers who are participants in the intervention. Note that if use of these funds for tuition is proposed, it should be only one component of a coherent professional development plan, not the reason for the intervention. Payment of either tuition or stipends may be allowed, but not both.

Explain the "teacher day" calculation in the Budget Overview sheet.

The purpose of the Budget Overview is to summarize major project data on one page to make it easily available to reviewers and ITQ staff. The purpose of the calculation of "teacher days" is to produce an "apples to apples" comparative cost figure for a project that may be considered in evaluating whether it is cost-effective. Since most projects deliver services in increments of hours, rather than days, we have provided a conversion from hours into days. The calculation is intended to convert the total number of hours provided to all teachers served during the life of the project into a total number of project days provided, and then to arrive at a per day cost by dividing that figure into the total four-year cost of the project. (NOTE: this figure is not meant to represent the daily stipend of a teacher or other "per day" costs—it is a shorthand formula to find the cost per teacher spread across the entire project). The "teacher day" calculation is applied only to the federal funds being requested from the Commission.

How will projects be evaluated for "cost effectiveness?" Is there a specific amount per teacher day that is too much?

There is no hard-and-fast rule for determining that a project is too expensive for the value it produces. However, your goal should be to deliver cost-effective service, not to maximize the amount of grant funding received. In previous competitions most projects that were deemed to be fundable and reasonable by the reviewers showed costs per teacher day between $300 and $650. A figure that exceeds $650/teacher day—or that is extremely low—will need to be explained and justified in the proposal.

Is funding awarded on a year-by-year basis or is it awarded for the entire four-year period?

The grant award is intended to fund the total project over the four-year period, but must be spent per annual budgets. Additional applications are not required for activation of funding in each subsequent year, but the continuation of funding is subject to several conditions: continuation of federal authorizing legislation and availability of federal funds; submission of required reports and data by projects; and substantial compliance with the goals, objectives, and activities outlined in the original proposal or modified with approval of ITQ Program management. CPEC does not normally issue formal announcements of funding each year, but will confirm informally that funding continues to institutions upon request. ITQ management reserves the right to terminate a grant in the event of non-performance or violation of law, regulation or guidance, but will not do so without advance notice to the institution that provides an opportunity to correct the deficiency.

Is there a limit on the amount of subcontracts?

No. There is, however, a limit on the indirect costs that can be taken on subcontracts (see the next question).

What is the 50% rule regarding funding?

The Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program requires that no single partner in the grant may BENEFIT from more than 50% of the funds in the grant (since each project requires at least three partners, this should not be difficult). Projects will be expected to estimate the distribution of funding benefit when submitting their proposed budgets and to file annual reports and a final report of how they have adhered to the rule. More discussion of the rule can be found in Section F-29 of the Non-Regulatory Guidance for Title II-A issued by the U.S. Department of Education.

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What is the indirect cost recovery rate?

The maximum indirect cost recovery rate is 8 percent. In the event that funds are allocated by the grantee institution through contracts or subgrants to other partners, the indirect cost recovery rate may be applied only to the first $25,000 of the contract or subgrant. Additionally, grantees are expected to apply the 8% maximum to indirect charges by other agencies in those contracts or subgrants.

What is the source of the funds for these grants

Improving Teacher Quality State Grants funds come from Title II, Part A of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001—the federal legislation that provides support to elementary and secondary education. The program's goal, in line with NCLB's overall goals, is to ensure that all students have access to highly qualified teachers. In addition to these competitive grants awarded to institutions of higher education, Title II-A also allocates formula grants directly to school districts for professional development. (For further information on formula grants, contact the California Department of Education. Contact information is available on the Improving Teacher Quality Contacts page.

Improving Teacher Quality - Research

Are controlled experiments required for the research portion of the grant? What level of statistical power is required?

The research portion of the grant should include an experimental or quasi-experimental design with sufficient controls to establish that the results measured at the project's completion can reasonably be inferred to be linked to the intervention. Most projects have been able to identify similar cohorts to that which receives the intervention in order to secure data for control purposes. There are no specific requirements regarding statistical power, but projects should aim for the best result they can obtain within the fiscal parameters of the project and practical issues on the ground. Overall, projects will be expected to gather and report evidence of impacts on teacher practice and knowledge and on student achievement that result from the intervention.

Are there sources of assistance for project directors in developing their research plans?

The Commission has recently published a field guide to assist project staff in determining their research needs and developing a plan to meet them. The Field Guide offers a basic review of scientifically based research and offers many checklists to help project staff—both program managers and researchers—develop a solid research plan. Download the Field Guide on our website at: http://www.cpec.ca.gov/FederalPrograms/FieldGuide.pdf

Can an IHE partner perform the evaluation research?

There is no rule against an IHE partner (including a member of the leadership team) serving as research director. If this is proposed, steps must be taken to insure against bias, and evidence will required of the person's qualifications. In the event the project will seek research assistance outside, there are many resources to identify organizations and individuals who are qualified as research professionals. See Part II, Chapter 2 of the SBR Field Guide for more information about locating and working with research consultants: http://www.cpec.ca.gov/FederalPrograms/FieldGuide.pdf.

Could we involve the campus IRB as a system of checks and balances?

The Institutional Research Board (IRB) on your campus is not expected to be a participant in your grant—that is not their role. You will have to assure that your evaluation research is submitted to and approved by the IRB. Suggestions and recommendations made by the IRB may help you identify and address problems in the research plan, which can serve as a form of "checks and balances."

Does the whole school model rules out random assignment? Can you give us an example of what type of research design we might use?

The whole school model does not automatically rule out random assignment. Many feel that random assignment is too hard to do in educational research, but there are creative ways to think about random assignment which might be of particular use in this initiative. See Part 1, chapter 3 of the Scientifically Based Research Field Guide for more on this topic: http://www.cpec.ca.gov/FederalPrograms/FieldGuide.pdf.

The specifics of research design are so individual to each proposal that we cannot make a general statement about which design might be best. Finding an experienced and thoughtful researcher to work with who will listen closely to what you are trying to do and will be thoughtful about developing a robust research plan is the best place to start. Guidance on research design are available at CPEC's technical assistance workshops prior to a competition, and the audio recordings of one meeting are archived on the CPEC website. To register to attend a workshop and for more information, visit the Improving Teacher Quality pages.

How do we provide research references in the proposal?

In those sections of the project narrative that cite research studies, proposers should use APA style to provide the citations (parenthetical citations at the end of the material cited). The list of references must be included as a separate document following the project description, and is limited to a maximum of 2 pages. It will not count against the total page limit for the narrative.

In addition to IRB approval, do we need to get parent permission?

You should be able to develop a research plan that will meet with campus IRB approval without having any need to seek parental permission if you plan to use only aggregated statistical data on students. Student data provided by the LEA can and should be "scrubbed" of all student identifier information and provided in a form that does not permit links to any particular student. If your research design includes student interviews or similar data collection, or it deals with students enrolled in an "academy" model, you may need to secure parental permission. IRB requirements, in general, will be determined by the research design.

What are you getting at in terms of dissemination? Who are we disseminating to, etc?

Dissemination is largely up to the project, and most normal forms of dissemination include journal articles, reports at conferences and meetings, and the like. It is highly desirable that project directors also seek to disseminate information on the project outcomes among their own partners or others in the region, and that the research findings are made available for possible replication.

What are you looking for in a control school?

Proposers should enlist the assistance of a professional research consultant in designing their control plan. There are many "correct" ways to approach this issue, but the bottom line is that you will be expected to get as good a match as you can possibly find.

What percent of the total budget is assumed to be allowable for the research portion of the grant?

A figure between eight and fifteen percent of the total grant is generally considered within a reasonable range. Any amount above that range will require additional justification based on project specifics.

Where can someone find assistance in preparing the research plan?

Proposers are strongly encouraged to consult the CPEC publication: Examining Educational Experiments: A Field Guide for Conducting Scientifically Based Research. This publication can be found on the CPEC website at: http://www.cpec.ca.gov/FederalPrograms/FieldGuide.pdf

Who should projects utilize to manage the research portion of their grants? Is it required (or prohibited) to contract with research experts outside of the institution submitting the proposal?

Many projects secure the assistance of external research experts to help design and implement their research plan. This is not required, and is up to the discretion of the institution. Whoever serves as research director should have qualifications and experience that substantiate their ability to design and manage credible evaluation research.

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