INSTITUTIONAL SELF-STUDY

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1 INSTITUTIONAL SELF-STUDY FOR THEOLOGICAL DEGREE-GRANTING INSTITUTIONS APPLYING FOR MINISTRY REVIEW FOR ELIGIBILITY TO APPLY FOR EQA DESIGNATION 04 February 2015

2 INTRODUCTION Amendments to Citizenship and Immigration Canada regulations regarding the International Student Program (ISP) require all provinces, including British Columbia, to submit a list of institutions eligible to host international students with study permits on the basis of meeting provincial standards. For more information on the federal ISP regulation changes and the British Columbia ISP Designated List, please see: To be eligible to host international students on study permits, all British Columbia postsecondary institutions and language schools will be required to have British Columbia s Education Quality Assurance (EQA) designation by December 31, Institutions wishing to host international students for six months or less (who do not require study permits), are not required to be on the list. The EQA designation requirements are based on the British Columbia Standards for International Student Program (BC Standards), (see Appendix 1). The BC Standards share common pan-canadian elements, ensure the integrity of the ISP, and enhance British Columbia s standing as a destination of choice for international students seeking a quality education. Ministry Review/EQA Designation British Columbia theological institutions that wish to host international students on study permits must complete a two-phase process to achieve EQA designation (see flow chart on next page). Institutions eligible for this process operate under a private Act of the British Columbia Legislature and grant theological degrees. For further information on eligibility please see Appendix 2. Phase 1 Ministry of Advanced Education Review Institutions must first submit a completed Institutional Self-Study (Self-Study) for review by the Ministry for determination of eligibility for EQA. There is no fee for the Ministry s review unless the Ministry determines that an external review with an expert panel is necessary, which will be at the institution s expense. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 1 of 18

3 Phase 2 EQA Designation Once an institution is assessed as meeting the quality assurance standards to be eligible for EQA, it must then submit a separate application and fees for EQA designation. The requirements for EQA are set out in the EQA Policy & Procedures Manual at: The following flowchart outlines the application process for theological degree-granting institutions applying for Ministry Review to meet quality assurance standards for eligibility to apply for EQA designation. Institutional Self-Study Phase 1 Ministry Review Ministry Assessment of Prior Accreditation (if applicable) Ministry Review of Self-Study against BC Standards Missing Information /Clarification If yes, If no, Ministry determination of further review/site visit Ministry Decision Self-Study does not meet BC Standards Self-Study meets BC Standards Institution notified of issues Institutional response to issues Institution not eligible to apply for EQA designation If no, Ministry Decision If yes, Institution eligible to apply for EQA designation Phase 2 EQA Designation Ministry of Advanced Education Page 2 of 18

4 A. Institutional Self-Study The Self-Study will be used in the Ministry s review of eligible institutions that wish to apply for EQA. The requirements of the Self-Study incorporate aspects of EQA requirements. B. Submission Guidelines Please ensure that you read this document thoroughly prior to submitting an application. The following content and heading format are based on the BC Standards (see Appendix 1). Institutions are asked to provide information in the order and format indicated in the following sections. The Ministry will assess the Self-Study to determine whether the institution meets quality assurance standards specific to the BC Standards. Those institutions accredited by either the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS) and/or the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) must submit their accreditation reports (and institutional responses) to the Ministry for consideration in addition to the completed Self-Study. Accredited institutions may wish to reference sections of their submitted ATS or ABHE accreditation reports as evidence of meeting some/all of the following standards. In the case of consortia and/or partnership arrangements, institutions must apply separately (but may apply concurrently), with details of the consortia/partnership arrangements including any shared services and copies of formal agreements. Institutions agree that as part of their submission that the Ministry has permission to consult with any professional, accrediting or regulatory body named in the submitted documentation. Institutions may be required to undergo an external review conducted by a panel of experts. Institutions will have the opportunity to make suggestions for potential expert reviewers and will be consulted on the proposed panel members to ensure appropriate expertise in the sector. Expert reviewers with specialized expertise may be selected by the Ministry from both theological and other post-secondary institutions as well as other relevant sectors. The Ministry retains the right to make the final decision about expert reviewers. External reviews are at the institution s expense. Self-Studies should be submitted to: Contact Information: Ministry of Advanced Education Telephone: Governance and Quality Assurance Branch Facsimile: PO Box 9883 STN PROV GOVT Victoria, BC V8W 9T6 Website: Ministry of Advanced Education Page 3 of 18

5 C. Required Information and Documentation 1. Operational Capacity In this section, the institution is asked to demonstrate that it has the quality assurance mechanisms, operating experience, and infrastructure and resources to effectively manage an institution of higher learning and that it is compliant with provincial legislation regarding the delivery of education and/or training programs. Please use the following standards to assess operational capacity: (a) (b) (c) (d) Compliance with Provincial Legislation The institution must be in compliance with respect to applicable provincial legislation and regulations, and/or policies governing education. The institution must also be in good standing with any applicable bylaws, standards, and policies respecting the delivery of education or training programs set by accrediting or standard-setting bodies recognized by British Columbia. Quality Assurance The institution has been reviewed and approved through existing provincial mechanisms relating to academic or vocational training AND/OR met the review and approval requirements of a provincially approved third party body at the institution s expense. Operating Experience The institution can demonstrate a minimum of one year operating experience, including enrolling students, immediately prior to its application. Infrastructure and Resources The institution has the infrastructure and resources necessary for the safe and effective delivery of its educational programs in accordance with accepted post-secondary education and industry standards and practices. Required Information and Documentation Provide a list and explanation of the following factors 1, if applicable: o instances of non-compliance by the organization or its principals with legislation and/or regulations such as StudentAid BC, Private Career Training Institutions Agency; or other applicable legislation such as the Society Act, Business Corporations Act, and Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. o any person or entity with a decision-making role at the institution found to be involved in criminal activities or activities that contravene a statute; o any outstanding, related civil judgments against the institution; and o any ongoing, relevant legal proceedings involving the institution. 1 For the purposes of this section, the words applicant and institution mean the applicant institution, legal entity, and/or its owner(s). Ministry of Advanced Education Page 4 of 18

6 Provide a list of all theological degree programs offered and at what level (i.e. undergraduate, graduate). If applicable, include evidence of how degree-level programs have met quality assurance standards established by ATS and/or ABHE, and submit institution/degree program accreditation reports and institutional responses. For those institutions not accredited by ATS or ABHE, provide degree program quality assurance reports conducted by a body external to the institution and institutional response(s). Note: The BC Standards focus on institutional capacity and protection of students. Program assessment is outside the scope of this review. Any suspensions, sanctions, or other actions taken by quality assurance/regulatory body(ies) or governments that have authority to review or make determinations about the institution, its programs or students attending its programs; Student complaints made about the institution to the Ministry, quality assurance body(ies), human rights tribunal, legal system etc. that have been upheld by the quality assurance body(ies), through tribunals/legal means (or a body of appropriate authority). Confirm the length of time that the institution has been operating and enrolling students. Describe the following: o the governance and administrative structures that maintain the effectiveness, viability and integrity of the institution. o the institution s infrastructure and resources including physical plant, equipment, library, technology and support services adequate to support its educational and student activities; o policies and procedures related to safety and emergency preparedness that ensure a safe environment for students, faculty and employees, and that demonstrate the organization is prepared to respond effectively to emergency situations and critical incidents; and o confirm that the facilities comply with the enactments of British Columbia and the municipality or regional district in which the facilities are located. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 5 of 18

7 2. Financial Capacity In this section, the institution is asked to demonstrate that it has the financial capacity and resources to provide a stable learning environment and to ensure that students can complete their programs; procedures for a regular audit by an arm s-length professional accountant of the institution s financial methods, performance, and stability; and methods to protect student financial investment in case the institution ceases activity. Please use the following standards to assess financial capacity: (a) (b) Financial Viability and Management The institution can demonstrate its financial capacity to provide programs of study to students through a third party assessment using reliable financial documentation (e.g. audited financial statements). Financial Protection The institution provides a financial guarantee for the protection of students investment that meets provincial requirements. Required Information and Documentation Provide any policies or procedures related to the regular audit of institutional financial methods, performance and stability by a qualified third-party accountant in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices. Provide the most recent audited financial statements prepared by a qualified independent accountant (e.g. CA, CGA, CMA) for institutions with tuition revenue of over $500,000. Review Engagement Reports will be accepted in place of audited financial statements for institutions with tuition revenue under $500,000. Provide any policies and procedures with respect to strategic planning and decision-making and how these provide the appropriate financial, facilities and human resources for the institution. Describe the institutional methods to protect student financial investment in the case of the cessation of activity. Submit required financial protection for students (see Appendix 3 for further information). Ministry of Advanced Education Page 6 of 18

8 3. Consumer Protection for Students In this section, the institution is asked to demonstrate that it values and upholds integrity and ethical conduct in its relations with students through the availability of full, accurate, and truthful material regarding the institution and its policies and procedures. Please use the following standards to assess consumer protection: (a) Tuition-fee Refund Policy The institution can demonstrate that it has adopted policies and procedures that provide for the protection of students, including a transparent tuition-fee refund policy that is written in plain language and is made available to all students upon offer of admission. (b) (c) (d) Student Dispute Resolution The institution can demonstrate that it has clearly documented and published student dispute resolution process and procedures that are adhered to and readily available to current and prospective students at any time before, during and up to two years after the program of study. Student Contracts The Institution provides transparent student contracts that are written in plain language, identifying the education program the student is enrolled in, all program requirements, and all associated tuition and fees. Student Records The Institution maintains records of enrolment, academic assessment, academic progress and program completion for all students. Required Information and Documentation Provide any policies and procedures regarding the protection of international students including those related to tuition fee refunds and dispute resolution and explain how these are accessible to current and prospective students. Transcripts must include student information in accordance with accepted post-secondary and industry standards and practices. Describe program contingency plans in the case of institutional closure, i.e. arrangements with other institution(s) to allow students to complete their programs. Provide a sample of the institution s student contract/enrolment agreement indicating all program and tuition/fee information provided to students. The student s obligation under the contract must not exceed a period of 12 consecutive months; Describe the institutional policies and procedures regarding the accurate and secure maintenance of enrolment records, academic assessment, academic progress and program completion for all students, consistent with the requirements of the Personal Information Protection Act. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 7 of 18

9 4. Administrative and Student Supports In this section, the institution is asked to demonstrate that it has the administrative capacity and student supports to provide services to meet the unique needs of international students including facilities, services and other support services to assist students to be successful in their studies and develop and grow in non-academic areas. Please use the following standards to assess administrative and student supports: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Administrative Capacity The institution can demonstrate that it has sufficient administrative capacity to provide services to meet the needs of all of its students. Promotional Activities The institution undertakes promotional initiatives that are, where applicable, in compliance with British Columbia regulations and/or policies on advertising, including (but not limited to) compliance with the Imagine Education au/in Canada brand-eligibility framework. Student Supports The institution has supports in place to meet the specific needs of students in accordance with accepted post-secondary and industry standards and practices. The institution must have a clearly identified person, office or department whose function is to provide, coordinate or oversee international student supports. Student Standing The institution can demonstrate that it has a published policy that is adhered to and outlines the elements that constitute a student s good standing at the institution and, where applicable, demonstrates that that policy is consistent with provincial requirements and generally accepted post-secondary practices. Language Proficiency and Credential Assessment and Recognition The institution can demonstrate that it has policies related to language proficiency for students whose first language is not English and for credential assessment and recognition that are adhered to and applied consistently, and disseminates accurate and transparent information and procedures regarding those policies to prospective students. Required Information and Documentation Explain how the institution has sufficient and qualified senior and other administrative staff, with clear lines of responsibility, authority and accountability necessary to conduct the affairs of the institution. Describe the main methods of student recruitment and advertising including sample copies of website and/or other promotional materials and advertising. Demonstrate that the institution has the facilities, services and programs that provide support services to meet international student needs. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 8 of 18

10 Indicate whether the institution has a specific office or person designated for student (domestic and international) support services. Provide any policies and procedures regarding the elements of student good standing; language proficiency; and credential assessment and recognition for international students and how this information is disseminated. 5. Data Reporting and Monitoring Institutions will be required to report twice a year to Citizenship and Immigration Canada on international student enrolments via the Designated Learning Institution Portal. For more information on the requirements for compliance reporting, please see the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website at: Institutions will also be required to report to the Ministry on an annual basis, noting any substantive and material changes to the organization and/or its degree programs. Institutions are also required to report immediately to the Ministry and update any substantive changes to the material submitted in their Self-Study. The Ministry reserves the right to visit the institution at any time to confirm eligibility for EQA. Please use the following standards to assess data reporting/monitoring: (a) (b) Data Reporting The institution can maintain the following enrolment-reporting requirements, established by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and has designated an individual who will be responsible for: i. confirming the initial enrolment of each international student with a study permit; and ii. reporting on the ongoing enrolment status of all international students with student permits attending that institution. Ongoing Compliance The Institution agrees to provide full and complete information related to matters covered within the BC Standards and to participate in compliance reviews when requested by applicable quality assurance/regulatory bodies or Government. Required Information and Documentation Demonstrate that the institution has effective and ongoing policies and procedures in place to enable accurate tracking of student enrolment and the ability to report to the Ministry and Citizenship and Immigration Canada on initial and ongoing enrolment of each international student with a study permit. Institutions accredited by either ATS or ABHE should indicate when their next accreditation review is due to take place. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 9 of 18

11 6. Appeal Process If a Self-Study does not meet the standards set out in the BC Standards, the institution will be notified and given an opportunity to provide additional information and/or clarification for further review. Ministry quality assurance reviews are not subject to appeal once the Ministry has made a final determination that they do not meet the standards set out in the BC Standards. Unsuccessful applicants may re-apply after a period of one year following the Ministry decision that the institution does not meet the standards set out in the BC Standards and is not eligible for EQA designation. Self-Study Checklist I have included all information requested in this document or indicated where it is not applicable. I have included any applicable ATS or ABHE accreditation reports and the institution s responses to the reports. I have read and understand the Acknowledgement below. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 10 of 18

12 Acknowledgement Institutions are asked to read and sign the following Acknowledgement to confirm their ongoing compliance with the British Columbia Standards for International Student Program Designation as stated above. By submitting this application, the applicant institution acknowledges the following: The Self-Study is not exhaustive of the considerations that may be taken into account in the Ministry s quality assurance review of the institution s application. The institution will be informed and given an opportunity to respond to any other considerations. The institution has provided full and complete information related to matters covered within the Self Study and will participate in quality reviews when required. As part of the quality assurance review process, the Ministry may conduct a site visit(s) to review facilities and/or records to validate the institutional information provided. Should the Ministry undertake an external review with an expert panel, the institution agrees that the expert review will be at the institution s expense and that the institution will provide the expert panel with the information and access when required. Ongoing reporting and monitoring including financial reporting will be a requirement for institutions that are granted EQA designation. Name of authorized representative Position at institution Signature Date Ministry of Advanced Education Page 11 of 18

13 APPENDIX 1 British Columbia Standards for International Student Program 1. Operational Capacity Standard Compliance with Provincial Legislation The institution must be in compliance with respect to applicable provincial legislation and regulations, and/or policies governing education. The institution must also be in good standing with any applicable bylaws, standards, and policies respecting the delivery of education or training programs set by accrediting or standard-setting bodies recognized by British Columbia. Quality Assurance The institution has been reviewed and approved through existing provincial mechanisms relating to academic or vocational training AND/OR met the review and approval requirements of a provincially approved third party body at the institution s expense. Operating Experience The institution can demonstrate a minimum of one year operating experience, including enrolling students, immediately prior to its application. Infrastructure and Resources The institution has the infrastructure and resources necessary for the safe and effective delivery of its educational programs in accordance with accepted post-secondary education and industry standards and practices. 2. Financial Capacity Standard Financial Viability and Management The institution can demonstrate its financial capacity to provide programs of study to students through a third party assessment using reliable financial documentation (e.g. audited financial statements). Financial Protection The institution provides a financial guarantee for the protection of students investment that meets provincial requirements. 3. Consumer Protection for Students Standard Tuition-fee Refund Policy The institution can demonstrate that it has adopted policies and procedures that provide for the protection of students, including a transparent tuition-fee refund policy that is written in plain language and is made available to all students upon offer of admission. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 12 of 18

14 Student Dispute Resolution The institution can demonstrate that it has clearly documented and published student dispute resolution process and procedures that are adhered to and readily available to current and prospective students at any time before, during and up to two years after the program of study. Student Contracts The Institution provides transparent student contracts that are written in plain language, identifying the education program the student is enrolled in, all program requirements, and all associated tuition and fees. Student Records The Institution maintains records of enrolment, academic assessment, academic progress and program completion for all students. 4. Administrative and Student Supports Standard Administrative Capacity The institution can demonstrate that it has sufficient administrative capacity to provide services to meet the needs of all of its students. Promotional Activities The institution undertakes promotional initiatives that are, where applicable, in compliance with British Columbia regulations and/or policies on advertising, including (but not limited to) compliance with the Imagine Education au/in Canada brand-eligibility framework. Student Supports The institution has supports in place to meet the specific needs of students in accordance with accepted post-secondary and industry standards and practices. The institution must have a clearly identified person, office or department whose function is to provide, coordinate or oversee international student supports. Student Standing The institution can demonstrate that it has a published policy that is adhered to and outlines the elements that constitute a student s good standing at the institution and, where applicable, demonstrates that that policy is consistent with provincial requirements and generally accepted post-secondary practices. Language Proficiency and Credential Assessment and Recognition The institution can demonstrate that it has policies related to language proficiency for students whose first language is not English and for credential assessment and recognition that are adhered to and applied consistently, and disseminates accurate and transparent information and procedures regarding those policies to prospective students. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 13 of 18

15 5. Data Reporting and Monitoring Standard Data Reporting The institution can maintain the following enrolment-reporting requirements, established by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and has designated an individual who will be responsible for: i. confirming the initial enrolment of each international student with a study permit; and ii. reporting on the ongoing enrolment status of all international students with student permits attending that institution. Ongoing Compliance The Institution agrees to provide full and complete information related to matters covered within the British Columbia Standards for the International Student Program and to participate in compliance reviews when requested by applicable quality assurance/regulatory bodies or Government. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 14 of 18

16 APPENDIX 2 Theological Institutions The following theological institutions are established in British Columbia with statutory authority under a Private Act to grant theological degrees: Canadian Baptist Seminary Vancouver Bible Institute Enabling Act, 1968 Canadian Pentecostal Seminary Canadian Pentecostal Seminary Act, 2003 Carey Theological College Carey Hall Act, 1959 Christ College Christ College of Canada Society Act 2012, (formerly the Christ for the Nations Bible College Act 2006) Columbia Bible College Columbia Bible College Act, 1987 Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary Act, 2013 Pacific Life Bible College Pacific Life Bible College Act, amended 2005 (formerly Pacific Bible College Act 1985) Northwest Baptist Seminary Northwest Baptist Theological College Act, 1959 Okanagan Bible College Okanagan Bible College Act, 1983 Regent College Regent College Act, 1968 Seminary of Christ the King* Seminary of Christ the King Act, 1966 St. Andrew s Hall St. Andrew s Hall Act, 1955 St. Mark s College St. Mark s College Act, 1956 Summit Pacific College Summit Pacific College Act, amended 2003 (formerly the Western Pentecostal Bible College Act, 1967) Trinity Western University* Trinity Western University Act 1964, amended 2004 Vancouver School of Theology Vancouver School of Theology Act, 1992 * These institutions also have authority to grant certain academic degrees. Degree programs offered by Trinity Western University and Seminary of Christ the King are listed on each institution's website. New degree programs established after April 11, 2002 require authority under the Degree Authorization Act. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 15 of 18

17 Theological Degrees Theological degrees are generally understood to mean degrees offered by a private Bible college, Seminary or religious post-secondary institution in British Columbia under statutory authority that have the following characteristics: Academic achievement in theological studies or in respect of preparation for a religious vocation at the baccalaureate, masters or doctoral level; The name, goals and objectives, promotional materials, and requirements for the degree clearly indicate that the program prepares one for a religious vocation; advancing theological scholarship; personal enrichment; or spiritual formation. Do not include programs represented to any student or prospective student as providing preparation for a vocation not closely related to that particular faith, or programs that purport to provide a general education program recognized by other post-secondary institutions, and the business and social community as being substantially equivalent to institutions offering programs with secular degree designation. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 16 of 18

18 APPENDIX 3 Student Financial Protection As tuition collection practices vary across institutions, e.g. students may pay by installment or pre-pay full tuition, any of the following protections may be used: Phased collection report indicating student tuition fees collected by installment and the institutional policies and procedures governing the payment of tuition fees on an installment basis. Policies and procedures must include a dissolution clause outlining how repayment of outstanding claims will be assured; Agreement with another British Columbia EQA institution, or another Canadian school certified to accept international students, to accept students and credits should the institution not able to complete the program. Trust account established with a financial institution to hold all money received from the institution s current or prospective international students in trust; and that is supervised or examined by the central bank of Canada or another governmental authority in Canada; Surety bond issued by a bonding company or insurer registered to do business in British Columbia; or Irrevocable letter of credit with a termination date beyond the required term of the security, issued by a Canadian financial institution. Note: If an institution has established student tuition protection under a different method than above, the institution may submit the details to the Ministry along with an explanation of how they meet the obligations for student protection for review and assessment. The Ministry will make the ultimate decision on whether the student tuition protection established by the institution meets the requirements. Ministry of Advanced Education Page 17 of 18

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