To ensure that it does not create unnecessary delays for institutions that desire to operate within the State, the bureau should use available resources—such as visiting committees—to assist in processing the applications.
The Bureau has determined that visiting committees are not appropriate in all situations. However, the Bureau understands the intent of Recommendation #6 and has begun using an alternative process to speed the processing of applications in the Quality of Education Unit. The Education Specialists review the application and create their list of questions regarding the quality of educational programs and schedules a meeting with the institution to discuss. This is feasible because the scope is limited to the quality of the educational programs. The Bureau is including as Attachment #5 the worksheet used for application review in conjunction with a meeting with the institutional representatives.
The Bureau plans to increase its utilization of visiting committees. The Bureau will continue its recruitment efforts for visiting committee members. Senate Bill 1247 will require expanded use of visiting committees.
Because the law allows the use of visiting committees for applications for approval to operate and institutions are generally not operating without approval, it is not reasonable to convene a visiting committee for institutions that are not yet in existence. The Bureau utilizes visiting committees as appropriate and that is generally for institutions that are seeking approval to operate and commenced operation during the sunset period. However, the Bureau is piloting a process for going to institutions that submit applications for substantive change in order to speed along the review process. The initial results are encouraging and draft procedures are being developed. This is the responsibility of the Bureau Chief.
We are perplexed by the bureau's response related to visiting committees. We would expect the bureau to use visiting committees, as warranted, for applications for approval to operate. Because our audit identified only four circumstances in which the bureau has used visiting committees, we believe the bureau could avail itself of this option more frequently in order to reduce application processing times.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.