About GPO   |   Newsroom/Media   |   Congressional Relations   |   Inspector General   |   Careers   |   Contact   |   askGPO   |   Help  
 
Home   |   Customers   |   Vendors   |   Libraries  

The Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (e-CFR) is a regularly updated, unofficial editorial compilation of CFR material and Federal Register amendments produced by the National Archives and Records Administration's Office of the Federal Register (OFR) and the Government Printing Office.

Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules for the Code of Federal Regulations and the United States Code
Text | PDF

Find, review, and submit comments on Federal rules that are open for comment and published in the Federal Register using Regulations.gov.

Purchase individual CFR titles from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore.

Find issues of the CFR (including issues prior to 1996) at a local Federal depository library.

[2]
 
 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of April 15, 2014

Title 16: Commercial Practices


PART 254—GUIDES FOR PRIVATE VOCATIONAL AND DISTANCE EDUCATION SCHOOLS


Contents
§254.0   Scope and application.
§254.1   Definitions.
§254.2   Deceptive trade or business names.
§254.3   Misrepresentation of extent or nature of accreditation or approval.
§254.4   Misrepresentation of facilities, services, qualifications of staff, status, and employment prospects for students after training.
§254.5   Misrepresentations of enrollment qualifications or limitations.
§254.6   Deceptive use of diplomas, degrees, or certificates.
§254.7   Deceptive sales practices.

Authority: 38 Stat. 717, as amended; 15 U.S.C. 41-58.

§254.0   Scope and application.

(a) The Guides in this part apply to persons, firms, corporations, or organizations engaged in the operation of privately owned schools that offer resident or distance courses, training, or instruction purporting to prepare or qualify individuals for employment in any occupation or trade, or in work requiring mechanical, technical, artistic, business, or clerical skills, or that is for the purpose of enabling a person to improve his appearance, social aptitude, personality, or other attributes. These Guides do not apply to resident primary or secondary schools or institutions of higher education offering at least a 2-year program of accredited college level studies generally acceptable for credit toward a bachelor's degree.

(b) These Guides represent administrative interpretations of laws administered by the Federal Trade Commission for the guidance of the public in conducting its affairs in conformity with legal requirements. These Guides specifically address the application of section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to the advertising, promotion, marketing, and sale of, and the recruitment of students for, courses or programs of instruction offered by private vocational or distance education schools. The Guides provide the basis for voluntary compliance with the law by members of the industry. Practices inconsistent with these Guides may result in corrective action by the Commission under section 5 of the FTC Act if, after investigation, the Commission has reason to believe that the practices fall within the scope of conduct declared unlawful by the statute.

[63 FR 42572, Aug. 10, 1998, as amended at 78 FR 68989, Nov. 18, 2013]

§254.1   Definitions.

(a) Accredited. A school or program of instruction that has been evaluated and found to meet established criteria by an accrediting agency or association recognized for such purposes by the U.S. Department of Education.

(b) Approved. A school or program of instruction that has been recognized by a State or Federal agency as meeting educational standards or other related qualifications as prescribed by that agency for the school or program of instruction to which the term is applied. The term is not and should not be used interchangeably with “Accredited.” The term “Approved” is not justified by the mere grant of a corporate charter to operate or license to do business as a school and should not be used unless the represented “approval” has been affirmatively required or authorized by State or Federal law.

(c) Industry member. Industry Members are the persons, firms, corporations, or organizations covered by these Guides, as explained in §254.0(a).

[78 FR 68990, Nov. 19, 2013]

§254.2   Deceptive trade or business names.

(a) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, the nature of the school, its Accreditation, programs of instruction, methods of teaching, or any other material fact through the use of any trade or business name, label, insignia, or designation, or in any other manner.

(b) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to deceptively conceal in any way the fact that it is a school or to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, through the use of a trade or business name or in any other manner that:

(1) It is a part of or connected with a branch, bureau, or agency of the U.S. Government, including, but not limited to, the U.S. Department of Education, or of any State, or civil service commission; or

(2) It is an employment agency or an employment agent or authorized training facility for any industry or business.

[78 FR 68990, Nov. 19, 2013]

§254.3   Misrepresentation of extent or nature of accreditation or approval.

(a) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, the nature, extent, or purpose of any Approval by a State or Federal agency or Accreditation by an accrediting agency or association. For example, an Industry Member should not:

(1) Represent, without qualification, that its school is Accredited unless all courses and programs of instruction have been Accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. If an Accredited school offers courses or programs of instruction that are not Accredited, all advertisements or promotional materials pertaining to those courses or programs, and making reference to the Accreditation of the school, should clearly and conspicuously disclose that those particular courses or programs are not Accredited.

(2) Represent that its school or program of instruction is Approved, unless the nature, extent, and purpose of that Approval are disclosed.

(3) Misrepresent the extent to which a student successfully completing a course or program of instruction will be able to transfer any credits the student earns to any other postsecondary institution.

(b) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that a school or program of instruction has been Approved by a particular industry, or that successful completion of a course or program of instruction qualifies the student for admission to a labor union or similar organization or for receiving a State or Federal license to perform certain functions.

(c) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that its courses or programs of instruction are recommended by vocational counselors, high schools, colleges, educational organizations, employment agencies, or members of a particular industry, or that it has been the subject of unsolicited testimonials or endorsements from former students. It is deceptive for an Industry Member to use testimonials or endorsements that do not accurately reflect current practices of the school or current conditions or employment opportunities in the industry or occupation for which students are being trained.

Note to paragraph (c): The Commission's Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (part 255 of this chapter) provide further guidance in this area.

(d) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that its courses or programs of instruction fulfill a requirement that must be completed prior to taking a licensing examination.

[78 FR 68990, Nov. 18, 2013]

§254.4   Misrepresentation of facilities, services, qualifications of staff, status, and employment prospects for students after training.

(a) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, in advertising, promotional materials, recruitment sessions, or in any other manner, the size, location, services, facilities, curriculum, books and materials, or equipment of its school or the number or educational qualifications of its faculty and other personnel. For example, an Industry Member should not:

(1) Misrepresent the qualifications, credentials, experience, or educational background of its instructors, sales representatives, or other employees.

(2) Misrepresent, through statements or pictures, or in any other manner, the nature or efficacy of its courses, training devices, methods, or equipment.

(3) Misrepresent the availability of employment while the student is undergoing instruction or the role of the school in providing or arranging for such employment.

(4) Misrepresent the availability, amount, or nature of any financial assistance available to students, including any Federal student financial assistance. If the cost of training is financed in whole or in part by loans, students should be informed that loans must be repaid whether or not they are successful in completing the program and obtaining employment.

(5) Misrepresent that a private entity providing any financial assistance to the students is part of the Federal government or that loans from the private entity have the same interest rate or repayment terms as loans received from the U.S. Department of Education.

(6) Misrepresent the nature of any relationship between the school or its personnel and any government agency, or that students of the school will receive preferred consideration for employment with any government agency.

(7) Misrepresent that certain individuals or classes of individuals are members of its faculty or advisory board, have prepared instructional materials, or are otherwise affiliated with the school.

(8) Misrepresent the nature and extent of any personal instruction, guidance, assistance, or other service, including placement assistance and assistance overcoming language barriers or learning disabilities, it will provide students either during or after completion of a course.

(9) Misrepresent the extent to which a prospective student will receive credit for courses or a program of instruction already completed at other postsecondary institutions.

(10) Misrepresent the percentage of students who withdraw from a course or program of instruction, or the percentage of students who complete or graduate from a course or program of instruction.

(11) Misrepresent security policies or crime statistics that the school must maintain.

(b) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that it is a nonprofit organization or that it is affiliated or otherwise connected with any public institution or private religious or charitable organization.

(c) It is deceptive for an Industry Member that conducts its instruction by correspondence, or other form of distance education, to fail to clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact in all promotional materials.

(d) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that a course or program of instruction has been recently revised or instructional equipment is up-to-date, or misrepresent its ability to keep a course or program of instruction current and up-to-date.

(e) It is deceptive for an Industry Member, in promoting any course or program of instruction in its advertising, promotional materials, or in any other manner, to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, whether through the use of text, images, endorsements, or by other means, the availability of employment after graduation from a school or program of instruction, the specific type of employment available to a student after graduation from a school or program of instruction, the success that the Industry Member's graduates have realized in obtaining such employment, including the percentage of graduates who have received employment, or the salary or salary range that the Industry Member's graduates have received, or can be expected to receive, in such employment.

Note to paragraph (e): The Commission's Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (part 255 of this chapter) provide further guidance in this area.

[63 FR 42573, Aug. 10, 1998, as amended at 63 FR 72350, Dec. 31, 1998; 78 FR 68990, Nov. 18, 2013]

§254.5   Misrepresentations of enrollment qualifications or limitations.

(a) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, the nature or extent of any prerequisites or qualifications for enrollment in a school or program of instruction.

(b) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that the lack of a high school education or prior training or experience is not an impediment to successful completion of a course or program of instruction or obtaining employment in the field for which the course or program of instruction provides training.

(c) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, the time required to complete a course or program of instruction.

(d) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, a student's likelihood of success in a school or program of instruction, including, but not limited to, misrepresenting the student's score on any admissions test.

[78 FR 68991, Nov. 18, 2013]

§254.6   Deceptive use of diplomas, degrees, or certificates.

(a) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to issue a degree, diploma, certificate of completion, or any similar document, that misrepresents, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, the subject matter, substance, or content of the course or program of instruction or any other material fact concerning the course or program of instruction for which it was awarded or the accomplishments of the student to whom it was awarded.

(b) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to offer or confer an academic, professional, or occupational degree, if the award of such degree has not been Approved by the appropriate State educational agency or Accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency, unless it clearly and conspicuously discloses, in all advertising and promotional materials that contain a reference to such degree, that its award has not been Approved or Accredited by such an agency.

(c) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to offer or confer a high school diploma unless the program of instruction to which it pertains is substantially equivalent to that offered by a resident secondary school, and unless the student is informed, by a clear and conspicuous disclosure in writing prior to enrollment, that the Industry Member cannot guarantee or otherwise control the recognition that will be accorded the diploma by institutions of higher education, other schools, or prospective employers, and that such recognition is a matter solely within the discretion of those entities.

[78 FR 68991, Nov. 18, 2013]

§254.7   Deceptive sales practices.

(a) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to use advertisements or promotional materials that misrepresent, directly or indirectly, expressly or by implication, that employment is being offered or that a talent hunt or contest is being conducted. For example, captions such as, “Men/women wanted to train for *  *  * ,” “Help Wanted,” “Employment,” “Business Opportunities,” and words or terms of similar import, may falsely convey that employment is being offered and therefore should be avoided.

(b) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to fail to disclose to a prospective student, prior to enrollment, the total cost of the program of instruction and the school's refund policy if the student does not complete the program of instruction.

(c) It is deceptive for an Industry Member to fail to disclose to a prospective student, prior to enrollment, all requirements for successfully completing the course or program of instruction and the circumstances that would constitute grounds for terminating the student's enrollment prior to completion of the program of instruction.

[78 FR 68991, Nov. 18, 2013]



For questions or comments regarding e-CFR editorial content, features, or design, email ecfr@nara.gov.
For questions concerning e-CFR programming and delivery issues, email webteam@gpo.gov.