As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) “Accreditation” means accredited status awarded to an institution by an accrediting agency or association that is recognized by the United States Department of Education and that has standards comparable to the minimum standards required to operate an educational institution at that level in this state.
(2) “Agent” means a person who is employed by an independent postsecondary educational institution under the jurisdiction of the Commission for Independent Education, or by an out-of-state independent postsecondary educational institution, and who secures an application or accepts payment of fees from prospective students for the institution at any place other than the legal place of business of the institution.
(3) “Avocational” means a course or program the objective of which is not occupational but is only for personal enrichment or enjoyment. To be classified as avocational, a program must:
(a) Prior to enrollment, provide to each enrollee, and maintain a record copy of, a written statement that includes the following or substantially similar language: “This program is not designed or intended to qualify its participants and graduates for employment. It is intended solely for the avocation, personal enrichment, and enjoyment of its participants.”
(b) Not make any other verbal or written statement that negates the required written statement by stating or implying that people who enroll in or complete the program have a more substantial likelihood of obtaining employment in the field to which the training pertains than people who do not.
(4) “College” or “university” means any incorporated postsecondary educational entity, and its additional locations, offering a substantially complete program that confers or offers to confer at least an associate degree requiring at least 15 semester hours or the equivalent of general education, or that furnishes or offers to furnish instruction leading toward, or prerequisite to, college credit. The terms include any college-credit-granting independent educational institution that is chartered in this state and any center or branch campus within this state of an out-of-state institution at the college-credit level.
(5) “Commission” means the Commission for Independent Education.
(6) “Contract training” means instruction or training provided through a written contract with an independent contractor whose fees and any other charges are entirely paid by a company, trade or professional association, or group of employers to provide the instruction exclusively to bona fide employees of the entity that engaged the contractor. The term applies only when those receiving training are selected by their employer and are not recruited by the contractor.
(7) “Degree” means any educational credential that is generally taken to signify satisfactory completion of the requirements of an undergraduate, graduate, academic, educational, or professional program of study or any honorary credential conferred for meritorious recognition. At the undergraduate level, an institution may not award a degree for a program unless it includes a general education component as established by rule and at least 60 semester hours or 90 quarter hours of study or the equivalent.
(8) “Diploma” means a credential that is not a degree but is any of the following: a certificate, transcript, report, document, or title; a designation, mark, or appellation; or a series of letters, numbers, or words that generally are taken to signify satisfactory completion of the requirements of an educational or career program of study or training or course of study.
(9) “Examination preparation course” means a course or program that does not offer to confer a diploma, that is offered by a person or entity that discloses in all advertising that the course or program is for test preparation, and that does not include any expression or implication in writing or orally regarding salaries, job placement, or career advancement.
(10) “Governmental” means an institution provided, operated, and supported by a federal, state, or county government or any of its political subdivisions.
(11) “Independent postsecondary educational institution” means any postsecondary educational institution that operates in this state or makes application to operate in this state, and is not provided, operated, and supported by the State of Florida, its political subdivisions, or the Federal Government.
(12) “In-service, continuing education, or professional development” means training provided by:
(a) A trade or professional association or a group of employers in the same or related business who offer training and provide only professional development programs to bona fide employees or contractors of an employer who is a member of the association or employers who qualify for membership;
(b) A labor union or group of labor unions that offer training to and trains only those persons who are dues-paying members of the participating labor union;
(c) An independent contractor engaged by the labor union or group of labor unions, by written contract, to provide the training on its behalf exclusively to those who are selected by the labor union or group of labor unions that engaged the contractor and who are dues-paying members of that union; or
(d) A person or entity offering only continuing education programs to persons who engage in an occupation or profession whose practitioners are subject to licensure, certification, or registration by a state agency that recognizes the programs for continuing education purposes and provides a written statement of the recognition.
(13) “License” means a certificate signifying that an independent postsecondary educational institution meets standards prescribed in statute or rule and is permitted to operate in this state.
(14) “Operating in this state” means any of the following:
(a) Maintaining for any purpose related to offering a degree, diploma, or credit a physical location in this state, a mailing address in this state, a telephone or facsimile number in this state, or a mail forwarding service or telephone answering or relay service in this state or advertising any such presence; or
(b) By any means or device, facilitating in this state any part of a scheme to offer a degree, diploma, or credit, or any activity connected with the administration, promotion, recruitment, placement, instruction, fee collection or receipt, or any other function of a purported independent postsecondary educational institution, other than periodic and customary contact with the institution’s own alumni.
(15) “Out-of-state college” or “out-of-state school” means any independent postsecondary educational institution where the place of instruction, the legal place of residence, or the place of evaluation of instruction or work by correspondence or distance education is not within the legal boundaries of this state.
(16) “School” means any nonpublic postsecondary noncollegiate educational institution, association, corporation, person, partnership, or organization of any type which:
(a) Offers to provide or provides any complete, or substantially complete, postsecondary program of instruction through the student’s personal attendance; in the presence of an instructor; in a classroom, clinical, or other practicum setting; or through correspondence or other distance education;
(b) Represents, directly or by implication, that the instruction will qualify the student for employment in an occupation for which a degree is not required in order to practice in this state;
(c) Receives remuneration from the student or any other source based on the enrollment of a student or the number of students enrolled; or
(d) Offers to award or awards a diploma, regardless of whether it conducts instruction or receives remuneration.