The Office of Higher Education assesses the compliance of public, independent, and proprietary degree-granting institutions and the programs of study they offer with the standards of quality set forth in law, rule, and regulation.  This includes assessing applications to establish new higher education institutions, major changes to the missions of existing higher education institutions, proposed programs of study and changes to currently registered programs.  New York State Education Department (NYSED or Department) approved programs are listed on the Department’s Inventory of Registered Programs (IRP).

The Department registers individual curricula (“programs”) rather than an institution as a whole. However, the registration process takes into consideration all significant aspects of an institution’s educational enterprise as it relates to a proposed program. Program registration is the Department’s chief means to ensure that colleges, universities, and professional schools maintain quality standards.

What requires registration?

Registration of a curriculum (program of study) indicates its approval based on quality standards in the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. Section 50.1 (i) of those regulations defines curriculum or program as “the formal educational requirements necessary to qualify for certificates or degrees. A curriculum or program includes general education or specialized study in depth in a particular field, or both.” Section 52.1 requires registration of the following types of curricula at colleges, universities, and professional schools before those institutions may offer them:

  • every curriculum creditable toward a degree offered by institutions of higher education;
  • every curriculum leading to a certificate or diploma bearing credit towards a degree;
  • every curriculum leading to licensure in a profession;
  • every curriculum for which registration is required by statute, the Rules of the Regents, or any other section of these regulations; and
  • every curriculum leading to a certificate or diploma offered by a non-chartered proprietary institution authorized by the Regents to grant degrees, except noncredit curricula approved by another State agency for the purpose of licensure by that agency.

(Statutory Authority: Sections 207, 210, 6506, and 6507 of Education Law. See also Section 13.1 of the Rules of the Board of Regents.)

Overview of Proposal Submission Process

The Department utilizes an electronic submission process for proposals for the following actions:

•      Registration of a new degree program (non-doctoral), including those requiring master plan amendment
•   Registration of a new certificate or advanced certificate program
•   Addition of the distance education format to a new or existing registered program

If the request does not fall into one of the above categories, e.g., it is a program at the doctoral level, contact the Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE) at (518) 474-1551,

Independent and proprietary institutions filing their proposals directly with the Department access the program submission and review portal using a password.   SUNY and CUNY colleges and universities should contact their respective system administrations for the proposal submission process.

Each proposal application is created through the completion of individual “tasks.”  A proposal cannot be submitted until all tasks are completed.

After a proposal is electronically submitted, a preliminary review is conducted.  The proposal is then assigned to an OCUE reviewer. 

The Office is committed to a review of proposals within 30 working days of electronic submission.  If a proposal is incomplete, or issues are raised, the contact person identified in the proposal will be informed of the specific questions.   Once contacted, institutions have 30 working days to provide a comprehensive electronic response to the questions and resubmit the proposal.  If the proposal is not resubmitted within 30 working days or if identified items are not adequately addressed in the resubmission, the proposal will be withdrawn from further consideration.

There may be instances when, as a result of a unique proposal or other special circumstances, more time will be needed to engage the institution and confirm compliance with quality standards. In such cases the OCUE evaluator will reach our to the campus liaison, explain the concern and ask for the appropriate additional information to more the review process forward.

Institutions are asked to limit the total number of proposals submitted within a three month period of time.  As a general guide, institutions should not submit more than five new program registrations in any single three month period, and not more than one Master Plan Amendment in any six month period.  If an institution submits more than five in three months, the Department expects that the institution has submitted the proposals in priority order and will review them accordingly.  

How to complete a proposal:

  • Review the instructions and tasks required for each application before attempting completion.  A blank application form can be downloaded and printed for review before being submitted through the electronic submission process.
  • Note the required elements of each application.
  • Use the Instructions for Downloading and Uploading Documents, Resources, Guidance and Relevant Regulations associated with each application and task.  The comprehensive guidance document can be downloaded and printed.
  • In the future, sample proposals will be posted to the OCUE website for additional assistance in completing applications.
  • Incomplete applications or applications that do not use the forms provided will be returned to the institution and considered withdrawn from further consideration. 
    • Withdrawn applications count toward the five proposal limit within a three month period for each institution.