(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an individual shall not establish or operate an accrediting agency for institutions of higher education in this state without recognition by the United States Department of Education.
(b) This section does not apply to an accrediting agency that:
(1) Accredits only schools operated solely to provide programs of study that prepare students for religious vocations as ministers, professionals, or laypersons in the categories of ministry, counseling, theology, education administration, music, fine arts, or media communications;
(2) Accredits only institutions whose names include a religious modifier or the name of a religious patriarch, saint, religious person, or symbol of the church;
(3) Accredits only institutions whose degree titles include a religious modifier that:
(A) Immediately precedes or is included within any of the following degrees:
(i) Associate of Arts;
(ii) Associate of Science;
(iii) Bachelor of Arts;
(iv) Bachelor of Science;
(v) Master of Arts;
(vi) Master of Science;
(vii) Doctor of Philosophy; or
(viii) Doctor of Education; and
(B) Is placed on the title line of the degree, on the transcript, and whenever the title of the degree appears in official school documents or publications; and
(4) Does not accredit any institution that receives federal funding.
(c) An institution accredited under subsection (b) of this section shall:
(1) Notify students in writing that courses completed and a degree obtained at the institution are not transferable to an institution of higher education accredited through the United States Department of Education; and
(2)(A) Obtain the student's signature acknowledging that the student has been informed and understands the notification.
(B) The institution shall maintain the acknowledgment signed by the student as part of the student's record.
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