Bureau for Private Postsecondary History

During the late 1980s regulation of the industry was carried out by a division within the State Department of Education. During that time the state developed a reputation as the "diploma mill capital of the world." As a result of concerns over the integrity and value of the degrees issued by private institutions, the state's regulatory program was overhauled and oversight responsibility for private colleges was transferred to a 20-member Council. Concurrently, the Maxine Waters School Reform and Student Protection Act was adopted, and provided somewhat different requirements and standards for private institutions. The law governing the Council was merged with the Waters Act, but doing so created a fragmented structural framework with numerous duplicative and conflicting statutory provisions. On January 1, 2007, the law authorizing the regulation of the private postsecondary education sector in California was allowed to sunset, leaving the state without any regulatory body overseeing private institutions.

In 2009, the Legislature and the Governor reached agreement on AB 48 (Portantino, Chapter 310, Statutes of 2009). AB 48 established a new Private Postsecondary Education Act and created a new oversight Bureau within DCA for the purpose of regulating private postsecondary educational institutions that provide educational services in California. Today's Bureau is generally responsible for protecting consumers and students against fraud, misrepresentation, or other business practices at private postsecondary institutions that may lead to loss of students' tuition and related educational funds; establishing and enforcing minimum standards for ethical business practices and the health and safety and fiscal integrity of postsecondary education institutions; and establish and enforcing minimum standards for instructional quality and institutional stability for all students in all types of private postsecondary educational and vocational institutions.