Understanding the Disciplinary Process

The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (Bureau) provides accountability and oversight of private postsecondary educational institutions (institutions) in California. Consumer welfare is protected by ensuring that only private postsecondary institutions that meet minimum operating standards are approved to operate. The institution owners and their institutions are expected to operate within the laws governing their institution.


The following summarizes the steps leading to disciplinary action:

  • The Bureau reviews complaints to determine jurisdiction and whether the alleged actions reasonably suggest an institution may not be in compliance with applicable laws.
  • If the above conditions are met, an investigation is initiated.
  • If the investigation establishes noncompliance with applicable laws, the Bureau determines the level of discipline warranted by the violation.
  • The Bureau may take informal or formal disciplinary action.
  • Informal disciplinary action may include the issuance of a citation & fine or citation & fine with an order of abatement.
  • Formal disciplinary action includes denial of an application for approval to operate, revocation or suspension of an approval to operate, or placing an institution on probation.
  • If formal disciplinary action is required, the California Office of the Attorney General acts as the Bureau's counsel.
  • The institution owner is served with a charging document, called an Accusation or Statement of Issues.
  • The institution owner is entitled to an administrative hearing.
  • An Administrative Law Judge presides over the hearing and proposes a decision to the Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • The Director of the California Department of Consumer Affairs considers the Administrative Law Judge's proposed decision and renders a final decision.