Postsecondary School Authorization

Note: Iowa House File 644 went into effect on July 1, 2021.  These house file changes affect Iowa Code Sections 714.18, 714.23, and 714.25. However, The Iowa Legislature’s website will not reflect these changes until later this year.

Which Iowa agency authorizes postsecondary schools?

Iowa College Aid is the State agency that authorizes postsecondary schools* (Iowa Code Section 261B.2(5)) to operate in Iowa and to offer postsecondary education programs to Iowans. This authorization includes schools with an actual physical location in Iowa as well as schools offering instruction to Iowans via distance education. 

Iowa College Aid ensures that nonpublic schools adopt additional consumer protections for students attending Iowa schools and Iowa resident students attending online programs. 

A school wanting to offer postsecondary educational instruction in Iowa may be required to demonstrate to Iowa College Aid that the school is in compliance with one or more of the following:

In addition, a for-profit school may be required to adopt the following:

Iowa College Aid is also the state portal agency responsible for Iowa’s postsecondary schools participating in SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement). SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that established comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education. To learn more about this agreement and the participating Iowa institutions under Iowa Code Chapter 261G, please visit SARA .

Who do I contact?

Schools that have questions about authorization in Iowa or that require further information are encouraged to contact the Postsecondary Authorization Team:

Toll-free: (877) 272-4456

Jayne M. Smith, J.D.
Postsecondary Authorization Administrator
(515) 725-0959

Lisa Pundt
Postsecondary Authorization Administrator / SARA State Portal Agent
(515) 725-3426

Victoria Archer
Postsecondary Authorization Financial Responsibility Specialist
(515) 725-3425

*School includes a degree-granting or non-degree granting college, university, and other types of schools and education providers including but not limited to: driver education schools; real estate and appraisal educators; private non-degree granting allied health schools; cosmetology, barbering, and massage therapy schools; schools of religious study; and other non-degree granting vocational schools.