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Requirements for RYSs to Accept Title IV, G.I. Bill or AmeriCorps Awards

February 6, 2017

As the largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community, Yoga Alliance® promotes and supports the integrity and diversity of the teaching of yoga.

As part of that mission, Yoga Alliance Registry occasionally receives questions from Registered Yoga Schools (RYS®) regarding the potential for yoga teacher training (YTT) participants to receive federal education benefits, such as those offered under U.S. Department of Education Title IV federal student aid funding, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs G.I. Bill funds, and AmeriCorps Education Awards.

Typically, RYSs do not pursue the accreditations and approvals required to accept funding from these federal education benefit programs. However, there are some RYSs that choose to pursue these options.

Please note that the registration of a YTT provider as an RYS does not—by itself—make a school eligible to accept funds from any federal education benefit program.

Department of Education - Title IV Federal Student Aid

Programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act are the major source of federal student aid, such as loans, grants, and work-study for students. However, based on the legal requirements to participate in these funding programs, many RYSs will not meet the standards necessary to accept Title IV funds.

In order to qualify to accept these funds from YTT attendees, the school must meet the statutory criteria as one of the following: (1) an Institute for Higher Education; (2) a Proprietary Institution of Higher Education; or (3) a Postsecondary Vocational Institution. Each category requires the school to be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Federal law also outlines the type of students that can be admitted to the program and require the school to have been open for a certain number of years. The more detailed requirements for each category are listed in the FAQ section below. Additionally, a school must also successfully complete an application process with the Department of Education to appear on a list of approved schools before it can accept Title IV funds.

Currently, Yoga Alliance Registry is aware of only a single YTT program accepting Title IV funds.

Department of Veterans Affairs - G.I. Bill

The federal education benefit program known as the G.I. Bill is actually a variety of programs, including, for example, the Montgomery G.I. Bill or the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill. Each of the programs is slightly different and the requirements for each program vary.

Unlike Title IV funds, G.I. Bill funds are not limited only to institutions of higher education, proprietary institutions of higher education, and postsecondary vocational institutions. Under federal law, G.I. Bill funds can also be used at any “other institution furnishing education for adults” if certain application criteria are met. Under each program, however, the school must be approved by either the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or a State Approving Agency before it can accept G.I. Bill funds. The regulations also include a requirement that only schools in existence for 2 or more years are eligible to participate in the program.

Unlike Title IV funds, G.I. Bill funds are not limited only to institutions of higher education, proprietary institutions of higher education, and postsecondary vocational institutions. Under federal law, G.I. Bill funds can also be used at any “other institution furnishing education for adults” if certain application criteria are met. Under each program, however, the school must be approved by either the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or a State Approving Agency before it can accept G.I. Bill funds. The regulations also include a requirement that only schools in existence for 2 or more years are eligible to participate in the program.

AmeriCorps Education Awards

Most AmeriCorps award funds can only be used at Title IV institutions, so RYSs typically do not qualify to accept them for training programs. However, there are certain exceptions where institutions approved to accept G.I. Bill funds may also accept AmeriCorps funds.

Veterans who received an AmeriCorps award on or after October 1, 2009 may use the award for G.I. Bill-approved programs. Additionally, non-veterans who received an AmeriCorps award between October 1, 2009 and December 22, 2011 can use the award for G.I. Bill-approved programs.

For more information, please contact:

Frequently Asked Questions/Additional Information

Are RYSs able to accept Title IV funding from the Department of Education?

RYSs typically do not meet the criteria to accept Title IV funding. In order to qualify to accept Title IV funds, an RYS must be an (1) Institution for Higher Education; (2) Proprietary Institution of Higher Education; or (3) Postsecondary Vocational Institution.

Institution of Higher Education, 20 U.S.C. § 1001(a)

  1. Admit students who have a high school degree or its equivalent;
  2. Legally authorized in their states to provide post-secondary education;
  3. Provide a program that leads to a bachelor’s degree, provides two years of credit toward a bachelor’s degree, or awards some other degree that is acceptable for admission to a graduate or professional degree program;
  4. Is a public or other nonprofit institution;
  5. Is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association.

Proprietary Institution of Higher Education, 20 U.S.C. § 1002

  1. Admit students who have a high school degree or its equivalent and are legally authorized in their states to provide post-secondary education;
  2. Provide a program of training to prepare students for employment in a recognized occupation or have a program leading to a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts that has existed since 2009 and has been accredited since 2007;
  3. Not a public or other nonprofit institution;
  4. Is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association;
  5. Have been in existence for at least 2 years

Postsecondary Vocational Institution, 20 U.S.C. § 1002

  1. Admit students who have a high school degree or its equivalent;
  2. Legally authorized in their states to provide post-secondary education;
  3. Provide a program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation;
  4. Is a public or other nonprofit institution;
  5. Is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association;
  6. Have been in existence for at least 2 years

For more information on accreditation, please see U.S. Department of Education Accrediting Agencies.

If a school meets these criteria, it must also successfully complete an application process with the U.S. Department of Education to appear on a list of approved schools before it can accept Title IV funds.

How does an RYS get approval from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or a State Approving Agency to accept G.I. Bill funds?

The requirements to accept G.I. Bill awards, including under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, vary based on different factors, including the specific veterans’ assistance program that is the source of the funding and whether the school is accredited or not. However, all programs and courses must be approved by either the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or a State Approving Agency. If an RYS undertakes the application process and receives approval for its YTT course from one of these agencies, it would be eligible to accept G.I. Bill funds.

The following information can help YTT providers determine which application requirements they are required to satisfy to become eligible to accept G.I. Bill funding:

  • Accredited degree programs at public and private not-for-profit schools are “deemed” approved subject to the requirements of 38 U.S.C. § 3672(b)(2).
  • Private educational institutions (whether for-profit or not-for-profit) must be in operation for at least 2 years in order for G.I. Bill benefits to be paid for enrollment in non-degree programs.
  • Accredited programs (including non-degree accredited programs) offered by proprietary for-profit educational institutions must meet the requirements of 38 U.S.C. § 3675 and 38 C.F.R. 21.4253.
  • Non-accredited programs must meet the requirements of 38 U.S.C. §3676 and 38 C.F.R. § 21.4254.
  • Both accredited and non-accredited institutions must submit an application for approval; a catalog that includes graduation, attendance, progress, and other policies as well as tuition, fees, and program requirements; and written records of review and appropriate credit for prior training to meet the majority of approval requirements.
  • For non-accredited programs, the financial soundness of the institution and its capability to fulfill its stated training mission and institution enrollment limitations will be reviewed.
  • VA typically cannot approve a program in which more than 85% of the students enrolled have all or part of their charges paid by the school or the G.I. Bill

For more information on the G.I. Bill, contact the following agencies:

A school must also successfully complete an application process with the Department of Education to appear on a list of approved schools before it could accept Title IV funds.

How do I get approval from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or a State Approving Agencies for my RYS® to accept GI Bill funds?

To accept GI Bill awards, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, the requirements vary based on different factors, depending on the specific veterans’ assistance program that is the source of the funding. Unlike Title IV funds, GI Bill funds are not limited to institutions of higher education, proprietary institutions of higher education, and postsecondary vocational institutions; GI Bill funds can also be used at any “other institution furnishing education for adults.” See, 38 U.S.C. § 3452(b) and 38 U.S.C. § 3452(c). Occasionally, RYSs may be approved by either the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or a State Approving Agency as an educational or vocational institution to accept these funds since courses are offered for yoga teacher training.

For more information, contact the following agencies:

How may I get approval from an accrediting agency for my RYS to accept AmeriCorps Awards?

Generally, AmeriCorps education award funds can only be used at Title IV institutions, so RYSs do not qualify. However, veterans who received an AmeriCorps award on or after October 1, 2009 may use the AmeriCorps awards for GI Bill programs, which may include some yoga programs. Additionally, non-veterans who received an AmeriCorps award between October 1, 2009 and December 22, 2011, can use the award for GI Bill programs.

See AmeriCorps FAQs (PDF) or contact the following agencies:

Are Yoga Alliance Registry or Yoga Alliance able to accept these awards on behalf of my RYS® so that I can offer them to my trainees?

No. Yoga Alliance Registry, because it is not a vocational institution or post-secondary school, is not approved by an accrediting agency nor does it meet the requirements as an institution to accept Title IV, GI Bill or AmeriCorps funds. Similarly, as a trade association, Yoga Alliance is not qualified to accept these funds.

 

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