Types of Program Approval
Initial approval may involve the approval of one or more programs at a new, previously unapproved institution. It may also involve the approval of a new, previously unapproved program at a currently approved institution. While SAA approval is program specific, many of the approval criteria (e.g., probationary policy, disciplinary policy and grading system, etc.) are institutional in nature, applying to more than one program. At many schools, all or most of the currently offered programs are approved, leading us to use interchangeably the terms “institutional approval” and “program approval.” What we are actually doing is approving programs and the institutional policies that underlie them.
Revised approvals may involve a change in institutional or program status which may impact on: policy, name, location, accreditation, program design (e.g., length), school ownership, branch campus, or other factors covered in the regulations and requiring SAA review and approval. The revised approval may occur at any time after initial approval and is usually precipitated by either institutional notification to the SAA or as a result of findings during a Supervisory Visit. The approval of programs is publication-based. It is dependent upon information in the school’s publications, which the school must certify as true and correct. Since many Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) and Non-College Degree (NCD) schools issue periodic revisions of their publications which may contain new or revised policies and programs, the SAA must acquire certified copies of these new publications – review, analyze and approve them – and forward them to the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). This is a form of revised approval of the institution and its programs.
Routine Approval Process
Upon approval of the program, the employer/sponsor agrees to designate a person(s) who will be the Certifying Official(s). The Certifying Official will be the liaison with the Colorado Office of Veterans Education & Training (COVET). The Certifying Official is the only representative who may sign VA paperwork and is responsible for keeping the Veteran’s training file current.
This person notifies the COVET of any changes that have an effect on the VA approval:
- The employer/sponsor requests and begins preparing the application materials and required attachments.
- The COVET and the employer/sponsor will review the application package to determine if approval criteria have been met.
- Upon completion of the approval process, copies of the approval letter and application materials are sent to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO) for approval acceptance. The VA could require additional information prior to approval.
- The VARO will advise the COVET of acceptance by issuing a “Notice of Approval” VA Form 22-1998.
- The COVET will notify the employer/sponsor that approval has been accepted by the VA.
- Upon receipt of the letter of approval, the employer/sponsor can then advertise that they are approved for training for Veterans and eligible dependents and may begin certifying enrollments of Veterans and eligible dependents to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Role of the Employer/Sponsor
Upon approval of the program, the employer/sponsor agrees to designate a person(s) who will be the Certifying Official(s). The Certifying Official will be the liaison with the Colorado Office of Veterans Education & Training. The Certifying Official is the only representative who may sign VA paperwork and is responsible for keeping the Veteran’s training file current.
This person notifies the COVET of any changes that have an effect on the VA approval:
- Changes to the Journeyman wage scale.
- Changes in address, phone number, etc.
- Additions or deletions of occupational trades.
- Changes to apprenticeship standards.
- Changes in training outlines.
- Changes in certifying official(s).
Institute Of Higher Learning (IHL)
Universities, colleges, community colleges, technical and/or business schools, offering instruction at the post-secondary level, which leads to an associate (or higher) educational degree. To be eligible for approval, the institution must be empowered by the appropriate state education authority (under state law), or accredited by a recognized accrediting agency to grant such degrees. This designation also includes hospital’s that offer educational programs at the post-secondary level.
Non-College Degree (NCD)
This category includes certificate programs, offered at post-secondary schools, which do not lead to a standard college degree. To be eligible for approval, the institution must be empowered by the appropriate state education authority to operate as a school in Colorado. NCD programs are normally offered at Community Colleges, cosmetology schools, business colleges, hospitals, trade schools, etc.
- Qualifications for NCD schools (MS Word download)
Apprenticeship (APP) / On-The-Job Training (OJT)
This is an industry based training in which a veteran or eligible person earns an entry-level wage while training for a designated skill or trade in a goal-oriented program. OJT and Apprenticeships offer a variety of training experiences. The majority of trades listed in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) are approvable providing that the establishment can satisfy the approval criteria.
Flight Training necessary for the attainment of a recognized vocational objective in the field of Aviation or an educational objective toward a standard college degree in the field of Aviation.
Certification / Licensing Examinations (LACAS)
Licensing or Certification demonstrates an individual’s possession of the knowledge or skill required to enter into, maintain, or advance in employment in a predetermined and identified vocation or profession.
Program and regulatory requirements for on-the-job training programs are:
- Program Length: An OJT program is acceptable in length when it is at least six months, but not more than two years of full-time training.
- Program Description: An OJT program is acceptable in length when it is at least six months, but not more than two years of full-time training.
- Related Instruction: There should be information concerning related instruction, if it is required. Most OJT programs do not include related instruction.
- Wage Scale: A progressively increasing wage scale. The Veteran and/or eligible dependent must be paid minimum wage and no less than a similarly qualified non-Veteran. In addition, the Veteran and/or eligible dependent must meet the 50% / 85% wage requirement. This requires that the Veteran and/or eligible dependent must start the training program with a wage of at least 50% of the fully trained wage, receive regular periodic wage increases, and no later than the last full month of training be paid at least 85% of the fully trained wage.
- Periodic Progress Review: Periodic review and evaluation of the Veteran’s and/or eligible dependent’s progress. There must be a system to record hours worked and training received. There also should be a system to measure the quality of the Veteran’s and/or eligible dependents progress.
- Workers to Trainers Ratio: Appropriate ratio of trained workers to trainees. This ratio must insure that the Veteran and/or eligible dependent will be able to receive adequate supervision during the training program.
- Continued Employment: A reasonable certainty that the Veteran will continue to be employed after the completion of the training program.
- Written Training Agreement: This agreement is to be signed by the Veteran and/or eligible dependent and the employer / sponsor.
- Credit for Prior Training: Granting of appropriate credit for previous training. This decision is made by the employer/sponsor and is reported to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Apprenticeship Training Programs
The training program must be in an apprenticeable occupation. Program and regulatory requirements for apprenticeship training programs are:
- The program must be at least 2,000 hours.
- There must be an outline of work processes for the program.
- There must be a provision for related instruction. The amount per year can vary, but 144 hours per year is the minimum.
- There will be a progressively increasing wage scale. The Veteran and/or eligible dependent must be paid minimum wage and no less than a similarly qualified non-veteran.
- There must be periodic reviews and evaluations of the Veteran’s and/or eligible dependent’s progress. There must also be a system to record hours worked, training received and progress made.
- There should be an appropriate ratio of trained workers to trainees. This ratio must insure that the Veteran and/or eligible dependent will be able to receive adequate supervision during the training program.
- There should be a reasonable probationary period.
- There must be a written training agreement. This agreement is to be signed by the Veteran and/or eligible dependent and the employer/sponsor and the Dept. of Labor if it is a Registered Apprenticeship.
- The employer/sponsor must grant appropriate credit for previous training. This decision is made by the employer/sponsor and is reported to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.