The Nature of Religious Exempt Institutions
in Washington State
In the state of Washington, theology schools may qualify for an exemption with the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) because of their strictly religious nature. As it is stated on their WSAC website, “the Washington state Legislature created the Washington Student Achievement Council in July 2012 (RCW 28B.77). By statute, the Council provides strategic planning, oversight, advocacy, and programs to support increased student success and higher levels of educational attainment in Washington.”
Universities, colleges, seminaries, and other schools of higher education, who want to remain compliant with the Washington Degree-Granting Institutions Act, must apply for authorization through the WSAC. During the process of authorization of seminaries and religious school the WSAC reviews:
The religious nature of the institution (the institution’s name, mission/purpose, and objectives).
The religious nature of the degree titles, programs, and curriculum.
Recruitment materials and publications (accuracy of information and absence of misleading statements).
At the SCA University of Theology and Spirituality, our administrators and staff worked diligently with the WSAC to make sure our materials reflected our mission and objectives we set forth. In addition, the degree titles, programs, and curriculums were reviewed; as well as the advertising materials and publications, such as our Student Handbook and our academyhts.com website. The entire process took over six months.
On December 29, 2016, the SCA University of Theology and Spirituality finally received exemption approval. We are currently one of 51 school in the state of Washington who qualify for the exemption that are recognized by WSAC.
The Washington Student Achievement Council has reviewed the materials provided by AHTS and determined that the degree programs listed below meet the requirements of Chapter RCW 28B.85.040(2)(c) and WAC 250-61-060(7) of the Washington Degree-Granting Institutions Act and thus has granted the Academy of Holistic Theology and Spirituality religious exemption.
We are moving ahead with the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accreditation as we become eligible for each of the steps and we anticipate their accreditation within the 2 years.