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Subdivision 1.Exemption.

(a) A program is exempt from the provisions of sections 136A.61 to 136A.71 if it is:

(1) offered by a school or any department or branch of a school that is substantially owned, operated, or supported by a bona fide church or religious organization;

(2) primarily designed for, aimed at and attended by persons who sincerely hold or seek to learn the particular religious faith or beliefs of that church or religious organization; and

(3) primarily intended to prepare its students to become ministers of, to enter into some other vocation closely related to, or to conduct their lives in consonance with, the particular faith of that church or religious organization.

(b) A school or a department or branch of a school is exempt from the provisions of sections 136A.61 to 136A.71 if all of its programs are exempt under paragraph (a).

Subd. 2.Limitation.

(a) This exemption shall not extend to any program or school or to any department or branch of a school that through advertisements or solicitations represents to any students or prospective students that the school, its aims, goals, missions or purposes or its programs are different from those described in subdivision 1.

(b) This exemption shall not extend to any school that represents to any student or prospective student that the major purpose of its programs is to:

(1) prepare the student for a vocation not closely related to that particular religious faith; or

(2) provide the student with a general educational program recognized by other schools or the broader educational, business or social community as being substantially equivalent to the educational programs offered by schools or departments or branches of schools that are not exempt from sections 136A.61 to 136A.71, and rules adopted pursuant thereto.

(c) This exemption shall not extend to any school that uses any publication or advertisement that is not truthful and gives any false, fraudulent, deceptive, inaccurate, or misleading impressions about the school; its personnel, programs, or services; or occupational opportunities for its graduates for promotion and student recruitment. Exemptions denied under this section are subject to appeal under section 136A.65, subdivision 8, paragraph (c). If an appeal is initiated, the denial of the exemption is not effective until the final determination of the appeal, unless immediate effect is ordered by the court.

Subd. 3.Scope.

Nothing in sections 136A.61 to 136A.71, or the rules adopted pursuant thereto, shall be interpreted as permitting the office to determine the truth or falsity of any particular set of religious beliefs.

Subd. 4.Statement required; religious nature.

Any degree awarded upon completion of a religiously exempt program shall include descriptive language to make the religious nature of the award clear.

Subd. 5.Application.

A school that seeks an exemption under this section from the provisions of sections 136A.61 to 136A.71 must apply to the office to establish that the school meets the requirements of an exemption. An exemption expires two years from the date of approval or when a school adds a new program or makes a modification equal to or greater than 25 percent to an existing educational program. If a school is reapplying for an exemption, the application must be submitted to the office 90 days before the current exemption expires.

Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes