Religious Educational Institutions

A religious educational institution:

  1. Is established for religious educational purposes;
  2. Provides educational programs only for religious vocations or purposes;
  3. Offers only sectarian instruction designed for and aimed at individuals who hold or seek to learn the particular religious faiths or beliefs taught by the institution; and
  4. States on the certificate or diploma the religious nature of the award.
A religious educational institution must apply for an exemption from the requirement to hold a certificate of approval to operate in the State of Maryland. Applications require a $250 fee.

Annotated Code of Maryland, Education Article §11–202.1 ​and Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13B.02.04 govern Exemption Procedures for Religious Educational Institutions. 

An exemption is valid for two years, and to renew the exemption the institution must submit a renewal application every two years.
  1. A cover letter addressed to the Secretary of Higher Education from the institution’s chief executive officer requesting a religious exemption to offer religious educational courses, and programs as a Religious Educational Institution in Maryland.
  2. The completed religious exemption application form​​​​​ (PDF).
  3. Financial statements for the two most recent calendar years reviewed by an independent certified public accountant which shows that the institution holds assets of $250,000 or more in Maryland and that its total assets exceed its total liabilities. (Include review letter from a certified public accountant.)
  4. Articles of incorporation or other organizing documents and by-laws.
  5. The religious education institution's proof of good standing with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. The certificate of good standing must list the name of the college or seminary. 
  6. Current or proposed catalog
  7. One sample of each formal award to be granted
  8. A copy of the required written notice and disclosure form provided to enrolled students, in accordance with Education Article § 11.202.1(h)((2), declaring that the institution’s instructional program is only designed for and aimed at persons who hold or seek to learn the particular religious faith or beliefs of the church or religious institution, and provides only educational programs for religious vocations or purposes.​
  9. Provide copies of transcripts, awards, advertisements, and publications that the institution that disclose that the institution does not have a certificate of approval from the Commission. 

For further information please contact:

Office of Academic Affairs
Maryland Higher Education Commission
6 N. Liberty Street, 10th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201