Legal Process - The Creation of JPCatholic

Creating a new university requires lots of paperwork - much of which is sequential and takes many months. Some of the major steps are listed below with the progress to-date.

Step 1: Obtain the consent of the local bishop to include the word Catholic in the name of the new university.

This consent has been obtained from the Bishop Robert Brom, Bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of San Diego on 11/21/2003.

Step 2: Form a California nonprofit, non-stock corporation organized for educational purposes under the California Nonprofit Corporation Law.

JPCatholic was organized on 12/3/2003 and the incorporation was approved by the State of California on 2/3/2004.

Step 3: Obtain an Employer Identification Number, an identifying number for all federal tax purposes.

Received 12/16/2003.

Step 4: Obtain federal tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The IRS determined JPCatholic (formerly New Catholic University) to be exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code on 10/25/04. This means that financial contributions to JPCatholic received after its incorporation date of 12/3/2003 are deductible under section 170 of the code. JPCatholic is also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers and gifts under sections 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the code.

Step 5: File application for state tax exempt status under Section 23701d of the California Revenue and Taxation Code.

This application was submitted Nov 8, 2004 and JPCatholic was notified of its exempt status in a letter dated 1/31/2005.

Step 6: Obtain temporary approval to operate from California's (now defunct) Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education.

On 10/25/2005, JPCatholic received temporary Approval to Operate a Degree Granting Institution in California from the State of California's Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education (BPPVE). The first draft application was submitted on July 6, 2004.

Approval is the legal requirement to open allowing JPCatholic to recruit and admit students. The accreditation process begins only after the university opens and can take 4 to 6 years. Since JPCatholic has received accreditation from WASC, it is no longer regulated by the BPPE.

Step 7: JPCatholic filed with the State of California on June 25th, 2005 to legally change its name from New Catholic University to John Paul the Great Catholic University.

Step 8: Lease Space. JPCatholic leased a facility on Feb 1, 2006 and spent the next 8-months obtaining a Conditional Use Permit from the City of San Diego, which is required to operate a university at the leased location. This was a pre-requisite to obtaining a building permit to construct a classroom.

Step 9: Begin Operations. JPCatholic began classes on Thursday, September 21st, 2006. Classes were held at Good Shepherd parish while we waited for permits and construction. Classes were first held at our leased facility on November 6th, 2006.

Step 10: Expand Operations. In Sept 2007, JPCatholic almost doubled its classroom space from 4,400 to 7,400 sq feet. It increased the number of apartments leased to 15. In Sept 2009, JPCatholic increased its space to 14,300 sq feet, including a large sound stage and new Theology library space. It also increased the number of student apartments

Step 11: Permanent Campus.

The University began operations in it permanent campus in historic downtown Escondido on Sept 25, 2013. The University purchased and completely remodeled a 24,000 sq. ft. academic building at 155 W. Grand Ave, which sits at the intersection of historic Grand Avenue and the Maple Street Pedestrian Plaza. The University has a lease option on the 5,600 sq. ft. 200 W. Grand Ave, which houses administrative offices and a future Student Center. The University leass 237 W. Grand Ave for Admissions staff and 220 W. Grand Ave for faculty offices. These four building form the nucleus of our urban campus. The University leases 35 apartments in the new downtown Latitude 33 apartment complex.

Step 12: WASC accreditation - a long 8+ year process. WASC - the regional accrediting agency accredits public and private colleges and universities in California and the West. WASC has formal procedures by which institutions move through the required stages that lead to accreditation.

The multi-year WASC accreditation process includes earning:

  • Eligibility,
  • Candidacy,
  • Initial Accreditation.
  1. Eligibility - Complete
    All institutions seeking accreditation by WASC must first go through a screening process that determines that the institution is eligible to be considered for accreditation.

    JPCatholic, on January 30th, 2007, applied for Eligibility from the Senior College Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. WASC has reviewed the application and has determined that JPCatholic is eligible to proceed with an application for Candidacy for Accreditation. A determination of Eligibility is not a formal status with the Accrediting Commission, nor does it assure eventual accreditation; it is a preliminary finding that the institution is potentially accreditable and can proceed within three years of its Eligibility determination to be reviewed for Candidacy status with the Accrediting Commission. Questions about Eligibility may be directed to JPCatholic or to WASC at or 510.748.9001.

  2. Candidacy - Complete
    JPCatholic, on March 7th, 2011 was awarded Candidacy by WASC - the first formal step towards initial accreditation. Read the full report here.

    John Paul the Great Catholic University has been recognized as a Candidate for Accreditation by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, (501)748.9001. This status is a preliminary affiliation with the Commission awarded for a maximum period of four years. Candidacy is an indication that the institution is progressing toward Accreditation. Candidacy is not Accreditation and does not ensure eventual Accreditation.

  3. Initial Accreditation - Complete.
    JPCatholic is a WASC accredited institution. On March 6th, 2015, JPCatholic received a letter from the WASC Senior College and University Commission, notifying us that we are now an accredited academic institution. The WASC accreditation process aids institutions in developing and sustaining effective educational programs and assures the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness. [Source:]

    View the official letter from WASC certifying JPCatholic as accredited here, and see our official WASC institution page here.

Read More on How Institutions become WASC Accredited