In the Midst of a Recession, VA Bullies Yoga Studios into Paying Unreasonable Fees

Last week I told you about the application process that Virginia is requesting demanding yoga studios to through to obtain a Certificate to Operate a yoga teacher trainingva seal fail program. So here’s a little more of what the yoga studios have to go through.

Part of the process to get your yoga teacher training program approved by the Commonwealth is you have to agree to random AUDITS. On the second page of the Institutional Certification Checklist for Postsecondary Schools, one of the numerous, cumbersome forms the studios have to fill out, it says:

I understand, that if at any time (Name of institution requesting certification) fails to meet or to maintain compliance with Council’s certification criteria, Council may revoke or suspend its certification.  I understand that in the event the school is selected for audit, it may be subjected to an administrative fee of $1,000 for each item of non-compliance found as a result of the audit. Further, I understand that violations of the Virginia Administrative Code shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor and that each violation shall constitute a separate offense. (studio owner is supposed to sign this to indicate agreement)

For a small business, $1,000 per violation is no chump change!

In 2007 Virginia audited 36 schools and found whopping total of 177 violations – about 5 violations per school. At $1,000 per violation, that means EACH SCHOOL PAID ON AVERAGE $5,000 IN VIOLATION FEES.

The violations were:

  • Advertising – 32 violations
  • Faculty Credentials – 27 violations
  • No written documentation on history of school and/or ownership – 25 violations
  • Student policy (including grievance process) missing or incomplete – 19
  • violations
  • Improperly maintaining student admissions or financial records – 16 violations
  • Incorrect refund policy or incorrect processing of refunds – 16 violations

The remaining 42 violations don’t seem to be listed????

These are violations committed by large institutions that have STAFF.  Gosh I can’t imagine that a yoga studio might not have all of their ducks in a row at all times! News flash: yoga studios generally do not have a staff to handle things like this! Like any other small business, the owner does everything:  run the studio, teach most of the classes, lead teacher training programs, handle  the marketing, keep track of the bookkeeping, manage other teachers, etc. Yoga studios are NOT major universities or community colleges that have staff and $$!

Now $5,000 in violation fees might not seem like a lot of money to a post-secondary institution such as the University of Virginia, which as of June 30 2008, had $657K in current assets (which includes cash and short term investments) and overall, had $6.8M in net assets. But I haven’t seen a yoga studio with a financial profile like that, have you?
It’s just OUTRAGEOUS to lump small business yoga studios under this law that is really for major educational institutions.

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One Response to “In the Midst of a Recession, VA Bullies Yoga Studios into Paying Unreasonable Fees”

  1. Licensing Update: Virginia Joins in ‘Pay Now or Pay Later’ The State vs. Yoga Studios Says:

    […] June 8 update: Random Audits. On top of the lengthy application process and fees, in order to be approved VA studios must agree to random audits, which to us basically amounts to the law enforcement’s version of seat belt and parking tickets (easy cash). What are these “offenses” and how much does each violation of the Virginia Administrative Code cost? $1000 bucks! In 2007 Virginia audited 36 schools and found whopping total of 177 violations – about 5 violations per school. At $1,000 per violation, that means EACH SCHOOL PAID ON AVERAGE $5,000 IN VIOLATION FEES. […]

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