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UPDATE ON STATE AUTHORIZATION FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION: REGULATIONS & RECIPROCITY Legal Issues in Higher Education December 12, 2013 WICHE Cooperative for.

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Presentation on theme: "UPDATE ON STATE AUTHORIZATION FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION: REGULATIONS & RECIPROCITY Legal Issues in Higher Education December 12, 2013 WICHE Cooperative for."— Presentation transcript:

1 UPDATE ON STATE AUTHORIZATION FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION: REGULATIONS & RECIPROCITY Legal Issues in Higher Education December 12, 2013 WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies wcet.wiche.edu 1 Russ Poulin Deputy Director, Research & Analysis

2 Agenda  State Authorization Overview  Basic Principles  State Regulations  Federal Regulation  State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)  What Should Your Institution Be Doing? 2

3 State Authorization – Basic Principles Basic Principle 1: If your institution is in one state and you are serving a student residing in another state, then you should check for authorization. 3

4 State Authorization – Basic Principles Basic Principle 2: Two types of authorization in each state: 1) Institutional – all activities you do in a state. 2) Licensure – professional programs. 4

5 State Authorization – Basic Principles Basic Principle 3: The answer to nearly every question is: IT DEPENDS!!!!! 5

6 State Regulations If you are only offering for-credit, distance education in a state, eight require authorization: Alabama Arkansas Iowa Maryland MinnesotaMontana WisconsinWyoming 6

7 State Regulations If you are only offering for-credit, distance ed in a state, six require that you seek an exemption or register with them: Alaska Illinois NebraskaN. Dakota Oregon Utah 7

8 State Regulations But beware triggers of physical presence: Physical Location Administrative Office Direct Marketing Localized Advertising Required Proctoring Contracted Services Practical Experiences (clinical, student teaching) Having an Employee in a State 8

9 Federal Regulation – Chapter 34, §600.9(c) “If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State…” 9

10 Federal Regulation – Chapter 34, §600.9(c) “…the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State’s approval upon request.” 10

11 Federal Regulation – Chapter 34, §600.9(c) “…the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State’s approval upon request.” 11

12 State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) – Key Points  States and territories regulate higher education within their borders, with varying requirements  At present, there is no alternative to each institution separately pursuing any needed approvals  Requires a comprehensive national model serving all interests and support quality.  Must deal with poor institutional behavior. States must be able to trust other states. 12

13 Who Was Involved in Drafting SARA?  Presidents’ Forum (of Excelsior College) and Council of State Governments.  Regional higher education compacts (MHEC, NEBHE, SREB, WICHE).  Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, committee of SHEEO and APLU. 13

14 Essential Principles of SARA  Voluntary for states and institutions.  Acknowledges traditional roles within higher ed’s “accountability triad”: states, accrediting, and federal government.  Framework for reciprocity, including: governance, implementation, a National Council, and a financial plan. 14

15 Regional Compacts MHEC NEBHE SREB WICHE 15

16 Essential Principles of SARA…  “Home” state approves in-state institutions for SARA and resolve complaints.  SARA states agree to impose no additional (non-SARA) requirements.  Open to degree-granting postsecondary institutions from all sectors  Sets forth a reasonable, uniform set of triggers of “physical presence”. 16

17 Essential principles of SARA…  Initial funding from Lumina Foundation, eventual reliance on institutional fees.  LT 2,500 FTE: $2,000  2,501 – 10,000 FTE: $4,000  GT 10,000 FTE: $6,000 17

18 Issues SARA Does Not Address  Professional licensing board approval for programs leading to licensing: nursing, teacher education, psychology, etc.  Non-credit instruction. 18

19 What do states need to do?  Regional compacts invite and work with their states.  Determine if the state wants to participate.  Make any needed changes to statutes or rules.  Identify agency(ies) to solicit and approve participation of in-state institutions and resolve complaints. 19

20 What do states need to do?  Identify “portal” agency (if needed).  Adopt in-state funding model (if needed).  Develop and submit SARA plan to the state’s regional compact. 20

21 What do institutions need to do?  Wait for their state to join.  Determine if the institution wants to participate.  Apply to state showing how institution meets the “Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education.” 21

22 Benefits to students  Expands access to educational offerings.  Should lead to better resolution of complaints from students in SARA states.  Reduces a rapidly growing institutional cost that is passed along to students.  Should enhance overall quality of distance education. 22

23 What is your institution doing (or not doing) about state authorization ? Survey – March ) No action taken. 2) Initial steps, no formal contacting a state. 3) Contacted states, no application. 4) Applied to one or more states. 5) Applied/received ALL authorizations. 23

24 What is your institution doing (or not doing) about state authorization ? 24

25 What should your institution be doing? Proceed, Don’t Wait  Reciprocity will take time.  Will your state join? Promote SARA.  Will states where you have students join?  Federal regulation seems likely to return.  Compliance window might not be long.  States won’t do you any favors. 25

26 What should your institution be doing? Make Decisions Strategically  Prioritize which states to do first.  Those with most students.  The “easy” ones.  Include key personnel (president, provost, counsel, department heads) in key decisions.  Assess your adversity to risk. 26

27 Learn More About State Authorization and SARA  NC-SARA website:  WCET website:  WCET State Authorization Network authorization-network 27

28 Learn More About State Authorization and SARA  SHEEO (list of state regulations)  Regional compacts  MHEC:  NEBHE:  SREB:  WICHE: 28

29 Thank you! Russ Poulin Deputy Director, Research & Analysis WCET – WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies 29


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