The Catholic University of America

 

State Authorization Resources

New NC SARA website (8-27-19)

Final Rule announcing Effective Date of Distance Education Regulations, 84 Fed. Reg. 36471, July 29, 2019. 

August 2, 2019 Letter from DOE to state of California partially blessing the new complaint process in CA. 

US Dept of Education Q&A on Compliance with the 2016 State Authorization Regulations Questions and Answers (7-22-19) 

July 31, 2019 Everything you need to know (But are afraid to ask) about the 2016 Distance Education Regulations. WCET Excellent summary of all the current issues including excellent summary of institutional disclosure requirements. 

July 22, 2019 Federal Student Aid "Compliance with the 2016 State Authorization Regulations Questions and Answers (raises the issue of there not being a complaint process in California for not profit IHES. See Strategies to Address ED's Guidance on State Authorization Complaint Processes (WCET). 

 

Dec. 2016 final Rule now effective May 26, 2019 per NEA et al v. DeVos et. al, U.S. Dist. Ct. Northern District CA, 4-26-19)

Program Integrity and Improvement, Final Rule, Dept. of Education, 81 Fed. Reg. 92232, Dec. 19, 2016 (for history of this rule see WCET history/timeline)

In this final rule, effective July 1, 2018, the Dept. of Education amends the State authorization sections of the Institutional Eligibility regulations issued under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). In addition, the Secretary amends the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations issued under the HEA, including the addition of a new section on required institutional disclosures for distance education and correspondence coursesThe new rule would do the following: 

 

  • Require an institution offering distance education or correspondence courses to be authorized by each State in which the institution enrolls students, if such authorization is required by the State, in order to link State authorization of institutions offering distance education to institutional eligibility to participate in the title IV, HEA programs, including through a State authorization reciprocity agreement. 
  • Define the term “State authorization reciprocity agreement” to be an agreement between two or more States that authorizes an institution located and legally authorized in a State covered by the agreement to provide postsecondary education through distance education or correspondence courses to students residing in other States covered by the agreement and does not prohibit any State in the agreement from enforcing its own statutes and regulations, whether general or specifically directed at all or a subgroup of educational institutions. 
  • Require an institution to document the State process for resolving complaints from students enrolled in programs offered through distance education or correspondence courses. 
  • Require that an additional location or branch campus located in a foreign location be authorized by an appropriate government agency of the country where the additional location or branch campus is located and, if at least half of an educational program can be completed at the location or branch campus, be approved by the institution's accrediting agency and be reported to the State where the institution's main campus is located. 
  • Require that an institution provide public and individualized disclosures to enrolled and prospective students regarding its programs offered solely through distance education or correspondence courses.

The definition of *state authorization reciprocity agreement* was changed as follows:

Changes: We have revised the definition of State authorization reciprocity agreement by deleting the words “consumer protection laws” and adding in their place “statutes and regulations, whether general or specifically directed at all or a subgroup of educational institutions.” In addition, we have replaced the word “participating” with reference to a participating State with the word “any” so that a State authorization reciprocity agreement does not prohibit any State from enforcing its own statutes and regulations, whether general or specifically directed at all or a subgroup of educational institutions. We add the word “residing” after the word “students” to clarify that the agreement authorizing and institution to provide postsecondary education through distance education or correspondence courses is to students residing in other States covered by the agreement. We also add the words “in the agreement” after “any State” to clarify that the agreement does not prohibit any State in the agreement from enforcing its own statutes and regulations.

Failure to obtain authorization in a particular state results in denial of Title IV aid for that particular state.  Institutions should not market to, nor enroll students in, a program in a State unless the institution has met applicable State authorization requirements. An institution should be providing the student with information about its State authorization status and should be informing the student that, if the student relocates to a State where the institution is not authorized, the institution cannot disburse Federal student aid to the student as long as the student continues to reside in that State.

All Institutions must perform the due diligence of learning what additional requirements a foreign government may put on an institution to offer educational programs in their jurisdiction and comply with those requirements as a basic price of doing business in that foreign country.

While these regulations provide an exemption for branch campuses that is physically located on a military base, facility, or area that a foreign country has granted the U.S. military to use, the Department declines to publish a complete listing of these areas. These areas would be decided by a Status of Forces agreement between the U.S. and a foreign country.

Complaint process and other required disclosures

The Department added new § 668.50(b) and (c), which requires disclosures to enrolled and prospective students in the institution's distance education programs. Up to eight disclosures will be made publicly available, and up to three disclosures will require direct communication with enrolled and prospective students when certain conditions have been met. These disclosures will not change any other required disclosures of the Student Assistance General Provisions regulations.

Public Disclosures
§ 668.50(b)(1) Whether the program is authorized in the state in which the enrolled student resides; 

§ 668.50(b)(2)(i) Process for submitting complaints to the appropriate State agency in the State in which the main campus of the institution is located;

§ 668.50(b)(2)(ii) Any complaint process established by the reciprocity agreement;

§ 668.50(b)(3) Process for submitting complaints to the appropriate State agency in the State in which enrolled students reside, including contact information for those State agencies that handle consumer complaints;

§ 668.50(b)(4) Disclose any adverse actions a State entity has initiated related to the institution's distance education programs or correspondence courses for a five calendar year period prior to the year in which the institution makes the disclosure. 

§ 668.50(b)(5) Disclose any adverse actions an accrediting agency has initiated related to the institution's distance education programs or correspondence courses for a five calendar year period prior to the year in which the institution makes the disclosure;

§ 668.50(b)(6) Disclose any refund policies for the return of unearned tuition and fees with which the institution is required to comply by any State in which the institution enrolls students in a distance education program or correspondence courses. This disclosure requires publication of the State-specific requirements on the refund policies as well as any institutional refund policies that would be applicable to students enrolled in programs offered through distance education or correspondence courses with which the institution must comply.

§ 668.50(b)(7) Disclose the applicable educational prerequisites for professional licensure or certification which the program offered through distance education or correspondence course prepares the student to enter for each State in which students reside. The institution must also make this disclosure for any other State which the institution has made a determination regarding such prerequisites as well as if the institution's program meets those requirements. For any State for which an institution has not made a determination with respect to the licensure or certification requirement, an institution will be required to disclose a statement to that effect. 

Individual Disclosures

NB: These are federally required individual disclosures. Some states have their own unique disclosures. 

Under § 668.50(c)(1)(i), an institution will be required to provide an individualized disclosure to prospective students when it determines a program offered solely through distance education or correspondence courses does not meet licensure or certification prerequisites in the State of the student's residence.

Under § 668.50(c)(1)(ii), an institution will be required to provide an individualized disclosure to both enrolled and prospective students within 30 days of when it becomes aware of any adverse action initiated by a State or an accrediting agency related to the institution's programs offered through distance education or correspondence courses; or within seven days of the institution's determination that a program ceases to meet licensure or certification prerequisites of a State.

For prospective students who receive any individualized disclosure and subsequently enroll, § 668.50(c)(2) will require an institution to obtain an acknowledgment from the student that the communication was received prior to the student's enrollment in the program.

 

WCET Negotiated Rulemaking: Accreditation, Student Identity Verification, Student Disclosures, and Other Proposed Regulations, May 10, 2019

State Authorization Redux: New Rules Would retain disclosure Requirements for Professional Licensure Programs: April 29, 2019. Hogan Lovells

Specifically on professional licensure: 

Finally, agreement was reached on the scope of disclosures required by institutions with regard to programs leading to professional licensure, such as graduate nursing and teaching programs. Disclosures would be required regardless of modality – online or on-ground. Regulatory language concerning disclosures for professional licensure and certification would be included in 34 CFR §668.43 (Institution Information). According to the consensus language agreed to by the negotiators, notifications to all students must be provided as to whether the state's licensure requirements will be met wherever the student is located. Both general and direct disclosures would be required depending on the institution's determination of whether the program meets relevant state requirements for licensure or certification in the state where the student is located. Specifically, institutions would be required to provide a list of states where the institution has determined that a program satisfies applicable licensure requirements for the program, a list where the institution has determined that the program does not meet such requirements, and a list of states where the institution has not yet made a determination. The institution would be required to provide this information to all prospective and enrolled students. 

If the institution has determined that its program will not meet the state requirements, or a determination has not been made, a direct disclosure in writing to the prospective student would be required to be made before enrollment. This could be accomplished through email or other electronic means. If a student is currently enrolled and a determination is made that a program will not meet the state professional requirements, the written notice must be made within 14 days of such determination. 

 

Negotiated Rulemaking:What Happened with State Authorization and Licensure Notifications: WCET April 2019

Don't wait out the Federal Rulemaking: These State Authorization Federal Regulations are Currently Enforceable: WCET

Notifying Students About Professional Licensure Issues (Nov. 30, 2018)

 Distance Education Rule Delayed for Two Years: See OMB  posting for Spring 2018. A second OMB posting indicates the Department will engage in negotiated rulemaking.  The requirements under SARA remain in place,and state laws and penalties remain in place. This delay is fully analyzed in the Hogan Lovells May 14, 2018 Education Alert: Third time's the charm? ED delays distance education rule

Professional Licensure Notifications and Disclosures for Out of State Courses/Programs, WCET Frontiers, Feb. 7, 2018. Excellent summary.

 

Resources

WCET State Authorization Page

 

Social Work Specific

Council On Social Work Accreditation: Directory of Accredited Programs. They accredit MSWs in all 50 states. Catholic University is accredited for both the MSW and the Bachelor's degree. 

ASWB Regulatory Brief: Advanced Standing

ASWB contacted member boards to ask for information about requirements related to advanced standing MSW degrees. Members were asked: “If a candidate has an advanced standing degree, do you require additional information about the specific courses completed at the baccalaureate level, which were used to exempt completion of similar courses at the graduate level?"

Nursing Specific

National Council of State Boards of Nursing web page on Distance Education Issues (with White Paper)**


National Council of State Boards of Nursing: Has links to all state BONs.

 
Four states have two boards of nursing, one for registered nurses (RNs) and one for licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/VNs): California, Georgia, Louisiana and West Virginia.

 

The Intersection of State Authorization Agencies and Professional Licensing Boards, by Sharyl Thompson, July 2017

Updated renewal applications for NC-SARA

 NC-SARA Manual

 

General

 NACUANOTES: General Personal Jurisdiction Over Institutions of Higher Education: Daimler's Impact on The Traditional Exception, Maintaining Registered Agents, and Online Institutions. (1-9-18)

 

 

updated 8-27-19