Part One in a Five Part Series on State Authorization
- October 2010 the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released new “program integrity regulations.” One of the regulations focused on the need for institutions offering distance or correspondence education to acquire authorization from any state in which it “operates.” This authorization is required to maintain eligibility for students of that state to receive federal financial aid.
- On July 12, 2011 the United States District Court for the District of Columbia struck down the distance education portion of the USDOE “state authorization” regulations.
- On June 5, 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court to vacate the distance education portion of the USDOE “state authorization” regulations.
- Even though the federal regulations were vacated, state regulations are still in place. State regulators now have a heightened awareness of institutions operating in their state without approval. States with regulations expect that institutions be in compliance with their regulations before serving any students in their state.
- Even though the federal regulations were vacated, the USDOE is moving ahead. Due to the court order the USDOE cannot enforce the regulations but they are taking the necessary steps to reinstate the regulations. A new deadline for state authorization compliance could be announced later in 2014.
The University of Mississippi and Online Design & eLearning are making excellent strides in obtaining authorization or exemption in as many states as possible to service any student wishing to enroll in an online graduate program with the University of Mississippi. For a list of state please visit UM’s State Authorization page (http://www.online.olemiss.edu/state_authorizations.html).
For more information about state authorization, please contact Mary Lea Moore, firstname.lastname@example.org, 662-915-7089.
WCET Advance (http://wcet.wiche.edu/advance/state-approval)