Compliance Requirements (Non-SARA)
Institutional Approval by the State Higher Education Agency
Some institutions may choose not to participate in reciprocity through SARA to obtain state institutional approval, are located in a state that is not a member of SARA, or offer an out of state activity that is not subject to SARA policy.
These institutions must comply with any applicable state approval requirements in each state as directed by the state's laws and regulations.
Suggested first steps for compliance:
- Determine what activities of the institution occur in a state other than the home state of the institution.
- Determine what states the institution wishes to participate in the activities.
- Determine whether the activity is regulated in the states in which the institutions wishes to participate in the activity.
- Seek appropriate compliance (authorization/registration/exemption/not regulated) from the state.
- Check to see if the institution is subject to requirements by other state agencies.
You may wish to review:
- 10 Steps You Can Take to Begin the State Authorization Process
- The State Authorization Guide - state by state surveys (formerly SHEEO Surveys)
Other Required Approvals
Institutions that offer courses and activities outside of the United States should determine if the activity is regulated in the country where the activity occurs. Distance Education may be regulated in some countries. Institutions should understand the many nuances of tax laws and institution oversight when the institution wishes to provide online courses to students located outside of the United States.
Please review the following resources from our colleagues at Hogan Lovells US LLP:
- International online programs: Know the pitfalls (July 9, 2018)
- Presentation on compliance for international online programs (April 17, 2019)
- Doing your homework when offering online programs internationally (March 25, 2020)
- International online education programs: A global regulatory perspective (May 19, 2020)
- Online Education and Digital Services Tax: A Mexico Cast Study (July 1, 2020)
Institutions may wish to seek outside counsel to assist. Here is one option: Education GOES International - service available by Hogan Lovells.
Talking Points - White Paper: Military-Affiliated Students: Managing International Compliance When Duty Calls. Prepared for WCET/SAN by our colleagues at Hogan Lovells: Bill Ferreira, Stephanie Gold, and Megan Wilson.
SAN members, by membership login, may wish to review the contact list of the SAN collated International Ministries of Education for countries worldwide.
Program Approval by State Professional Licensure Boards
Institutions that provide programs leading to professional licensure must determine whether the program curriculum meets educational prerequisites in the state where the program is offered. Additionally, the institution must determine whether program approval by the professional licensing board is required in the state where the program is offered. This approval is in addition to institutional approval by the higher education agency of the state (or though reciprocity). Please review the Professional Licensure Topic Area on this website for more information.
State Secretary of State, Treasury, or Revenue Registration
Some states require out-of-state institutions that offer education or have employees working in their state to register with the State Secretary of State, Treasury, or Department of Revenue in that state. Should the institution be required to register, the institution may be asked to obtain an Agent for Service of Process. This registration process and the requirement of an agent for service is not covered by SARA. SOS! SOS! Secretary of State Compliance Demystified is a helpful white paper to understand the secretary of state compliance process. Institutions should confer with their legal counsel.
SAN Members, by SAN membership login, may wish to review the SAN collated state information updated in December 2020 for Secretary of State information nationwide.
State Department of Taxation
A withholding account may be needed when the entity pays compensation to an employee in the state to deduct and withhold state income tax from the compensation paid to the employee. (institution employee/faculty working from another state)
Workers Compensation Insurance for Field Placements
States may require that the institution ensure that the student has workers compensation insurance if the student is participating in a field placement in another state. This is a requirement outside of SARA. We are only aware of this requirement by the state of Colorado. We will address other states as they become known. Contact information for Colorado can be found here:
- Lead agency: Colorado Department of Labor and Employment: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/dwc
- Contact: Julie Yakes; Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org; (303)318-8639
- Regulations: C.R.S. 8-40-302(7) - requirements; C.R.S. 8-43-409 – consequences
- Note that student teaching is exempt to this requirement in Colorado.