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Federal Regulations

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What is the relationship between the federal state authorization regulations and state level state authorization regulations?

States expect institutions to obtain necessary approvals (if any) before offering activities in their state.  

Compliance with Federal regulations is required for institutions to participate in Title IV, HEA programs. 

The 2016 Federal regulations for state authorization of distance education were to be effective July 1, 2018.  On July 3, 2018, the Department announced that the effective date of selected provisions of the 2016 Federal regulations are delayed for two years (July 1, 2020).  The Department maintained that the two year delay provides the required time to review and possibly revise the regulations through Negotiated Rule-making.  Delayed regulations include:  34 CFR 600.2; 34 CFR 600.9(c); 34 CFR 668.50.  The regulation for State Authorization of foreign locations of domestic institutions, 34 CFR 600.9 (d) was not delayed. The effective date of that provision remains JULY 1, 2018.

The 2016 Federal regulations required that institutions  acquire authorization by each State in which the institution enrolls students, if authorization is required.  Additionally, institutions must provide specified disclosures. The foundation of the 2016 federal regulations is verification that institutions are following state laws where the institutions are serving students.

Other Federal regulations related to the out-of-state activities of an institution are currently effective and must be observed.

Federal Regulations

Originally Effective July 1, 2018 - TWO YEAR DELAY IN EFFECTIVE DATE (July 1, 2020)

34 CFR 600.2, 34 CFR 600.9 (c) and 34 CFR  668.50  

Publication Date 12/19/16  These provisions are delayed until July 1, 2020.

34 CFR 600.2:  Definitions - State authorization reciprocity agreement

34 CFR 600.9 (c): State authorization and process for review.

34 CFR 668.50: Institutional Disclosures for programs completed solely through distance education (excluding internships and practice).  Specific public disclosures, individualized disclosures, and acknowledgements  are required.

July 3, 2018 - Federal Register:  Department of Ed Announces 2 year delay of selected provisions of the 2016 Federal regulations for State Authorization to conduct negotiated rulemaking to reconsider and possibly revise the regulations.

July 31, 2018 - Federal Register:  Department's Intent to establish negotiated rulemaking committee.  

August 23, 2018 - NEA, CTA, Shane Heiman, Kwyn Uyehara & Stephanie Portilla v. U.S. Department of Higher Education.  Lawsuit regarding the delayed announcement (July 3, 2018) by the Department of the July 1, 2018 Effective Date Delay of Selected Provisions of the December 2016 regulations.

Other Applicable Federal Regulations

34 CFR 668.43 (b) Institutional Information - The institution must make available for review to any enrolled or prospective student upon request, a copy of the documents describing the institution's accreditation and its State, Federal, or tribal approval or licensing. The institution must also provide its students or prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accreditor and with its State approval or licensing entity and any other relevant State official or agency that would appropriately handle a student's complaint.

34 CFR 668.71 Scope and special definitions related to revoking the institution's Title IV program participation for an institution's engagement in substantial misrepresentation.  SAN members may wish to review the Federal Misrepresentation Presentation available by member log in.

34 CFR 668.72 Nature of educational program. Description of what is deemed misrepresentation by an eligible institution's educational program that includes, but is not limited to, false, erroneous or misleading statements.  Note that section (g) specifically addresses professional licensure information.

34 CFR 602.17 (g) (2) Student identification verification for distance education or correspondence education.  Includes:  making clear in writing to the student, at the time of registration or enrollment, if there are any projected additional student charges.  (proctoring)

HEA Reauthorization

The Higher Education Act (HEA) was originally enacted in 1965.  The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) was last reauthorized in 2008. That reauthorization was set to expire in 2013, but was extended to allow legislators more time to work on a new version.  The PROSPER Act, released on December 1, 2017, by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Workforce and Education, is the first draft of a bill to reauthorize the HEA. Passage of a Reauthorization of the HEA is not expected until 2019.  Helpful information about the PROSPER Act may be found in the Frontier's Post:  House HEA Proposes Changes for Distance Ed, CBE, and State Authorization.  Additional information specifically related to state authorization may be found by SAN members with log in: December 2017 letter to SAN.  SAN will continue to monitor and report on reauthorization progress.


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