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Military Students

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Distance Education - Military Affiliated Students

With only a few exceptions, military students, dependents, and veterans, are subject to the same state oversight of institutional activity as other students in a state. 

Institutions must be aware of the location of the military affiliated student to determine if the student is located in a state that the institution is approved to offer activities. 

If the student is transferred, the institution must obtain the appropriate approvals, if required, to continue offering distance education to the student.

If the institution is a SARA participating institution and the student is located in a SARA state, the institution may continue to provide distance education to the student. Please review the SARA Manual

Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) - Student Teaching:  General Information

Review Talking Points papers:

Department of Defense MOU for Offering Tuition Assistance

Voluntary Education Programs - 32 CFR 68.6 (c)(6)(ii)

The Department of Defense (DoD) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) requires participating institutions to comply with all state authorization requirements for providing distance education.

Institutions must sign the MOU to participate in the Tuition Assistance Program (TA Program) for active duty military students.

Military Installations in the United States

Most states do not provide an exemption for activities that occur on a military installation. 

The Talking Points paper, State Authorization and Military Students notes,"Currently only 16 states (Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia) expressly exempt institutions operating even exclusively on military bases".  However, it should be noted that the specific aspects of the exemption vary per state and should be monitored for any changes.

Military Students Outside of the United States

Generally speaking, military students located outside of the United States may be subject to the laws of the country for which they are located.

SARA does not address institutional approval outside of the United States as the reciprocity agreement is an agreement among states.

Talking Points - White Paper:  Military-Affiliated Students: Managing International Compliance When Duty CallsPrepared for WCET/SAN by our colleagues at Hogan Lovells: Bill Ferreira, Stephanie Gold, and Megan Wilson.

A Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) may only provide a few institutions the ability to offer programs at an out of country military facility in some countries. A SOFA is an agreement between a host country and the foreign nation that may have military forces in that country. The agreement can vary per country to be for a specific activity or purpose or for more broad purposes. (Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA): What Is It, and How Has It Been Utilized?) An institution may not simply consider that online education provided by a postsecondary institution in the United States is approved by a Status of Forces Agreement.  Institutions must confirm any possible applicability by a SOFA for postsecondary education generally and institution activities specifically.

For purposes of Title IV, HEA program funds, effective July 1, 2018, 34 CFR 600.9 (d) requires an additional location or branch campus of an institution that is located in a foreign country to be authorized  by the appropriate government authorization. Review of the Federal Register/Vol. 81, No. 243/ Monday, December 19, 2016/Rules and Regulations comments regarding 34 CFR 600.9(d) may provide guidance for an institutional exemption for some institutions on military bases for the purposes of authorization of an additional location or branch campus. Please note that this provision of the 2016 Federal Regulations became effective July 1, 2018 as scheduled.


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