Additional Responsibilities for Professional Licensure Programs on all degree levels
- Seek program approval by the state licensing board, if required by the state board, in the state where the activity occurs.
- Provide notifications for in-person and distance education programs leading to professional licensure as required by 34 CFR 668.43(a)(5)(v) and 34 CFR 668.43(c).
- Provide notifications as required by SARA Policy Manual Section 5.2.
- Comply with State regulations and Federal Misrepresentation Regulations.
* you are encouraged to read the Federal Regulations listed and SARA Manual Section 5.2 to determine applicability.
- Professional Licensure Disclosures: Implementation Handbook for Institutional Compliance with the 2019 Federal Regulations. Includes Flowchart! by author Shari Miller
- WCET & SAN Webcast: Professional Licensure Notifications Now Required! See the recording, transcript, and webcast topical summary.
- Resources Prepared by the Special Interest Team for Professional Licensure: White paper on compacts and two Frontiers Posts about institutional collaboration, checklists and research template.
- Licensed Professions per State with Board links Updated October 2020 (requires SAN Member login)
- National Associations for State Licensure Boards Weblinks: Updated October 2020 (requires SAN Member login)
- Professional Licensure in a Nutshell - One pager, Top 10 FAQ's, Resource List
Federal & State Regulations
There are three different regulatory considerations for institutions about notifications regarding licensure and certification prerequisites: Federal Regulations effective July 1, 2020, Federal Misrepresentation Regulations, and State regulations.
Federal Regulations for Professional Licensure Notifications - Effective July 1, 2020 (for participation in Title IV Federal Financial Aid programs)
668.43(a)(5)(v) and 668.43(c) – For ALL programs leading to professional licensure in a state, regardless of modality (face to face and distance ed.)
Public Notification - 34 CFR 668.43(a)(5)(v)
Disclosures for educational programs that are
- “designed” to meet educational requirements to obtain a specific license or certification that is required for employment in an occupation, or
- “advertised” as meeting professional licensure educational requirements
whether sufficient to meet licensure requirements in a state for that occupation.
How to disclose
- A list of states where the program curriculum meets state educational requirements for licensure or certification.
- A list of states where the program curriculum does not meet state educational requirements for licensure or certification.
- A list of states where the institution has not made a determination.
Individualized notifications - 34 CFR 668.43(c) directly to the student regarding the student's location
- Prospective Students – if curriculum does not meet state requirements or no determination made where student is located prior to enrollment in the program (prior to a financial commitment is official guidance from the Department of Education)
- Enrolled students - if the institution makes a determination that the curriculum does not meet state educational requirements where the student is located - 14 calendar days of that determination to notify the students where they are located.
Federal Misrepresentation Regulations
An institution must be aware of their communications, or omissions, to students per misrepresentation regulations.
The Federal Misrepresentation regulations state that an institution participating in Title IV HEA programs, must not engage in substantial misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation as defined in 34 CFR 668.71 includes any false, erroneous, or misleading statement or omission to a prospective or enrolled student and “substantial misrepresentation” is any misrepresentation on which a person could reasonably be expected to rely, or has reasonably relied, to the person’s determent. The definition includes passive omissions leading to misrepresentation in addition to active statements.
The Federal regulations go on to state in 34 CFR 668.72 that there must be no misrepresentation as to the nature of the program. This part of the regulation specifically states in 34 CFR 668.72(c)(2) that there is to be no misrepresentation as to whether the successful completion of a course of instruction qualifies a student -
"To receive, to apply to take or to take the examination required to receive, a local, State, or Federal license, or a nongovernmental certification required as a precondition for employment, or to perform certain functions in the States in which the educational program is offered, or to meet additional conditions that the institution knows or reasonably should know are generally needed to secure employment in a recognized occupation for which the program is represented to prepare students;"
Institutions should determine if there are separate notifications required by the state regulations to offer professional licensure programs in the state. These could include state misrepresentation regulations and other consumer protection related regulations.
SARA Requirements - Notifications
Institutions that participate in reciprocity through SARA must be aware and comply with notification requirements directed by SARA Policy. The June 12, 2020 NC-SARA Announcement, regarding a revision to the language of Section 5.2, states the following notification requirements that more closely align with Federal regulations:
Section 5.2 - Programs leading to Professional Licensure
SARA has no effect on State professional licensing requirements. Any Institution approved to participate in SARA that offers courses or programs designed to lead to Professional Licensure or certification or advertised as leading to Licensure must satisfy all federal requirements for disclosures regarding such Professional Licensure programs under 34 §C.F.R. 668.43. For SARA purposes, these requirements will also apply to non-Title IV institutions.
For SARA purposes, institutions that are unable, after all reasonable efforts, to determine whether a program will meet state professional licensure requirements shall provide the student or applicant with current contact information for any applicable licensing boards, and advise the student or applicant to determine whether the program meets requirements for Licensure in the State where the student or applicant is located.