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State Authorization


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Russ Poulin is the Deputy Director, Research and Analysis for WCET - WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies.

He spoke to ACCESS on Examining federal distance education regulations regarding 'state authorization' and 'last day of attendance.'

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State Authorization

  1. 1. Federal Regulations: Authorization,Complaints, & Last Day of Attendance ACCESS: Association of Christian Distance Education March 29 2012
  2. 2. Russ Poulin Deputy Director,Research &
  3. 3. Today’s Agenda• WCET• State Authorization• Student Complaint Process• Last Day of Attendance• QUESTIONS?
  4. 4. WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies WCET accelerates the adoption of effective practices and policies, advancing excellence in technology-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education.
  5. 5. The Federal Regulation:Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)
  6. 6. The Federal Regulation:Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)“If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education in a State in which it is not physically located, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document upon request from the Department that it has such State approval.” e-CFR:
  7. 7. The Federal Regulation:Timeline“…the Department will not initiate any action to establish repayment liabilities or limit student eligibility for distance education activities undertaken before July 1,2014, so long as the institution is making good faith efforts to identify and obtain necessary State authorizations before that date.”
  8. 8. The Federal Regulation:“Good Faith” Efforts“…include any one or more of the following items:• Documentation that an institution is developing a distance education management process for tracking students place of residence when engaged in distance education.• Documentation that an institution has contacted a State directly to discuss programs the institution is providing to students in that State to determine whether authorization is needed.”
  9. 9. The Federal Regulation:“Good Faith” Efforts (continued)• An application to a State, even if it is not yet approved.• Documentation from a State that an “application is pending.”
  10. 10. The Federal Regulation:“Good Faith” Efforts (continued) “Take the next step.”
  11. 11. The Federal Regulation:APSCU LawsuitOn July 12, the District Court of the District of Columbia ruled: "The Court will vacate 34 C.F.R. § 600.9(c).”Appeal was heard on February 21., p. 35-39 Photo:
  12. 12. The Federal Regulation:HR 2117On February 27, the US House of Representatives voted 303 – 114 to approve a bill to repeal the ‘state authorization’ and ‘credit hour’ regulations.
  13. 13. The State RegulationsThe states’ regulations predated the federal regulation and remain in effect. They expect you to comply prior to serving students in each state. Photo:
  14. 14. The State RegulationsState Higher Education Executive Officers’ Lists -State Reg. Offices -State Laws & Regulations -Complaint Processes -Coming: Trigger Matrix Photo:
  15. 15. State Authorization Reciprocity AgreementPresidents’ Forum/Council of State Governments• Developing model compact.• Institution approved in “home” state.• Approval recognized in partner states.Regional Compacts (WICHE, SREB, MHEC, NEBHE) getting involved.
  16. 16. State AuthorizationWhat Should You Do?• Do you know where your students are?• Research regulations and costs.• What are others on your campus doing in other states?• Inform your leadership.• Be strategic in seeking approvals.
  17. 17. State AuthorizationWhat Should You Do?• Have your institution or system join WCET’s State Authorization Network… …details coming soon. • Institutions should work together. • Keep up with the latest news. • Ask questions of others going through the same processes.
  18. 18. Student Complaint Processes§ 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 institutions accreditation and its State, Federal, or tribal approval or licensing…”
  19. 19. Student Complaint Processes§ 668.43 (b) Institutional Information“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 students complaint.”Effective date: July 1, 2011 e-CFR:
  20. 20. Last Day of Attendance• Financial aid reimburse if a student withdraws without notification.• Distance ed held to different standard.• See background and Baker College audit:
  21. 21. Last Day of Attendance(7)(i) “Academic attendance” and “attendance at an academically-related activity”—• (A) Include, but are not limited to— • ( 1 ) Physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students; • ( 2 ) Submitting an academic assignment; • ( 3 ) Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction;
  22. 22. Last Day of Attendance • ( 4 ) Attending a study group that is assigned by the institution; • ( 5 ) Participating in an online discussion about academic matters; and • ( 6 ) Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course; and
  23. 23. Last Day of Attendance• (B) Do not include activities where a student may be present, but not academically engaged, such as— • ( 1 ) Living in institutional housing; • ( 2 ) Participating in the institutions meal plan; • ( 3 ) Logging into an online class without active participation; or • ( 4 ) Participating in academic counseling or advisement.
  24. 24. QUESTIONS???? Russ Poulin rpoulin@wiche.edu