The U.S. Department of Education has released amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 that may impact online, distance, and print-based education providers. §600.9(c) State authorization states:
If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request.
Slippery Rock University is working with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and has developed a strategy for identifying potential states, understanding each State's regulations, and applying for the necessary authorizations. Slippery Rock University is actively engaged in the following general activities to ensure compliance with the State authorization regulations:
- Staying up-to-date with federal and state regulations, policies, and practices related to the state authorization requirements.
- Tracking the state residence of current and prospective, online students.
- Tracking and monitoring curricular requirements regarding internships, student teaching, practica, and field placements.
- Monitoring marketing and recruiting efforts directed toward out-of-state students.
- Monitoring the state residence of faculty, staff, and administrators that support distance education.
- Actively working to obtain authorization key states.
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement - SARA
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. Its intention is to make it easier for students to take online courses and complete field experiences offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. Pennsylvania's SARA membership is effective January 1, 2017 and SRU is now a participating SARA institution. By participating in SARA, SRU is able to operate in every SARA state. The SARA Map identifies other participating states and districts.
A few states are not participating members of SARA. Information on these states is available here. This list is current as of August 10, 2017. If you have any questions regarding state authorization, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Authorization and How it Affects SRU Students answers some frequently asked questions concerning state authorization.
Please note that SARA does not address professional licensure issues.
Slippery Rock University is approved to offer programs that may lead to licensure/certification in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. SRU cannot confirm that our programs meet the requirements for licensure/certification in any other state or commonwealth. If you are considering enrolling in an education program and being certified/licensed in a state other than Pennsylvania, please check the specific requirements for certification in your state. If you are considering other professions that may require certification/licensure, you should first seek guidance on your state's requirements.
DISTANCE EDUCATION COMPLAINT PROCESS
As a SARA participating institution, Slippery Rock University has agreed to abide by the SARA student complaint process for complaints not related to grades or conduct.
Students should attempt to resolve the issue internally. Please refer to the Academic Policies websites (undergraduate and graduate) for resolving issues and complaints internally. If the student is unable to resolve the issue internally, please contact the SARA portal agency in Pennsylvania. The PA portal agency will notify and collaborate with NC-SARA as well as the portal agency in the state where the student is located to resolve the issue.
Currently, California and Massachusetts are non-SARA states. A student taking online classes while located in those states, should register their complaint with the appropriate agency.