State Authorization for Distance Education

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A photo of a Cal U student working on a laptop.A photo of a Cal U student working on a laptop.

State Authorization for Distance Education

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.

What is California University of Pennsylvania doing regarding State Authorization?

Working with the other PA State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) schools, California University of PA is developing a strategy for applying for the necessary authorizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories. Specific information on each state will be published here as it becomes available. To that end, we are taking the following steps:

  1. Tracking prospective and current students’ programs, internships and other field experiences, and state of residence. It is important that we know where you are residing when you are taking courses, so be sure your address is up to date.
  2. Monitoring marketing and recruiting efforts for our Global Online programs.
  3. Monitoring faculty hires in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories. 
  4. Working to achieve authorization in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Territories.
  5. California University has been approved as a SARA-participating institution, effective January 1, 2017. This clears the way for students in all other SARA states to enroll in our Global Online courses and programs. See below for information on SARA and the member states.
  6. Our ultimate goal is to become authorized in every state, and we are making every effort to do so. While the Department of Education has pushed the deadline for compliance back and a new deadline date has not yet been announced, we are still taking the proactive approach in this effort.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement SARA logo

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. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts. Currently, 44 states plus the District of Columbia are members of SARA. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania joined SARA effective January 1, 2017, and California University is now a SARA-participating institution. Participation in SARA allows the University to operate in all other SARA states. However, please note that SARA does not cover professional licensure issues (see below). For more information on SARA, please visit www.nc-sara.org.

Read the SARA welcome letter.

Professional Licensures/Certifications

All jurisdictions have their own requirements for professional degrees that concern licensure/certification (e.g., teacher preparation programs). Cal U’s programs are designed to meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for recommending candidates for licensure/certification. If you plan to seek licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania, please refer to the document “Education Licensure by State” for specific information about your state.

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State

SARA

State?

Approved

Status

Documents

Alabama Yes Yes (SARA)

Nursing: State approval of a program to offer Alabama licensed nurses opportunities for advanced degrees does not indicate eligibility for approval to practice as an advanced practice nurse in Alabama. Applicants for approval in Alabama are required to meet the Alabama requirements for national certification, graduation from a specific-type program for the advanced practice approval, and completion of the appropriate application. Any program offering a pre-licensure track to Alabama students shall meet the requirements of the Alabama regulations for pre-licensure programs or the graduates may not be eligible to take the national licensure examination required by the Alabama Board of Nursing to enter the practice. www.abn.alabama.gov

Alaska Yes Yes (SARA)

 

Arizona Yes Yes (SARA)

 

 
Arkansas Yes Yes (SARA)

 

 
California No Yes Public institutions are not regulated by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education; therefore, no action is necessary. CA Email
Colorado Yes Yes (SARA)

PLEASE NOTE: Any student completing a field experience in CO must be covered by the host site's workers' compensation and liability insurance.

 
Connecticut Yes Yes (SARA)  
Delaware

Yes

Yes (SARA)

 
District of Columbia

Yes

Yes (SARA)


Florida No Yes Cal U does not meet the definition of physical presence in FL; therefore, no action is necessary. FL Letter Authorization Not Required
Georgia Yes Yes (SARA)  
Hawaii Yes Yes (SARA)  

Idaho

Yes Yes (SARA)  

Illinois

Yes Yes (SARA)

 

 

Indiana

Yes Yes (SARA)

Iowa

Yes

Yes (SARA)

Programs that lead to professional licensure (i.e., education programs) are not authorized in IA. If in doubt, please contact the Director of Regulatory Compliance.

*Pursuant to Iowa Code Section 261.9(1)(h), any California University employee located in Iowa who, in the scope of their employment responsibilities, examines, attends, counsels, or treats a child must report suspected physical or sexual abuse to the institution's administration and to law enforcement. Any report of suspected child physical or sexual abuse should be made as soon as possible, but within 48 hours, to the Office of Social Equity at 724-938-4014, and the employee shall immediately make a report to local law enforcement.

Kansas

Yes Yes (SARA)

Kentucky

Yes

Yes (SARA)

BUT No education programs leading to certification.

For more information on education programs, please see the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board website.

Louisiana Yes Yes (SARA)  
Maine Yes Yes (SARA)  
Maryland Yes Yes (SARA)

 

Massachusetts

No

Yes

Cal U does not meet the definition of physical presence in MA; therefore, no action is necessary. MA Physical Presence Email
Michigan Yes Yes (SARA)
Minnesota Yes Yes (SARA)

 

Mississippi Yes Yes (SARA)  
Missouri Yes Yes (SARA)
Montana Yes Yes (SARA)  
Nebraska Yes Yes (SARA)  
Nevada

Yes

Yes (SARA)

Cal U is licensed in Nevada for all programs in its current catalog EXCEPT education programs that lead to licensure.  
New Hampshire Yes Yes (SARA)  
New Jersey Yes Yes (SARA)  
New Mexico

Yes

Yes (SARA)

New York Yes Yes (SARA)  
North Carolina

Yes

Yes (SARA)

North Dakota Yes Yes (SARA)  
Ohio Yes Yes (SARA) If a program results in the out-of-state license or eligibility for the license as verified by the Dean of the College of Education and Human Services in a letter to the student completing the program, the student can apply for the Ohio license, as long as he or she meets the teaching requirements and passes any required Ohio tests. Please visit  http://education.ohio.gov/topics/teaching/licensure/out-of-state-licensure for more information.
Oklahoma Yes Yes (SARA)  
Oregon Yes Yes (SARA)
Pennsylvania Yes Yes (SARA)
Rhode Island Yes Yes (SARA)  
South Carolina Yes Yes (SARA)  
South Dakota Yes Yes (SARA)  
Tennessee Yes Yes (SARA)  
Texas

Yes

Yes (SARA)

 
Utah Yes Yes (SARA)  
Vermont Yes Yes (SARA)
Virginia Yes Yes (SARA)

 

 
Washington

Yes

Yes (SARA)

West Virginia Yes Yes (SARA)
Wisconsin Yes Yes (SARA)  
Wyoming Yes Yes (SARA)
U.S. Territory Approved Status Documents
American Samoa Yes AS does not regulate the authorization of post-secondary institutions. There is no requirement for institutions to be authorized in AS.
Guam Yes The Guam Council on Post-Secondary Institution Certification has authority over private for-profit degree-granting institutions, but does not regulate the authorization of public institutions.
Northern Mariana Islands Yes The Northern Marianas Islands have no statutes or regulations governing the authorization of post-secondary institutions. Authorization is not required.
Puerto Rico Yes Puerto Rico does not regulate distance education programs or field experiences that are found by the student.
Virgin Islands Yes VI does not regulate the authorization of post-secondary institutions. However, an institution must be accredited to operate in VI. No action necessary.

 

Current Students: Please see the Complaint Process for Students for more information about the complaint process.

Contact Information:
Stephanie L. Franks-Helwich MA ’03, MS ‘06
Dean, Graduate Admissions & Global Online
California University of Pennsylvania
250 University Ave., California, PA 15419
724.938.4301 | 1.866.595.6348
franks_s@calu.edu
This page will be continually updated as we work through the State Authorization process.