State Authorization Regulations
The new regulations were published by the USDOE in the Federal Register (Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)). They require all institutions of higher education to seek authorization in every state (and territory) in which they “operate” in order to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid. These regulations specifically include distance education (online learning, correspondence courses, etc), previously assumed inapplicable by most institutions.
Because most state regulations were created long before the introduction of online learning, the approval process is not universal. Some states charge heavy fees and many states have recurring authorization renewal periods. WOU now tracks and monitor students, programs, and state regulation changes. Federal financial aid for students could be at risk if an audited institution has not complied with applicable regulations. WOU has already been forced to turn away distance students from certain states due to the cost of seeking authorization there.
1. Monitor marketing efforts for our distance programs
Many states require additional authorization paperwork or fees for distance programs that market directly to students in their state. Be sure to check with the Division of Extended Programs before directly marketing a distance program to out of state students.
2. Keep track of prospective and current students’ internships, practica, and state of residence
Prospective online students residing in some states may be ineligible to apply for our programs if we are not authorized to operate in their state. Students participating in internships and practica in another state may also face restrictions. Faculty members must notify their college dean as well as Elayne Kuletz from the Division of Extended Programs a minimum of 30 days prior to permitting a student to begin an internship or practicum that takes place in another state.
3. Provide information to students and faculty members
This site will be updated as WOU takes steps to comply with the new regulations. Students interested in communicating with their home state authorizing agency or our accrediting body (NWCCU) can do so according to the information provided below. We will need to provide updated contact information to all of our current and prosepctive students as well as documentation of our authorizaton upon request.
In addition to the state authorization regulations, we are also required to provide students with information about the complaint process in each state as well as with our own accrediting agency.(Federal Register, Chapter 34, § 668.43 (b)). The information below will change as we learn more about each agency. Some states are reviewing their current complaint processes or do not yet have one. As information becomes available, we shall post it here as a reference for WOU faculty, staff, and students.
Students may follow this link for information about filing consumer complaints with their state authorizing agency.
Students may also file a complaint with WOU’s regional accrediting agency, NWCCU (Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities). Please follow this link to the organization’s contact information page
Division of Extended Programs (DEP) 503.838.8483 V/TTY or 1.800.451.5767| or e-mail: email@example.com | or fax: 503-838-8473
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