Federal State Authorization Regulation Effective July 1

Map of United States with red word "update" stamped across

Update: This regulation was delayed and put through a negotiated rulemaking process.

Despite requests for clarification, reported confusion, a proposed repeal and speculation about delay, the U.S. Department of Education’s federal state authorization regulation is scheduled to take effect July 1, 2018. Our state authorization team is keeping an eye on the status of the regulation and preparing for its implementation.

What’s in the regulation?

The regulation requires institutions to be authorized to offer distance education in a state in order to disburse Title IV financial aid to students in that state. That can mean authorization through the state’s higher education regulatory board or participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

The regulation also requires institutions to provide disclosures to enrolled and prospective distance students related to:

  • The authorization status of the institution

  • The consequence of moving to a state where the institution is not authorized

  • Student complaint processes

  • Any adverse actions initiated by a state entity or accreditor against the institution

  • Tuition refund policies

  • Educational prerequisites for licensure or certification in each state

To comply with these disclosure requirements, our state authorization team continuously updates Ohio State’s online program disclosure webpage.  Not only do these disclosures keep us in compliance with regulations, they ensure students know whether a program is recognized and meets licensure requirements in their state.

What if the regulation is delayed or repealed?

If the federal regulation is repealed, state authorization would no longer be tied to Title IV financial aid eligibility, but many requirements would continue under state laws and NC-SARA policies.

No matter the status of the federal regulation, Ohio State must still comply with state regulations, SARA policies and state professional licensure board requirements to legally offer distance education outside Ohio – and these regulations and policies contain requirements similar to the federal regulation.

What should you do?

Colleges and units should work with the Office of Distance Education and eLearning’s state authorization team to ensure information on program websites is consistent with disclosures provided on the Ohio State Online website.

Students, you should know we continue to monitor the status of this and any other regulations that may affect you. Learn more about what state authorization means for you on the Ohio State Online website.

Contact the state authorization team with any questions about the regulations and required disclosures for online programs.