Does Your Unit Operate a Physical Location in D.C.?

If your unit conducts on-ground activities in the District of Columbia, please notify the state authorization team.

The D.C. Higher Education Licensure Commission (HELC) requires institutions that operate a location in the district to be licensed. Examples of operating a location in D.C. include establishing, keeping or maintaining classrooms, office space or student housing.

Washington, D.C. and Ohio State participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA),  which allows the university to offer many distance education activities in the district. However, not all  activities are covered by SARA. Out-of-state activities not covered include:

  • Establishing a physical location
  • Placing more than 10 students per program simultaneously at a placement facility, such as a hospital
  • Offering a “short course” that requires more than 20 contact hours in a 6-month period

When units express interest in participating in any of these activities, the state authorization team researches requirements and seeks authorization to offer the activity in a state.

Because physical locations are not covered by SARA, even SARA institutions need to seek Washington, D.C. HELC approval for establishing a physical location. Operating a physical location in the district without a license can result in penalties, including fines of up to $500 for each day of noncompliance.

The state authorization team recently filed an application for exemption with the HELC for an Ohio State D.C. internship program. The team is now seeking information related to any additional programs that operate a location in D.C.

If your unit owns, leases or uses donated space in Washington, D.C., please email the state authorization team the following information:

  • The address of the physical location
  • The type of physical location (e.g., office space for program staff)
  • The duration of activities conducted there (e.g., students are in D.C. for one semester)

Contact the state authorization team with any questions about these requirements.