Ohio State Submits Comment on Proposed State Authorization Regulations

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

The Ohio State University recently submitted a comment to the U.S. Department of Education about the department’s proposed state authorization regulations. The proposed regulations would require the university to post disclosures for all on-ground and online licensure programs.

The regulations, which were published for public comment from June 12-July 12, 2019, reflect the agreement reached by a negotiated rulemaking committee in April 2019 and mark another step toward implementation of a federal state authorization regulation.

What’s in the proposed rule?

The proposal would require an institution to be authorized to operate in any state where it enrolls students. Institutions must either comply with unique authorization requirements in each state or become authorized to operate through participation in a state authorization reciprocity agreement. Institutions must be authorized in order to maintain eligibility for Title IV federal financial aid funding.

In addition, the proposal requires Title IV institutions to disclose whether a licensure program meets educational requirements for licensure in all 50 states. Specifically, for each licensure program, institutions must share a list of states in which:

  • The program meets educational requirements for licensure,
  • The program does not meet educational requirements for licensure, and
  • The institution has not determined whether the program meets educational requirements for licensure.

If the rule is finalized, disclosures will be required for all on-ground and online licensure programs. Previous versions of the rule required disclosures only for online licensure programs. The department’s rationale for the expanded requirement states that students are becoming increasingly mobile and are more likely to move to another state after completing a licensure program than in the past.

Licensure requirements vary from state to state. For example, the California Board of Registered Nursing is in the process of implementing a rule that requires programs to include content specific to the legal aspects of California nursing practice laws. Therefore, a student who completes an Ohio State nursing program may need to complete additional coursework before applying for a California license.

For these reasons, it is important for students to understand the impact their changing location may have on eligibility for a license. Licensure disclosures are meant to increase transparency and educate students on these requirements.

Ohio State's public comment

In coordination with Ohio State’s Office of Government Affairs, the state authorization team drafted comments to submit to the department on the proposed regulation. Like the national State Authorization Network (SAN), Ohio State’s state authorization team believes that the department greatly underestimates the time and resources required to research and provide disclosures for licensure programs in all 50 states.

Accurate disclosures require complex research, confirmation of requirements with licensure boards, and ongoing review of continuously evolving regulations. For those reasons, Ohio State requested more time to comply with any disclosure requirements included in the final regulation.

What happens next?

After the public comment period closes July 12, 2019, the department will consider submitted comments before publishing a final version of the regulation. If the final regulation is published by October 31, 2019, the earliest the rule could take effect is July 1, 2020.

As a first step in developing a compliance plan, Ohio State’s state authorization team is meeting with university stakeholders to share information on the regulation, finalize a list of licensure programs, and gather more information for each licensure program. The team will continue to monitor the regulation and share updates after the proposal is finalized.

Contact the state authorization team with questions about the proposed regulations.