NAICU Washington Update

Dept. Ed. Releases Additional Guidance on State Authorization Rules

August 13, 2013

The Department of Education issued additional guidance on August 9 intended to clarify how institutions can document they are properly authorized by a state.
The state authorization requirements have been a source of confusion since they were first issued in October 2010.  This confusion was compounded by media reports earlier this year that erroneously listed states allegedly out of compliance with the regulations.
A postsecondary institution clearly meets the authorization requirement if it is named in a state charter, statute, or constitution.  Other colleges face the ambiguous task of demonstrating that they are authorized by name through “other action issued by an appropriate State agency or State entity.”
The guidance provides two examples of what such “other action” might include: 
  • Documentation that the institution participates in a state grant program that provides assistance only to postsecondary students in the state; or 
  • Documentation that the institution has an articulation agreement with a public postsecondary institution in the state, and that the agreement provides for credit transfers.

The guidance letter also discusses what constitutes an “active role” by a state in approving or licensing institutions as postsecondary institutions in situations where they are established as businesses or as nonprofit charitable institutions.
For additional background on the state authorization regulations, see this earlier Washington Update.

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