good practices and sound policies that accelerate the effective adoption and use of technologies in teaching and learning.
What are Institutions Doing (or NOT Doing) about State Authorization?
A survey conducted by the
University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA)
WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
In July 2011, UPCEA and WCET partnered to survey institutions about how they were addressing the state authorization issue. Even though the federal requirement was vacated by court order in July, state regulations were in place prior to the issuance of the federal regulations and are still in effect.
Institutional personnel, policy-makers, and the press were all wondering what steps institutions had taken towards compliance. 230 institutions from the UPCEA and WCET memberships responded to the survey. Key findings include:
Extensive Institutional Reach. Institutions average serving students in 34 states. 46% of institutions plan to seek approval in all U.S. states, territories, and protectorates.
Many Have Not Applied. Most institutions (97%) have at least taken some steps to address state authorization, but 69% of institutions have yet to apply for approval in any state.
Many Misunderstand Regulations. Of those who have yet to apply, 19% believe that the regulation will be repealed. While this is true at the federal level, state regulations are still in place. 10% believe that they are exempt, which seems higher than possible.
Many Lack Funds to Address. Of those who have yet to apply, many are hampered by budget restriction, such as lack of staff (29%) and believe that the cost is too high (15%).
The Costs are Significant. Two-thirds of the institutions have yet to estimate the costs of compliance. For those that have estimated the costs, they estimated an average of $143,884 and a median of $78,793.
Institutions are Planning to Pull Out of States. 59% of respondents identified states from which they will probably not accept students. Most frequent: MA (29), MN (16), AR (15).
Significant Revenue is at Stake. On average, the revenue generated by out-of-state students represents 18% of the revenue for the institution's distance education operations. The "trimmed mean" income at stake was $2,898,595 (we had to remove one very large outlier) with a median of $475,769.
Thousands of Students Affected. 111 institutions provided estimates of how many students they might not be able to serve because of state regulations. On average, the institutions stated that the number of students that they might not be able to serve is 173, with a low of 0 and a high of 4,000. In total, the institutions estimated that they will not be able to serve about 19,000 students.
Smaller Colleges May Suffer. With fewer students in a state, the cost-per-student may have a bigger impact on smaller colleges.
Call for Action. Open-ended comments can be summarized: continued confusion about the nuances of regulations from state-to-state; frustration with difficult processes that seem duplicative of accreditation, unnecessary, and expensive; feeling that there is little value added with the regulations hindering the ability to serve students; and a call for consistency among regulations or reciprocity among states.
For more information, contact:
Research and Analysis,
Phone: (303) 541-0305
Center for Research and Consulting,
Phone: (814) 308-8424