State Authorization of Distance Education

State Authorization of Out-of-State Institutions

Whether via distance education, practical experiences, or face-to-face, states expect that institutions obtain approval before enrolling students, advertising, marketing, or performing other regulated activities in their state. The requirements as to which activities require authorization, the application processes, and the costs to comply vary greatly from state-to-state.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education issued a regulation tying an institution's ability to offer federal financial aid in a state to the institution being authorized in the student's state. The regulation was subsequently "vacated" by federal court ruling and is not currently being enforced. The Department is currently in the process of reinstating the regulation. Regardless of the status of the federal regulation, states still expect institutions to follow their laws and regulations.

Graphic of a globe wearing a graduation hat.