The Higher Education Act of 1965 includes language which stipulates that universities must seek individual state approval prior to offering education to residents of that state, whether online or through local offerings.
Each state has specific requirements which must be met to allow universities from other states to provide education to their residents. These requirements are not necessarily specific to online education, but may also impact our activities supporting our programs located in Michigan. Some common 'triggers' that states look at to determine if a school should be going through an approval process include:
- Advertising and marketing targeting that state's residents
- Recruiters spending significant time recruiting students in that state
- Faculty who live in that state teaching in our programs
- Staff who live in that state and are supporting our students
- Use of dedicated computer equipment (servers, etc) or physical facilities in that state to provide education and student services
- Students completing internships within their state
- Online classes and programs offered to students in that state
In many cases online education is allowed, as long as there are no internship or practicums within that state. In other cases we must first go through the approval process, which may include a lengthy application and fees.
In 2016, Michigan and then Ferris State University, entered into a State Authorization
Reciprocity Agreement. For states who have joined into that agreement (SARA), there
are fewer triggers to physical presence and the result is a more streamlined process
for reporting and payment of fees.
Most importantly for Ferris State, we can now have students in internships in states who have joined SARA. We can also have our recruiters in those states, and can conduct general marketing and advertising in those states. We still cannot have a physical site in that state, nor have students meet together for instructional purposes.
For faculty and staff who want the most up to date list of states where we still face restrictions, please check within the 'communities' section of MyFSU, for the 'state authorizations' group. You will find the most up to date files within that group. If you want to find out more about state authorizations and which states belong to SARA, you can check the national organization's website here: NC-Sara.