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Online Learning Across State Borders Assessing state regulation of out-of-state schools. UMassOnline Speaker Series 19 April 2011 Continuing and Professional Education Learning Collaborative (CPE-LC) Online Higher Education Learning Collaborative (OHE-LC). Table of Contents. Introduction
UMassOnline Speaker Series
19 April 2011
Continuing and Professional Education Learning Collaborative (CPE-LC)
Online Higher Education Learning Collaborative (OHE-LC)
Conventional physical presence often important for “online” programs. Where online-related licensing does exist, forms of physical presence that complement wholly online delivery, whether recruitment, instruction or support, are where online delivery often most clearly triggers state jurisdiction.
Treatment of For-Profits. Only RI bars for-profits from offering degrees, but a number of states have distinct rules for proprietary schools, and/or bundle all such institutions under a “career school” category even if some grant doctoral degrees and others are cosmetology or truck driving schools
More than one regulator. In some states (e.g. TX), two regulators claim oversight of out-of-schools, and it is not always clear, nor do the regulators necessarily agree where authority lies
Interpretation. Some state statutes pre-date online learning, and contemporary application may be as much case-by-case interpretation by officials as the letter of the rules. Equally, schools have cited cases to Eduventures where different staff employed by the regulator offered contradictory interpretations of regulations
Non-state territory. Many states do make full or partial exceptions for military bases and (less explicitly) Tribal nations
This chart shows Eduventures interpretation of the character of out-of-state licensing across the 50 states, plus D.C. See # of states in boxes. See following sides for explanation of each category, plus examples
N.B. Summary based on Eduventures interpretation. Each state and school representation should be considered on a case-by-case basis
This chart shows Eduventures interpretation of the character of out-of-state licensing for recruitment across the 50 states, plus D.C. See # of states in boxes.
Broad Jurisdiction (enrolling residents in pure online programs)
Medium Jurisdiction (recruitment or faculty, not pure online); or ambiguity
Narrow Jurisdiction (conventional physical presence)
Comparison with Eduventures January 2011 report- recent statements essentially in line, but leave ambiguity in some cases
Narrow Jurisdiction (MI, MS, ND, NV, VA)
About 60% of agencies with new statements disavow pure online for all/some schools; but assert marketing, faculty and/or perpetuate significant ambiguity
Comparison with Eduventures January 2011 report- most recent statements essentially in line, but leave some ambiguity. GA, IL and WI statements suggests a more limited stance
Broad Jurisdiction (KS)
Kansas- The Regents’ site makes no explicit reference to the DoE intervention but includes the following statement: "Kansas statutes require any school serving Kansas students, no matter the means of delivery, to be approved by KBOR (Board of Regents). However, many schools offering programs and degrees via the Internet do not seek KBOR approval. To protect themselves, students should contact KBOR before enrolling in schools offering distance learning programs." This language implies a stricter stance than summarized in Eduventures January 2011 report, but may be clarification rather than a new position. Federal intervention suggests KS may be able to address perceived widespread non-compliance.
Next Step: this is a state that schools might be advised to prioritize for formal compliance. See “What should schools do now?” section for further guidance
In 2010, only about one-third of states had 20+ out-of-state degree-granting institutions licensed, but proportion has risen over recent years
In Eduventures view, schools should proceed as follows:
Public Schools with Modest or Average Online Headcount- based on prior and current evidence, most relevant agencies are unlikely to require authorization for pure online, faculty presence or in-state recruitment/marketing; and other agencies may rely on home state approval or accreditation. Based on our prior and present report, a few states (AL, AR, IN, KS, KY, LA, MN, NM, WY) suggest broadest jurisdiction, and should be prioritized in terms of seeking clarification from agencies and acting upon advice. The situation is fluid, and clarifying information will emerge about these and other states/agencies
Private NonProfit Schools- as “Public Schools” above, plus cases where non-public schools are treated differently (MO, discussed in this report, is a clear example)
Public or Private Schools with Large Online Headcount- as “Public Schools” above, plus attention to states where in-state recruitment/marketing is called out. Such schools may be visible test cases for particular agencies
For-Profit Schools- as “Public Schools” above, plus heightened “visibility” caution compared to larger nonprofits. No evidence that proprietary-specific agencies, where applicable, will take a broader stance, but few have declared
All Schools- beyond the above comments, if a school considers that it’s activity in a state may require authorization or formal exemption, it should seek clarification from the relevant state agency
Continuing & Professional Education Learning Collaborative
Online Higher Education Learning Collaborative