Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Just So You Know..."State Authorization" Has Not Gone Away

There was a lot of publicity recently when the U.S. Department of Education announced that it would no longer enforce a requirement that had been placed in their regulations that distance education programs would have to obtain permission to operate in every state in which they enroll at least one student.

While the Department's decision was good news, the issue did not go away. In fact, it moved to the forefront in many states. As one observer said, "the genie is out of the bottle." Many states already had laws on the books that required registration or some other form of authorization but had never enforced them, while a couple of states saw a revenue opportunity and swiftly passed such laws. Most states simply do not have the manpower to enforce the laws and with the threat of federal enforcement now gone, many colleges will simply wait to get caught rather than paying the registration fees or going through whatever process the state has set up.

There is another troubling aspect to this controversy - some of the state laws also say that placing even one student in a clinical or externship site also triggers a "physical presence" in the state and requires authorization.

Just so you know, CAAHEP has assembled a chart that provides a "thumbnail" sketch of what the various states require in terms of both distance education and clinical placements.  Proceed at your own risk!