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Two Entities Join NC-SARA

Massachusetts and Puerto Rico have recently joined the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). The recent additions have increased the number of states and U.S. territories in which the University of Missouri-Kansas City can enroll students in to some or all distance education programs to 53. As of publication, authorization from the Puerto Rico Board of Nursing had not been received so enrollment of students into distance education programs in the School of Nursing & Health Studies must be paused.

Students may also engage in learning placements (field experiences, internships, clinical practicum, rounds, etc.) in the two additional locations. Stipulations do apply: Only 10 students per location per program at one time. The rule regarding learning placements includes all students from UMKC, not just those enrolled in a distance education program.

Federal Regulations Delayed

On July 3, 2018, the Department of Education announced a two-year delay of a portion of the 2016 Federal Regulations. A negotiated rulemaking committee will convene to discuss and, if necessary, revise the federal regulations. The Secretary is delaying the effective date of selected provisions of the 2016 final regulations based on concerns recently raised by regulated parties to ensure that there is adequate time to conduct negotiated rulemaking to reconsider selected provisions of 2016 final regulations and, as necessary, develop revised regulations, according to the Office of the Federal Register.

The following provisions are delayed until July 1, 2020:

  • 34 CFR 600.2: Definitions—State authorization reciprocity agreement
    • During the commenting period, several requested clarification on the term “consumer protection laws” under the definition of a state authorization reciprocity agreement, according to the Office of the Federal Register.
    • 34 CFR 600.9 (C): State authorization for distance education or correspondence courses.
    • 34 CFR 668.50: Institutional Disclosures for distance or correspondence programs.

The regulations regarding foreign locations (34 CFR 600.9(d) ) was not delayed. If an institution has an actual physical location (where at least 50% of an educational program is offered) or branch campus (a special instance of a location that is “independent” of the main campus) in a foreign country. This does not apply where only distance education courses and programs are offered by an institution in the U.S. to individuals in other countries. Nor does it apply if an institution is engaged in a partnership with a foreign institution to offer students international educational experiences.

The Office of the Federal Register believes that delaying the effective date of selected provisions of the 2016 final regulations will benefit students.

In a recent WCET Frontiers blog, Cheryl Dowd, State Authorization Network Director, and Russ Poulin, WCET Policy & Analysis Director, urged institutions to understand that compliance for out-of-state activities of the institution must be maintained. While the federal regulations have been delayed until 2020, institutions must remain in compliance for out-of-state activities, including:

  • State regulations—including professional licensure program authorization.
  • NC-SARA requirements (provided the institution participates in NC-SARA).
  • Federal current regulations that are currently in effect:
    • 34 CFR 43(b): Institutional Information (Student Complaint location, cost of attending the university, etc.);
    • 34 CFR 71 and 34 CFR 668.72(c) (2): Misrepresentation—with specific language about professional licensure
    • 34 CFR 17(g)(2): Application of standards in reaching an accrediting decision—At registration or enrollment, in writing, notify students of any projected additional student charges (example: proctoring).
    • Department of Defense Memorandum of Understanding—Tuition Assistance Program for active duty military students.

For more information, please contact the State Authorization Coordinator. To view UMKC’s state authorization status, please review the State Authorization web site.