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State Authorization 

On October 29, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) published final regulations addressing program integrity and student aid programs. The regulations created rules and definitions covering a wide range of issues affecting colleges and universities as well as state higher education agencies. Most notably, a state authorization regulation, which is detailed in 600.9 of Title 34, U.S. Code, was established to strengthen consumer protection and increase institutional accountability. As a result of this regulation, to maintain eligibility to award federal financial aid, a higher education institution must obtain authorization in each state in which it is physically located.

To ensure students attending private degree-granting institutions and out-of-state public degree-granting institutions that operate in Oklahoma do not unnecessarily lose their federal financial aid, Senate Bill 1157, which was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin on April 26, 2016, established the statutory basis for a state authorization process. As a result of this legislation, which is effective Nov. 1, 2016, private degree-granting institutions and out-of-state public degree-granting institutions that operate in Oklahoma are required to comply with a state authorization policy provision that is established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. Furthermore, in an effort to meet the intent of the federal regulation, Senate Bill 1157 limits the scope of the State Regents’ policy provision to a complaint process, standards for operation, stipulations for a written enrollment agreement between the institution and the student, and reporting requirements.

A copy of the State Regents Institutional Accreditation and State Authorization policy be accessed at www.okhighered.org/pdf/3.1-policy-survey.pdf (PDF, 44k).

If you have any questions about state authorization, contact Daniel Archer, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs at darcher@osrhe.edu.