IN THE NEWS
Senate Bill 191, An Act to provide for authorization to offer postsecondary education services in South Dakota addresses the authorization process to offer postsecondary education services in South Dakota. On Oct. 29, 2010, the USDOE (United States Department of Education) released new “program integrity” regulations focused on the need for institutions offering distance or correspondence education to acquire authorization from any state in which it “operates”. This is required to maintain eligibility for students of that state to receive federal financial aid. Simply defined as:
*No postsecondary institution may provide educational programs at physical locations in this state unless it has been issued a certificate of authorization from the Secretary of State
*No postsecondary institution may publicize the availability in this state of programs unless it has been issued a certificate of authorization from the Secretary of State
*The Secretary of State will issue a certificate of authorization to the mentioned postsecondary institutions upon application
*If any institution changes its name or the physical location of any campus, the institutions must notify the Secretary of State in writing within 30 day
*Approve institutions to “operate” in the state according to their own regulations.
*Upon request of the USDOE, provide a list of institutions approved to operate in the state by name.
*Maintain a third-party process to review and address complaints from students attending institutions approved to operate in that state.
Comply with any applicable state approval or license requirements in each state in which it “operates” and be approved by that state by name and provide its students and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accrediting agency and with the appropriate state agency.
“Operate” - This varies greatly from state-to-state. For some states, no institutions will need to apply, but for a small number of states, almost every institution will need to apply. In the majority of states, the need to seek authorization depends on the combination of that state's laws and the activities that the institution is conducting in that state.
“Good Faith Effort” - The USDOE will not limit distance education activities before July 1, 2014, so long as the institution is ‘making good faith efforts to obtain necessary state authorizations before that date. The extensions apply only to the state in which the institution is located. For distance and correspondence education, institutions must follow the regulations of each state in which it 'operates'. Guidelines for a “good faith” effort include, but not limited to:
*Documentation that an institution is developing a distance education management process for tracking students’ place of residence when engaged in distance education
*Documentation that an institution has contacted a State directly to discuss programs the institution is providing to students in that State to determine whether authorization is needed
*An application to a State, even if it is not yet approved
*Documentation from a State that an application is pending
*Original deadline was July 1, 2011, for institutions to have received full authorization in all states in which it operates
*On March 17, 2011, the DOE extended the deadline to July 1, 2012
*On April 20, 2011, extended deadline once again to July 1, 2014
South Dakota Secretary of State form is now complete and available by clicking on the Application Icon.
The provisions of this Act do not apply to postsecondary institutions:
*Established by the government of the United States
*Established by the government of an Indian tribe whose tribal lands are located, in whole or in part, in this state
*Established or owned, controlled, operated, and maintained by a religious organization lawfully operating as a nonprofit religious corporation and awarding only religious degrees or certificates for the purpose of conferring clerical status or authority within that religion
*Subject to the jurisdiction and regulations to the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission.
This webpage is only for informative purposes and not a substitute for legal advice.