Online and Distance Education is an important part of Fort Hays State University's (FHSU) program offerings, with many students participating in federal financial aid. Recent amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 include changes in regulation for State Authorization that may impact online, distance, and correspondence education providers.
In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education issued a regulation tying an institution's ability to offer federal financial aid in a state to the institution being authorized in the student's state. The regulation was subsequently "vacated" by federal court ruling and is not currently being enforced. However, FHSU is still working to comply with state policies for distance education. The relevant language includes:
If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request. State Authorization Regulation Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)
FHSU is working with state agencies to comply with required authorizations so that we can continue to provide educational access to students across the country. The requirements as to which educational activities require authorization vary from state-to-state.