Authorization Status and Complaint Contacts

 

Authorization

According to Section 101(a)(2) of the Higher Education Act, an institution of higher education is an educational institution in any State legally authorized within the State to provide a program of education beyond secondary education (DOE, 2016). Moreover, each state establishes specific laws indicating under which conditions an institution's actions within the state (including by providing distance education) rise to the level of establishing physical presence thereby requiring authorization of an institution. 

USM is in an ongoing process of compliance relative to the regulations related to state authorization. 

For general questions about state authorization at the University of Southern Mississippi, please contact our Compliance Coordinator, Jennifer Lewis at @stateauthorizations@usm.edu or via phone 601-266-4469.

NOTE:

The Federal Government is in the process of proposing regulations that would specifically require that all institutions would need to become authorized in each state in which distance education or correspondence course are offered either by direct authorization or pursuant to a reciprocity agreement.

Authorization Options:

  • Functioning under an exception

  • Authorized with the authorization obtained directly from the State

  • Operating under a reciprocity agreement

DEFINITIONS:

Exceptions- Exceptions include:

  • no physical presence

  • public, accredited institutions

Reciprocity Agreement: 

Reciprocity agreements provide a means of allowing an institution to operate within a state or a US protectorate based on the specific terms of the reciprocity agreement. 

Functioning under a reciprocity agreement does not constitute a state's endorsement of USM's online courses or degree programs. Transfer of course/degree credit is determined by the receiving institution.

Protectorates:

  • American Samoa
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Guam
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Puerto Rico
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands
  • Republic of Palau
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

Meaning of Listed Statuses: 

  • SARA-USM can operate in each state listed as a SARA state under the terms provided by SARA, (National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements).  
  • Exempt- A state may be allowed to operate if there is an exemption based on certain factors such as being an accredited, public institution.
  • Assessment Pending-For each state in which neither reciprocity agreement provides USM with the ability to operate, USM must determine whether the specific definition within that state/protectorate requires us to become authorized if we are only providing distance education.  We are in the process of evaluating this as to each of the protectorates listed.

Additional Information:

 



 UNITED STATES and PROCTECTORATES

Click on the name of the state or protectorate as listed below to find information about authorization specific to that location:

 

A-I

K-M

O-W

 


ALABAMA

                           

Status:  Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Alabama Commission on Higher Education

PO Box 302000

Montgomery, AL 36130-2000

Complaint Form

 

ALASKA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary Education

PO Box 110505

Juneau, AK 99811-0505

Email:

or

Alaska Office of Attorney General

Consumer Protection Unit

1031 W. Fourth Avenue, Suite 200

Anchorage, AK 99501

Email

Email to Request a complaint form 

 

AMERICAN SAMOA

Status:  Evaluating authorization.  Have contacted agency. No students currently enrolled from this protectorate.

Reciprocity Agreement: None

For Complaints Contact:

P.O. Box 2609

Pago Pago, AS 96799-2609

 

ARIZONA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education

1400 W. Washington St., Room 260

Phoenix, AZ 85007

Complaint form

 

ARKANSAS

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Arkansas Department of Higher Education

114 East Capitol Ave.

Little Rock, AR 72201

Email

Complaint Form

 

 

CALIFORNIA

Status:  Exempt, as public institution.  No physical presence.

Reciprocity Agreement:  None

Additional Information:

Private postsecondary educational institution "means a private entity with a physical presence in this state" that offers postsecondary education to the public for an institutional charge. 

For Complaints Contact:

California Bureau of Private Post-Secondary Education

PO Box 980818

West Sacramento, CA  9798-0818

Email

Complaint Form

 

COLORADO

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Colorado Department of Higher Education

1560 Broadway Ste. 1600

Denver, CO  80202

Complaint Form

 

CONNECTICUT

Status:  Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Connecticut Department of Higher Education

61 Woodland St.

Hartford, CT  06105-2326

Email

Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection

165 Capitol Ave., Rm. 100

Hartford, CT 06106

(800) 842-2649

Email

Complaint Form

 

DELAWARE

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Delaware Higher Education Office

Carvel State Office Building, 5th Floor

820 N. French St.

Wilmington, DE 19801-3509

Email

Delaware Attorney General

Consumer Protection Wilmington

820 N. French Street, 5th Floor

Wilmington, DE 19801

Email


FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA

Status:  Authorization not required as no regulations, policies, or laws restrict US institutions from providing distance education to the citizens of FSM.

Reciprocity Agreement: None

For Complaints Contact:

FSM Department of Education

P.O. Box PS 87

Palikir, Pohnpei 96941

Phone: (691 320 2609)

Fax: (691 320 5500)

 

FLORIDA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

Send Complaints to:

Florida Commission on Independent Education

325 W. Gaines Street, Suite 1414

Tallahasse, FL  32399-0400

Email

Complaint Form

 

GEORGIA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission

2082 E Exchange Pl., #220

Tucker, GA  30084-5334

Complaint Page

 

GUAM

Status:  Authorization is not required as USM has no physical presence in Guam and is not required by the Guam Council  on Postsecondary Institution Certification to become approved prior to offering its programs to residents of Guam.  

Review the regulations.

Reciprocity Agreement: No

For Complaints Contact:

Guam Department of Higher Education

P.O. Box DE

Hagatna, Guam 96932

Complaint Form

 

HAWAII

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Hawaii State Board of Education

PO Box 2360

Honolulu, HI  96804

Email

Complaint Form

 

IDAHO

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Idaho State Board of Education

Attn: State Coordinator for Private Colleges and Proprietary Schools

650 W State Street

PO Box 83720

Boise, ID 83720-0037

Complaint Form

 

ILLINOIS

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Illinois Board of Higher Education

431 E Adams, 2nd Floor

Springfield, IL  62701-1404

Email

Illinois State Board of Education

100 N. 1st St.

Springfield, IL  62777

Complaint Form

Illinois Attorney General

Consumer Fraud Bureau

500 S Second St.

Springfield, IL  62706

Email

Complaint Form

 

INDIANA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

For Complaints Contact:

Reciprocity Agreement;  SARA

Indiana Commission on Proprietary Education

Attn: Director of Regulatory Compliance

302 W Washington St., Rm. E201

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Complaint Form

 

IOWA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Iowa Student Aid Commission

603 E 12th St., 5th Floor

Des Moines, IA 50319

Email

Complaint Form

 

KANSAS

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Kansas Board of Regents

1000 SW Jackson St., Ste. 520

Topeka, KS 66612-1368

Complaint Form

 

KENTUCKY

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education

1024 Capital Center Drive #320

Frankfort, KY  40601-7512

Request a Complaint form

  

Office of the Attorney General

Capitol Suite 118

700 Capitol Ave.

Frankfort, KY 40601-3449

Complaint Form

 

LOUISIANA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Louisiana Board of Regents

PO Box 3677

Baton Rouge, LA  70821-3677

Complaint Form

 

MAINE

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Maine Department of Education

Complaint Investigator

23 State House Station

Augusta, ME 04333-0023

Email

 

Maine Attorney General

Consumer Protection Division

6 State House Station

Augusta, ME  04333

Complaint Form

 

MARYLAND

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Maryland Higher Education Commission

839 Bestgate Rd., Ste. 400

Annapolis, MD 21401-3013

Complaint Form

 

Maryland Attorney General

Consumer Protection Division

200 St. Paul Pl.

Baltimore, MD 21202

(410) 528-8662

Email

Complaint Form

 

MASSACHUSETTS

Status: No physical presence.  Do not need to authorize in order to operate.

This state is in the process of joining SARA.

For Complaints Contact:

Massachusetts Board of Higher Education

One Ashburton Place, Rm. 1401

Boston, MA  02108

Complaint Form

 

MICHIGAN

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement. 

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth

Office of Postsecondary Services

Proprietary School Unit Staff

201 N. Washington Sq.

Lansing, MI 48913

Complaint Form

 

MINNESOTA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Minnesota Office of Higher Education

1450 Energy Park DR., Ste. 350

St. Paul, MN 55108-5227

Email

Minnesota Attorney General's Office

1400 Bremer Tower

445 Minnesota St.

St. Paul, MN 55101

Complaint Form



MISSISSIPPI

Status:  Authorized

For Complaints Contact:

Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation

3825 Ridgewood Rd.

Jackson, MS 39211-6453

Complaint Form

 

Consumer Protection Division

Office of the Attorney General

State of Mississippi

PO Box 22947

Jackson, MS 39225-2947

Email

Complaint Form

 

MISSOURI

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Missouri Department of Higher Education

205 Jefferson Street

PO Box 1469

Jefferson City, MO  65102-1469

Complaint Form

 

MONTANA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

Montana Board of Regents

Office of Commissioner of Higher Education

Montana University System

2500 Broadway St.

PO Box 203201

Helena, MT  59620-3201

 

Montana Office of Consumer Protection

2225 11th Avenue

PO Box 200151

Helena, MT 59620-0151

Email

Complaint Form

 

NEBRASKA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

PO Box 95005

Lincoln, NE 68509-5005

Complaint Form

 

Nebraska Department of Education

Investigations Office

301 S. Centennial Mall

PO Box 98987

Lincoln, NE 68509-4987

Complaint Form

 

Nebraska Attorney General

Consumer Protection Division

2115 State Capitol

Lincoln, NE 68509

(800) 727-6432

Complaint Form

 

NEVADA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education

3663 E Sunset Rd., Ste. 202

Las Vegas, NV 89120

 

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

New Hampshire Postsecondary Education Commission

3 Barrell Ct. #300

Concord, NH 03301-8531

Complaint Form

 

NEW JERSEY

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

New Jersey Commission on Higher Education

PO Box 542

Trenton, NJ 08625

Email

 

New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development

1 John Fitch Pl.

PO Box 110

Trenton, NJ 08625-0110

Email

Complaint Form

 

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs

124 Halsey St.

Newark, NJ 07102

Complaint Form

 

NEW MEXICO

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

New Mexico Higher Education Department

2048 Galisteo

Santa Fe, NM 87505

Complaint Form

 

NEW YORK

Status:  Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

New York Office of College and University Evaluation

New York State Education Department

5 N Mezzanine

Albany, NM 12234

Email

Complaint Form

 

New York State Department of State

Division of Consumer Protection

Consumer Assistance Unit

5 Empire State Plaza, Ste. 2101

Albany, NY 12223-1556

Complaint Form

 

NORTH CAROLINA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Post-Secondary Education Complaints,
University of North Carolina General Administration
910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688
Telephone (919) 962-4558

Complaint Form

 

North Carolina Consumer Protection

Attorney General's Office

Mail Service Center 9001

Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

Complaint Form

 

NORTH DAKOTA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement. 

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education

State Capitol-15th Floor

600 E Boulevard Ave., Dept. 270

Bismarck, ND 58505-0610

Email

 

North Dakota Consumer Protection Division

Office of Attorney General

Gateway Professional Center

1050 E Interstate Ave., Ste. 200

Bismarck, ND 58503-5574

Complaint

 

NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS

Status:  Do not need to authorize as confirmed by agency.  They do not regulate distance education.

Reciprocity Agreement: None

For Complaints Contact:

Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth

P.O. Box 501250

Saipan, MP 96950-1250

 

Office of the Attorney General

Administration Building

PO Box 10007

Saipan, MP 96950-8907

670-664-2341

 

OHIO

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools

35 E Gay St., Ste. 403

Columbus, OH 43215-31388

Complaint Form

 

Ohio Board of Regents

30 E Broad St., 36th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215-3414

 

Ohio Attorney General

Consumer Protection Section

30 E Broad St., 14th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215-3400

 

OKLAHOMA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education

655 Research Pky., Ste. 200

Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Complaint Form 

 

 

Oklahoma Office of Attorney General

Consumer Protection Unit

Attn: Investigative Analyst

313 NE 21st St.

Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Complaint Form

 

OREGON

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Oregon Office of Degree Authorization

1500 Valley River Dr., Ste. 100

Eugene, OR 97401

 

Oregon Department of Education

Private Career Schools Office

255 NE Capitol St.

Salem, OR 97310-0203

Complaint Form

 

Oregon Attorney General

Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section

1162 NE Court St.

Salem, OR 97301-4096

Complaint Form

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Status:  Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

 

For Complaints Contact:

Pennsylvania Department of Education

333 Market St.

Harrisburg, PA  17126-0333

 

Office of Attorney General

Bureau of Consumer Protection

Strawberry Square, 14th Floor

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Complaint Page

 

PUERTO RICO

Status: No physical presence triggered.  Distance education providers do not have to become authorized.  Puerto Rico is in the process of becoming part of SARA.

No students from Puero Rico currently enrolled.

Reciprocity Agreement:  None

For Complaints Contact:

Puerto Rico Council on Higher Education

PO Box 1900

San Juan, PR 00910-1900

General Website

Complaints Procedure

 

Puerto Rico Department of Justice

PO Box 9020192

San Juan, PR 00902-0192

 

REPUBLIC OF MARSHALL ISLANDS

Status:  Evaluating authorization.  Have contacted agency.  No students currently enrolled from this protectorate.

Reciprocity Agreement: None 

 

For Complaints Contact:

RMI Scholarship and Loan Board

P.O. Box 1436

Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960

 

REPUBLIC OF PALAU

Status:  Evaluating authorization. No students from this protectorate currently enrolled.

Reciprocity Agreement: None

For Complaints Contact:

Ministry of Education

P.O. Box 189

Koror, Palau PW  96940

 

RHODE ISLAND

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education

Shepard building

80 Washington St.

Providence, RI 02903

 

Rhode Island Department of Attorney General

Consumer Protection Unit

150 S Main St.

Providence, RI 02903

Complaint Form

Memo regarding Complaints

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

South Carolina Commission on Higher Education

1333 Main St., Ste. 200

Columbia, SC 29201

Complaint Form

 

South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs

Email

Complaint Form

SOUTH DAKOTA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

 

 

For Complaints Contact:

South Dakota Board of Regents

306 E Capitol Ave., Ste. 200

Pierre, SD 57501-2545


South Dakota Office of Attorney General

Division of Consumer Protection

1302 E Hwy 14, Ste. 3

Pierre, SD 57501-8053

Complaint Form

 

TENNESSEE

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Tennessee Higher Education Commission

404 James Robertson Pkwy., Ste. 1900

Nashville, TN 37243

Complaint Form

 

TEXAS

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

 

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

1200 E Anderson Ln.

Austin, TX 78752

 

Office of the Attorney General

Consumer Protection Division

PO Box 12548

Austin, TX 78711-2548

Complaint Form

US VIRGIN ISLANDS

Status: Exempt as an institution accredited by an accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Reciprocity Agreement:  None


For Complaints Contact:

Government of the United States Virgin Islands

Department of Education, Office of the Commissioner

1834 Kogens Gade

St. Thomas, VI 00802

 

 

UTAH

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA


For Complaints Contact:

Utah Division of Consumer Protection

160 E 300 South

Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Email

Complaint Form

 

VERMONT

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA


For Complaints Contact:

Vermont Department of Education

State Board of Education

120 State St.

Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

Email

 

Vermont Attorney General's Office

109 State St.

Montpelier, VT 05609-1001

Email

VIRGINIA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA


For Complaints Contact:

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

101 N 14th St.

James Monroe Building

Richmond, VA 23219

Complaint Form

 

WASHINGTON

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board

917 Lakeridge Way

PO Box 43430

Olympia, WA  98504-3430

Email

Complaint Form

 

Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board

128 SW 10th Ave.

PO Box 43105

Olympia, WA 98504-3105

Email

Complaint Form

 

Washington State Office of the Attorney General

1125 SE Washington St.

PO Box 40100

Olympia, WA 98504-0100

Email

Complaint Form

 

WASHINGTON D.C.

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA


For Complaints Contact:

District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education

Education Licensure Commission

810 NE First St., 9th Floor

Washington, DC 20002

Complaint Form

 

District of Columbia Attorney General

441 4th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20001

Email

Complaint

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement:  SARA


For Complaints Contact:

West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission

1018 E Kanawha Blvd., Ste. 700

Charleston, WV 25301-2800

 

Community and Technical College System of West Virginia

1018 E Kanawha Blvd., Ste. 700

Charleston, WV 25301

 

West Virginia Office of Attorney General

Consumer Protection Division

PO Box 1789

Charleston, WV 25326-1789

Complaint Form

 

WISCONSIN

Status: Able to operate pursuant to a reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA


For Complaints Contact:

Wisconsin Educational Approval Board

30 W Miffin St., 9th Floor

PO Box 8696

Madison, WI 53708

Email

Student Complaint Form

 

 

WYOMING

Status: Able to operate pursuant to reciprocity agreement.

Reciprocity Agreement: SARA

For Complaints Contact:

Wyoming Department of Education

2300 Capitol Ave.

Hathaway Building, 2nd Floor

Cheyenne, WY 82002-0050

 

Attorney General's Office

123 Capitol Building

200 W 24th St.

Cheyenne, WY 82002