Serving statewide coordinating and governing boards in developing and sustaining excellent systems of higher education.
State Authorization Survey, Directory, and Resources

SHEEO State Authorization Survey

In Fall 2010, the U.S. Department of Education announced “program integrity rules,” requiring all institutions of higher education participating in Title IV programs to be able to document compliance with state laws in all states where they offer distance or correspondence education.

While the federal state authorization rule pertaining to distance education was vacated on a technicality on July 12, 2011, it is likely to be reinstated. More importantly, the Department has rightly indicated that compliance with existing state laws has always been a condition of Title IV eligibility, and the announced regulation simply calls attention to the need for institutions to assure they have legal authority to operate in all the states where they are providing instruction.

To help address this need, SHEEO, the national association of state higher education executive officers, has developed a directory of agencies and individuals responsible for implementing state quality assurance laws as well as a compendium of state laws and regulations. These resources were developed in close cooperation with NCHEMS, the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, whose Vice President Peter Ewell has led previous surveys of state regulatory practices for postsecondary instruction and the cooperative relationships of states with accrediting associations.

The completed directory of state regulatory agencies and compendium of state laws and regulatory practices, as of June 2012, are posted below. SHEEO plans to update this information regularly through a formal biannual request for updates to each of the listed agencies.

We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of our colleagues in the state agencies who have provided this information, and the members and organizations represented on the SHEEO State Authorization Advisory Board who have contributed generously to this project.

For more information please contact Sharmila Mann at 303-541-1602 (

Survey Resources

Survey Results, by state - including contact information for each agency

Compendium of State Laws and Regulatory Practices Survey Development

Additional SHEEO Resources

Articles Webinars Blog Posts

Additional Resources on State Authorization

SHEEO staff have gathered resources on several additional aspects of State Authorization – Webinars, Federal Regulations, Reciprocity, Distance Education, and Accreditation – and created the following page of annotated links to allow consolidated access to this set of information:

The Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education

Former U. S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley and 20 other leaders have been invited to explore the regulation of postsecondary distance education on a new national commission organized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). The Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education will invite testimony and information, and develop recommendations, to address the regulatory costs and inefficiencies faced by postsecondary institutions that must comply with multiple and often inconsistent state laws and regulations when providing educational opportunities in multiple state jurisdictions.

APLU, SHEEO, Education Counsel and many others collaborated in organizing the Commission in order to provide a setting for all the interested parties to consider the issues and make practical recommendations that might be widely adopted. APLU President Peter McPherson and SHEEO President Paul Lingenfelter will both serve on the Commission and will assist Secretary Riley in leading its work.

Press Release Announcing Formation of Commission (May 23, 2012)

Mission and Scope of Work

Commission Membership

Court Decision on Career College v. Duncan (June 5, 2012) Commission Meetings Commission Resources