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Federal Regulation on State Authorization of Distance Education

Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act in October 2010 included regulations regarding the delivery of distance education to out-of-state residents. The United States Department of Education (USDOE) requires that institutions comply with any applicable state approval or licensure requirements in each state to which distance education instruction is delivered. Institutions must only seek approval to operate in states that regulate distance education. Additionally, institutions must provide current and prospective students with contact information for filing complaints with its accrediting body and the appropriate state agency for handling complaints in a student's state. Southern Oregon University offers the following information in compliance with USDOE regulations.

SOU is a party to the national State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA establishes comparable national standards for offering distance education courses and programs between states. The program is overseen by a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts. SOU's participation is administered by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

Southern Oregon University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), an independent non-profit regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. SOU is authorized by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education to offer degrees and certificates in on-campus and distance education programs. If you have a complaint about SOU's distance education programs, please contact the appropriate authority in your state. A list of state contacts is maintained by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Students should attempt to resolve any grievances they may have with their school before contacting another agency. Should attempts to resolve these problems with appropriate school officials fail, or should the student be dissatisfied with the final outcome of the college complaint process, then the Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), can respond to a formal complaint. Students may contact the Higher Education Coordinating Commission by mail at 3225 25th St. SE, Salem, OR 97302 or email Concerns may also be reported at the HECC Complaints web page, at NWCCU or at NC-SARA.