State Authorization for Bloomsburg University

State Authorization for Bloomsburg University

The mission of the Office of the Institutional Compliance Program Coordinator is to gain and maintain state-required authorizations for student activity in states other than Pennsylvania while coordinating communication and education intended to ensure Bloomsburg University faculty, staff, and student awareness of pertinent state and federal laws, as well as reciprocity agreement requirements, with the critical goals of protecting students’ well being and preserving program integrity.

Fall 2018 State Authorization FAQ
Student Field Experience Location Tracking and Reporting Requirements
BU’s State Authorization Annual Calendar
BU’s Comprehensive System for Authorization of Distance Education and Field Experiences


The two areas that State Authorization directly affects are online programs and field experiences. Due to federal and state regulations, all universities offering online courses, online degrees, and face-to-face activities such as internships in states other than their own must meet the unique State Authorization requirements and regulations of those states. Please contact Jessica Heid, Bloomsburg University’s Institutional Compliance Program Coordinator, at jheid@bloomu.edu with any State Authorization questions or concerns.

If I don’t live in Pennsylvania, may I take online courses from Bloomsburg University?

If you are a resident of a US state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands, you may take any Bloomsburg University online courses or programs that do not lead to professional licensure or certification. If you are interested in a course or program leading to professional licensure or certification, please see the “Professional Licensure/Certification” section below for important details that pertain to you.

If I am a Bloomsburg University student, where may I complete a field experience such as an internship?

If you are a Bloomsburg University student, you may participate in a field experience in any state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands, as long as the field experience is associated with a BU course or program that does not lead to professional licensure or certification. For a program leading to a professional license or certification (please see “Professional Licensure/Certification” section below), authorization may or may not be required from the state licensing agency prior to beginning a clinical or field experience in a state other than Pennsylvania.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

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The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. Its intention is to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. It also allows students to participate in non-licensure program field experiences in other SARA-member states.

Bloomsburg University was approved as a SARA-member institution in 2017. By participating in SARA, BU is able to operate in all other SARA states and territories. Currently, 49 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands are members of SARA. Visit http://www.nc-sara.org/ for more information. Please note that SARA does not cover professional licensure/certification issues (see below).
California is not a participating member of SARA; however, BU is still able to offer online education and field experiences in California because we do not meet the criteria that would require authorization.

Please note that Colorado, although a SARA state, requires students participating in all paid and unpaid field experiences except student teaching to have workers’ compensation insurance. Bloomsburg University is not currently providing this for students.

Professional Licensure/Certification

Each state has different standards for occupations that require a professional license or certification such as P-12 teaching, nursing, and social work. State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) membership does not include reciprocity with other states for their licensure/certification requirements. Bloomsburg University’s programs that are designed to meet PA licensure/certification eligibility requirements may not meet the requirements for a license or certification in another state. Also, if a student moves to a different state for any reason while participating in a program, professional licensure or certification eligibility requirements may differ and the BU program may or may not meet those requirements.

Please view Bloomsburg University’s list of licensure/certification-track programs (pdf).

Important Note for Prospective Students: If you are considering seeking professional licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania after completing a Bloomsburg University program, it is highly recommended that you contact the appropriate licensing agency according to program and state of interest to receive guidance on licensing requirements before beginning the program. Contact information may be found by clicking on the appropriate link below.

Accounting
ASL/Interpreting for the Deaf
Audiology
Clinical Athletic Training
Education/Business Education/Music Education
Engineering Tech
Geology - Professional Geologist Track
Health Physics
Instructional Technology Specialist - for PDE certification only
Medical Imaging - Radiography and Nuclear Medicine
Medical Imaging - Sonography and Invasive Cardiovascular
Medical Lab Sciences
Nursing - BSN
Nursing - MSN
• Psychology
Social Work
Speech-Language Pathology

You may also contact jheid@bloomu.edu for assistance.

Licensure/Certification Decision Flowchart (pdf)

International Students

It is highly recommended that international students considering an online or on-campus academic program leading to professional licensure or certification first confirm with the applicable professional licensing entity in their country of residence and/or country in which they intend to work as to whether the BU program/degree is formally recognized. This includes, but is not limited to, when seeking licensure, certification, certain types of employment, and/or when enrolling in subsequent educational programs.

Out-of-State Distance Education Student Complaint Process

Bloomsburg University strives to provide the highest quality educational programs available but recognizes the importance of providing an opportunity for students to make an appeal if a conflict does arise. As a SARA participating institution, BU has agreed to abide by the SARA student complaint process for distance education student complaints not related to grades or conduct. (Student complaints regarding grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by institutional policy and Pennsylvania laws, not through the state portal agency.)

Distance Education students residing outside of Pennsylvania who have a grievance, complaint, or concern should attempt to resolve the issue internally in accordance with BU PRP 3592. Students who are unable to resolve the issue through the faculty member, department chair, and/or the dean may submit a complaint in writing via email to Mr. Tom Fletcher, Vice President, Strategic Enrollment Management and Director of Distance Education at tfletche@bloomu.edu.

Please note that grievances, complaints, or concerns submitted via this process with regard to a particular course, program or department may be forwarded and discussed with the faculty member, department, or academic dean for resolution.

Distance Education students who are unable to resolve the issue internally may contact the SARA portal agency of Pennsylvania within two years of the incident regarding the complaint. The PA portal agency will collaborate with the SARA portal agency of the state where the student is located to resolve the issue.

All other current, former, or prospective students who feel that their grievances, complaints, or concerns cannot be resolved by the University in accordance with PRP 3592and the resources provided by the Dean of Students may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System) by completing in its entirety the Student Complaint Form.

Information regarding the PASSHE Student Complaint Process may be found at: www.passhe.edu/studentcomplaints

Complaints not resolved at the State System level may be appealed to the University’s accreditor, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) according to the MSCHE complaint process.

If you have any questions or need additional information regarding the distance education student complaint process, contact Mr. Tom Fletcher, Vice President, Strategic Enrollment Management and Director of Distance Education at tfletche@bloomu.edu or (570) 389-5161.

Please visit the complaints and grievances page for additional student complaint information.