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.

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.
 

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

SARA Logo

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.

Due to Colorado regulations regarding workers’ compensation, only paid field experiences are permitted.

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.

Roongo Statue by Carver Hall

Contacts

State Authorization
Institutional Compliance Program Coordinator

Jessica Heid, jheid@bloomu.edu
570-389-3862

Complaint Process
Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management

Tom Fletcher, tfletche@bloomu.edu
570-389-5161

Resources

BU’s Comprehensive System for Authorization of Distance Education and Field Experiences (pdf)
BU’s State Authorization Annual Calendar (pdf)
Licensure/Certification Decision Flowchart (pdf)
Out-of-State Field Experience Reporting Requirements (png)
State Authorization FAQ (pdf)

At this time, Bloomsburg University has not determined whether completion of its programs meets educational requirements to sit for an exam or for licensure or certification eligibility in states other than Pennsylvania. BU's programs that lead to professional licensure or certification are advertised as meeting Pennsylvania's educational requirements for eligibility. 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. State board contact information (Excel).

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.

BU Definition of Student Location & Procedure for Determination

An institution must make a determination, in accordance with the institution’s policies or procedures, regarding the state in which a student is located, which must be applied consistently to all students. (34 CFR § 600.9(c)(2))

The difference between “location” and “residence” plays an important role in Bloomsburg University maintaining compliance with a number of regulations. “Location” is where a student is physically situated while participating in a University course of study. “Residence” applies to the state where a student votes and/or holds a driver’s license.

Bloomsburg University student location is initially determined by the information provided by the student at the time of enrollment. Student location is updated upon formal receipt of information from the student by the University that the student’s location has changed to another state. Student location may be changed through these University processes:

• Update physical location information once each semester through the location to-do list item in your MyHusky Student Center
• Make subsequent updates throughout a semester by contacting the Institutional Compliance Program Coordinator at jheid@bloomu.edu.

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. California is not a SARA-member state at this time. A student participating in distance education while located in California should appeal to the appropriate agency specified in the "Student Complaint Information by State and Agency" document. 

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 3592 and 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.

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