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Accrediting and Regulatory Standards for Distance Education

1. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Policy Statements

Distance and Correspondence Education


Addressing Distance and Correspondence Education

"A Guide for Evaluators Charged with Reviewing Distance and Correspondence Education"

Best Practices

Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs

Developing Policy and Procedure Documents

Resource Manual (all SACSCOC standards)


2. Federal Financial Aid Requirements as expressed in Title 34, Section 600 of the Code of Federal Regulations

Section 600 provides regulations for institutions of higher education that wish to quality for or remain qualified for Title IV financial aid funds.  An institution may become ineligible for Title IV funds if more than 50 percent of its courses are “correspondence courses” as defined in that section.  The definitions contained in sub-section 600.2 state that a key difference between distance education courses and correspondence courses is “regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously” required in distance education courses. The same language appears in SACSCOC best practices as well.


3. Accessibility Requirements expressed in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended in 1998

Section 508 itself as amended in 1998

U.S. Government's official Section 508 site

WebAIM's Section 508 checklist

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Standards from the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C)


4. USG Resources and Requirements

External Programs: Off-Campus & Distance Learning Delivery