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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

Guidelines

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)

2018 Edition of the Principles of Accreditation: Foundation for Quality Enhancement (adopted December 2017 and effective January 1, 2018)

2. National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)

As stated on the NC-SARA site, “The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, commonly known as SARA, provides a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education....SARA’s policies help protect students and provide benefits to both states and institutions carrying out distance education in multiple states.”  Georgia Highlands College maintains SARA institutional membership through the State Portal of the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC).

NC-SARA Manual and Handbooks

Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education

NC-SARA Data Reports

 

3. Federal Financial Aid Requirements as expressed in Title 34, Section 600 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (ECFR)

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.

Go to the ECFR PART 600—INSTITUTIONAL ELIGIBILITY UNDER THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF 1965, AS AMENDED

ECFR Part 600 Contents Related to GHC.

Subpart A—General

§600.1   Scope.
§600.2   Definitions.
§600.4   Institution of higher education.
§600.5   Proprietary institution of higher education.
§600.6   Postsecondary vocational institution.
§600.7   Conditions of institutional ineligibility.
§600.8   Treatment of a branch campus.
§600.9   State authorization.
§600.10   Date, extent, duration, and consequence of eligibility.
§600.11   Special rules regarding institutional accreditation or preaccreditation.

Subpart B—Procedures for Establishing Eligibility

§600.20   Notice and application procedures for establishing, reestablishing, maintaining, or expanding institutional eligibility and certification.
§600.21   Updating application information.

PART 668—STUDENT ASSISTANCE GENERAL PROVISIONS

Subpart F -Misrepresentaion

Contents
§668.71   Scope and special definitions.
§668.72   Nature of educational program.
§668.73   Nature of financial charges.
§668.74   Employability of graduates.

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

Below are links to documents related to accessibility requirements

Section 508 itself as amended in 1998

U.S. Government’s official Section 508 site

http://www.section508.gov/

WebAIM’s Section 508 checklist

http://webaim.org/standards/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

http://www.usg.edu/academic_programs/external