State Authorization for Online/Distance Education


Recent amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 include changes in regulation for State Authorization that may impact online, distance, and print-based education providers. The related regulations include: If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1001 and 1002)

Effective March 1, 2019, Cal Poly is unable to accept new applications for admissions to online/distance programs and courses from students residing in the following locations: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

Please note: online/distance course registrations from students residing in states not listed above may also be subject to review based on the ongoing changes in distance education regulations.

Please note: Cal Poly is registered in Maryland and Maryland students are eligible to apply.

What Cal Poly is Doing

California is not a member of NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreements) which establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary online/distance education courses and programs. Cal Poly is working to evaluate and comply with these changes and is in the process of applying for the authorization in several states.

Prospective Students Please Read:

Program availability varies by state. If Cal Poly cannot currently provide online/distance education in your state, please check back each quarter as the information may change. Admission is granted at the time of initial acceptance into a program and is dependent on program availability in a state where the applicant resides at the time of admission. If a student moves to a state other than the state where the applicant resided when accepted into the program, continuation in the program will depend on the availability of the program within the new state of residence. It is the applicant's responsibility to notify the institution of a change in residence (new state).

CSU Student Internal Complaint Process and Contact Info

Pursuant to the United States Department of Education's Program Integrity Rule, each institution of higher education is required to provide all prospective and current students with the contact information for the state agency or agencies that handle complaints against postsecondary education institutions offering distance learning within that state. Students are encouraged to utilize California State University's internal complaint or review policies and procedures prior to filing a complaint with a state agency. For a copy of the CSU internal complaints process, visit CSU Accreditation and State Authorization. Should the student wish to file a complaint in their home state please select the state contact from the Consumer Protection State Contacts List to file a complaint directly in their state.

Attention Maryland students

The institution is subject to investigation of complaints by the Office of the Attorney General or the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Complaints should be directed to:

Maryland Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
200 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
PHONE NUMBER: 410-528-8662 / 888-743-0823 (toll free)

Attention New Mexico students

Student complaints or grievances, please contact:

New Mexico Higher Education Department
2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4
Santa Fe, NM 87505
PHONE NUMBER: 505-476-8400

Attention Oregon students

Students should attempt to resolve any grievances they may have with their school first. 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, 3225 25th St. SE, Salem, OR 97302 or by sending an email to Students may also reference the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, Student Complaints site.