Update the rule for consistency, including modification to forms and to address subjects identified during the annual review of the operation and effect of the rule.  

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    DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

    Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education Coordinating Council

    RULE NOS.:RULE TITLES:

    6N-1.001Definition of Terms

    6N-1.002Approval of In-State Institutions to Participate in NC-SARA

    6N-1.003Provisional Approval

    6N-1.004Annual Renewal of Approval of In-State Institutions to Participate in Florida's Reciprocity Agreement

    PURPOSE AND EFFECT: Update the rule for consistency, including modification to forms and to address subjects identified during the annual review of the operation and effect of the rule.

    SUBJECT AREA TO BE ADDRESSED: The changes reflect updates to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) Manual that have recently been released. The amendments will modify the NC-SARA institutional applications and further define the SARA requirements for the allowing assignment of provisional status.

    RULEMAKING AUTHORITY: 1000.35(10), FS.

    LAW IMPLEMENTED: 1000.35(3), (5)-(7), FS.

    A RULE DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP WILL BE HELD AT THE DATE, TIME AND PLACE SHOWN BELOW:

    DATE AND TIME: September 30, 2019, 1:00 p.m.

    PLACE: Turlington Building, Room 1703, 325 West Gaines Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399

    Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 5 days before the workshop/meeting by contacting: Karl Washington

    The Council Office at Commission for Independent Education, 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).

    THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT AND A COPY OF THE PRELIMINARY DRAFT, IF AVAILABLE, IS: Karl Washington

    The Council Office at Commission for Independent Education, 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400

     

    THE PRELIMINARY TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULE DEVELOPMENT IS:

     

    THE FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULE IS:

     

    6N-1.001 Definition of Terms.

    Terms used in these rules are defined in section 1000.35, F.S.

    (1) “Accredited” means holding institutional accreditation by name as a U.S.-based institution from an accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    (2) “Council” means the Postsecondary Reciprocal Distance Education Coordinating Council.

    (3) “C-RAC guidelines” mean the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education adopted by the Council of

    Regional Accrediting Commissions.

    (4) “Distance Education” means instruction offered by any means where the student and faculty member are in separate physical locations, including, but not limited to, online, interactive video, or correspondence courses or programs.

    (5) “In-State institution” means an institution of higher education that holds its legal domicile in the State.

    (6) “Investigation” means any governmental action taken by an agency under the authority of the State of Florida.

    (7)(6) “Member institution” means a postsecondary educational institution approved by the Council to participate in a reciprocity agreement.

    (8)(7) “National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement” or “NC-SARA” means the national organization that administers the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

    (9)(8)“State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement” or “SARA” means the agreement specifying procedures and conditions for reciprocal recognition of institutions approved to provide distance education by states that are members of NC-SARA.

    (10)(9) “Student” means the recipient or intended recipient of postsecondary educational activities as provided under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

     

    6N-1.002 Approval of In-State Institutions to Participate in NC-SARA.

    (1) An in-State institution seeking approval to participate in SARA shall submit an application to the Council on Form 1000,

    Application and Approval Form for Institutional Participation in SARA (http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref08707), effective August 2019 October 2017 This form is incorporated by reference and may be obtained without cost from the Council’s website at www.flsara.org or by writing to the Commission for Independent Education at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400.

    (2) The Council shall, upon receipt of an in-State institution’s complete application to participate in NC-SARA, approve the application if:

    (a) The applicant is an in-State institution authorized to operate in Florida pursuant to law;

    (b) If a private institution, an audited financial statement showing the financial responsibility composite score;

    (c) The applicant is accredited;

    (d) The institution, if it participates in federal Title IV financial aid, and has a federal financial responsibility rating of at least

    1.5; or has a federal financial responsibility composite score of 1.0 to 1.5, and the Council has determined, upon examination of additional financial information, that either the institution has sufficient financial strength for state authorization or that the score between 1.0 and 1.5 results from an accounting error or the misapplication of General Accepted Accounting Standards in calculating the score. This alternative shall only be available for two (2) consecutive years. An institution whose composite score remains below

    1.5 for three (3) years or longer shall no longer be eligible for participation in SARA;

    (e) The institution, if it does not participate in federal Title IV financial aid, would, in the determination of the Council, have a federal financial responsibility rating of at least 1.5, or, with justification deemed acceptable by the Council, at least 1.0; and,

    (f) The institution makes its state authorization-related complaint policies and procedures readily available to students, and informs students that they may appeal state authorization-related complaints to the Council pursuant to rule 6N-1.006, F.A.C.

    (g) For any course or program potentially leading to professional licensure: the institution notifies students and potential students that the course or program meets the licensing requirements of the state where the students or potential students reside; or the institution notifies students and potential students that it cannot confirm whether the course or program meets the licensing requirements of the state where the students or potential students reside, provides students and potential students with current contact information for applicable licensing boards, and advises students and potential students to determine whether the course or program meets state licensing requirements;

    (h) The provisional approval criteria in rule 6N-1.003, F.A.C., do not apply; and,

    (i) The applicant has paid the fee required in rule 6N-1.005, F.A.C.

    Rulemaking Authority 1000.35(10) FS. Law Implemented 1000.35(3), (5)-(7) FS. History–New 10-17-17.

     

    6N-1.003 Provisional Approval.

    (1) The Council shall, upon receipt of an in-State institution’s complete application to participate in SARA, approve the institution to participate in SARA on a provisional status if the institution meets one of the following the requirements of this rule chapter, but if:

    (a) The Institution is on provisional or probationary status or the equivalent with its institutional Accrediting Agency; Is on probationary status or the equivalent with its institutional accrediting association;

    (b) The Institution is currently required by the U.S. Department of Education to post a letter of credit or is under a cash management agreement with the U.S. Department of Education (Such institutions must still have a Federal Financial Responsibility Composite Score of 1.0 or above.); Uses a letter of credit or is under a cash management agreement with the U.S. Department of Education;

    (c) The Institution has a Federal Financial Responsibility Composite Score between 1.0 and 1.5; Is the subject of a publicly announced investigation by a government agency, and the investigation is related to the institution’s academic quality, financial stability, or student consumer protection, or

    (d) The Institution is the subject of a publicly announced investigation by a government agency, and the investigation is related to the institution’s academic quality, financial stability or student consumer protection; Is the subject of an investigation by the State related to the institution’s academic quality, financial stability, or student consumer protection.

    (e) The Institution is the subject of a current investigation by its Home State relating to the institution’s academic quality, financial stability or student consumer protection;

    (f) However, a third-party action such as a private lawsuit or news story does not by itself establish a government investigation. If such a third-party event results in an investigation by a government agency as set forth in subsections d and e above, these subsections become applicable. Lawsuits by government entities are considered to have resulted from a governmental investigation and can be the basis of a determination of Provisional Status.

    (2) Terms and Length of Provisional Status.

    (a) An in-State institution approved to participate in SARA on provisional status shall meet any requirements the Council deems necessary to ensure state authorization standards are met regarding program quality, financial stability, and consumer protection.

    (b) The length of the provisional status of an in-State institution approved to participate in SARA shall be determined by the Council and may not exceed one (1) year.

    (3) Provisional status of an institution between renewal periods. The Council may place an institution on provisional status at any time if the institution is subject to any conditions set forth in subsection (1) of this rule or if the institution’s financial composite score falls between a 1.0 and 1.5.

    (4) Application for Removal of Provisional Status.

    (a) If an in-State institution approved to participate in SARA on provisional status no longer meets the provisional status criteria set forth in subsection (1), of this rule, it may submit a written request to the Council for removal of its provisional status designation and approval as a SARA member institution.

    (b) The Council shall grant the request if the criteria justifying provisional status no longer apply, and if the institution meets the requirements of Rule 6N-1.002, F.A.C.

    (c) If the Council determines that an in-State institution approved to participate in SARA on provisional status no longer meets the requirements of their provisional approval orand fails to gain full approval by the deadline established by the Council, the Council shall direct that the institution cease enrollments of students under the reciprocity agreement and:

    1. Terminate the institution’s reciprocity agreement, or

    2. Allow the institution a grace period of twelve (12) months to come into compliance with the reciprocity agreement standards.

    (5) In any 3-year period, the Council may grant an institution only one (1) grace period in which to correct non-compliance under this rule.

    Rulemaking Authority 1000.35(10) FS. Law Implemented 1000.35(3), (6)-(7) FS. History–New 10-17-17, Amended 9-18-18.

     

    6N-1.004 Annual Renewal of Approval of In-State Institutions to Participate in Florida’s Reciprocity Agreement.

    (1) An in-State institution shall apply to the Council annually on Form 1001, Renewal Application for Institutional Participation in SARA (http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-08708), effective August 2019 October 2017. This form is incorporated by reference and may be obtained without cost from the Council’s website at www.flsara.org or by writing to the Commission for Independent Education at 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400.

    (2) The Council shall approve the renewal application if the in-State institution continues to meet the requirements set forth in this rule chapter.

    (3) If a private institution, audited financial statement shall accompany the renewal application. The financial statement must show the financial responsibility score in accordance with paragraph 6N-1.002(2)(b), F.A.C.

    (4) An in-State institution approved to participate in SARA on provisional status may not renew its provisional status.

    Rulemaking Authority 1000.35(10) FS. Law Implemented 1000.35(3), (6)-(7) FS. History–New 10-17-17, Amended 9-18-18.

Document Information

Subject:
The changes reflect updates to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) Manual that have recently been released. The amendments will modify the NC-SARA institutional applications and further define the SARA requirements for the allowing assignment of provisional status.
Purpose:
Update the rule for consistency, including modification to forms and to address subjects identified during the annual review of the operation and effect of the rule.
Rulemaking Authority:
1000.35(10), Florida Statutes.
Law:
1000.35(3), (5)-(7), Florida Statutes.
Contact:
Karl Washington The Council Office at Commission for Independent Education, 325 West Gaines Street, Suite 1414, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Related Rules: (4)
6N-1.001.
6N-1.002.
6N-1.003.
6N-1.004.