As an institution that participates in federal financial aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Michigan State University is required to comply with recently published regulations
regarding distance education. On December 19, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education published regulations, with an effective date of July 1, 2018, clarifying the state authorization requirements an institution
must follow and added sections on required institutional disclosures for distance education and correspondence courses. The regulations require institutions of higher education to obtain approval from the states
in which they provide postsecondary education programs. The regulations allow authorization to come directly from a state or through a "state authorization reciprocity agreement".
MSU participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which is an agreement among states that establishes national standards for the interstate offering of postsecondary
distance-education courses and programs. Through SARA, MSU may provide distance education to residents of any other SARA member state without seeking authorization from each SARA member state.
All states other than California participate in SARA (as an accredited public institution, MSU is exempt from approval by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education). Courses and programs incorporating a "supervised field experience"
are considered distance education. Under SARA a "supervised field experience" means a student learning experience under the oversight of a supervisor, mentor, faculty member or other qualified professional,
located in the host state, who has a direct or indirect reporting responsibility to the institution where the student is enrolled, whether or not credit is granted. Examples include practica, student teaching or
Information | Required Notifications | Suggested text for websites, brochures, and student handbooks.
International Students are advised to understand and be apprised of the rules, regulations, and requirements related to online distance education programs in their country of residence, particularly:
- If the country will recognize an online degree;
- Whether the program meets licensure or certification requirements in the country; and
- If the country charges any additional taxes, withholdings or fees associated with online distance education programs.
Student Complaint Information
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs' Corporations, Security & Commercial Licensing Bureau is the agency designated to review complaints against institutions of higher education providing
distance education. Complaints concerning MSU's distance education activities regulated by Michigan's Higher Education Authorization and Distance Education Reciprocal Exchange Act (2015 PA 45) may be directed
to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations, Securities & Commercial Licensing Bureau, P.O. Box 30018, Lansing, MI 48909 through the process described at