Skip to main content



Authorization for Online/Distance Education Program/Courses

The President will establish procedures for ensuring compliance with regulations as specified in the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) of 1965, as reauthorized in 2008, and as amended in October 2010 and November 2019. Procedures will specifically be designed to comply with regulation 34 CFR § 600.9(c), 34 CFR § 668.43 (a)(5)(v), and 34 CFR § 668.43 (c) of the HEOA and State Board of Community College Code 1D SBCCC 400.2(g) as it applies to distance learning courses and programs.

State Authorization Procedure


The purpose of this procedure is to comply with any state authorization requirements applicable to Isothermal Community College online/distance education programs and or courses. All U.S. states require education institutions to be legally authorized to provide post-secondary education instruction in their states. Many of these state laws and regulations apply to online, distance, and correspondence education instructions offered in that state. As such, Isothermal Community College (“the college”) and its online/distance education program/courses must be authorized in certain states prior to offering these courses or programs to students residing in those states. While the college does not actively recruit students outside our designated service area, it is recognized that students may elect to enroll in courses from our institution.


The Distance Learning Team (“the Team”) as defined by Policy 402.01.02AP will be the single point of contact to coordinate, assist, and secure authorization from states that require educational institutions to be legally authorized in their state prior to offering online/distance education programs/courses to students residing in that state.

The Team will maintain information needed to determine eligibility in each state and to complete authorization requests as necessary. The Team will maintain a list of students who reside out of state and are enrolled in the College’s distance learning programs/courses and of instructors living out of state.

The Team will coordinate with other departments across campus to ensure compliance and facilitate communication regarding compliance efforts.


The Team is charged with ensuring compliance with any state authorization requirements for Isothermal Community College through the following steps:

  1. Establish a web presence to list states where the College is authorized to deliver education.
  2. Monitor and maintain information related to other states’ post-secondary authorization requirements.
  3. Maintain point of contact information for each state’s authorization agency/agencies and correspond with agencies as necessary.
  4. Complete the authorization process for the required state/states or determine if authorization is not recommended.
  5. Establish and monitor renewal cycles for states from which authorization has been obtained.
  6. Provide website updates to the College Webmaster regarding the process for filing a complaint with accrediting agencies and relevant state approval authorities. The Team will also provide information to the Webmaster regarding any information required by United States Department of Education related to distance learning.
  7. The Admissions Office will monitor all student applications to identify students who reside outside of North Carolina.
    1. The Admissions Office will notify the Team of any applications in which the student resides outside the state of North Carolina and obtain authorization status for that state from the Team.
    2. For student applications with mailing addresses in  states where the College does not have authorization to offer online courses to residents, the Admissions Office will notify students and academic advisors of our inability to offer them enrollment in online courses.
  8. Audit registered students who live out of state once a month to determine the need to move forward with state authorization procedure for identified states. 
  9. Conduct an audit at the end of each registration period to track online/distance education course enrollment by students from other states to determine reciprocity status.
    1. If reciprocity has been denied by the state in which the student resides, the Academic Advisor and Department Dean, for said student, will be notified of the lack of reciprocity. The Academic Advisor and/or Department Dean will notify the student of our inability to enroll them in the online course and will remove the student from the course.
    2. If reciprocity does not exist, the Team will determine the need to seek state authorization for the identified state/states.
  10. Audit out-of-state faculty residence once a month to determine need to move forward with state authorization procedure for identified faculty.
  11. Maintain the College’s presence in the Southern Regional Education Board Electronic Campus.
  12. Monitor revisions of state authorization regulations.
  13. Process payment, if necessary, of fees required for state authorization approved by the College’s Administration.

Policy Number: 402-01-03AP

Adopted: November 17, 2014

Amended: February 25, 2021

Download a PDF of this policy