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State Authorization of Distance Education

The United States Department of Education published regulations in the Federal Register (Chapter 34, § 600.9(c)) that require all institutions of higher education to seek authorization in every state (and territory) in which they operate, physically or virtually, in order to maintain eligibility for federal financial aid. Learn more by downloading this summary from WCET .


How does this affect me?

Student Complaint Process:
Western Oregon University aims to resolve all student complaints in a fair and expedient manner. Students wishing to file a formal complaint must first seek resolution through institutional grievance procedures. Details can be found on the grievance petition. Students may also contact Student Affairs for more information. If a complaint cannot be resolved internally, students may also file a complaint with the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Council  or with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities , our accrediting body.WOU participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) through the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC). Out-of-state distance students from non-member states may follow this link for information about filing consumer complaints with their state authorizing agency. Not sure if your state is a member? Check out the handy map at http://nc-sara.org .

Online students residing in Alabama and Maryland:

Western Oregon University is unable to offer distance programs to residents of Alabama and Maryland at this time. We regret this restriction as it is our goal to offer a quality education to students everywhere and we are working to promote reciprocal agreements between state agencies in the future. These same restrictions may not apply to noncredit students.

Texas residents:
Western Oregon University is outside the jurisdiction of Chapter 132 of the Texas Education Code and therefore does not need to seek authorization in order to provide distance education in Texas.

Residents of all other states:
Western Oregon University has been granted authorizations, exemptions, waivers, and/or is not otherwise required to seek authorization for all other states and territories. However, distance students residing in certain states may be ineligible to apply for programs with required internship components and current distance students who wish to participate in internships may face restrictions. Prospective students should contact program coordinators with questions. If you are a current student, check with your faculty advisor before arranging an internship for credit in another state.