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State Authorization

What is State Authorization?

Each state has laws and regulations which govern educational activities within the state. These include education provided by entities within the state and outside of the state. These laws and regulations are in place to protect the citizens of the state.

Black Hills State University must comply with laws and regulations set forth by states before any educational activity can occur within that state. These activities include courses and programs offered fully online, internships, externships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching and clinical placements.

Who does this affect?

Any student enrolling in distance education courses who reside outside of the state of South Dakota or any student who is participating in any field experience (ex. internships, student teaching, clinicals, etc.) outside the state of South Dakota.

How does BHSU comply with these laws and regulations?

BHSU participates in the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NC-SARA). South Dakota became a SARA state in . BHSU became a SARA member institution in 2015. SARA is a national initiative that increases student access to distance education courses and programs while maintaining compliance with state regulations. Institutions participating in SARA can offer educational opportunities in all 49 member states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico without seeking individual approval in each state. See the list of NC-SARA states in which BHSU is authorized.

BHSU is not required to obtain authorization for fully online education in California (Bureau For Private Postsecondary Education). If you reside in or plan to participate in educational activities in California, please contact us for updates.

Due to Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation Act, BHSU students are unable to participate in unpaid internships, clinicals, field experiences, etc. in the state of Colorado.

New Hampshire requires programs such as internships, job shadowing, or mentor program to be approved by the Labor Commissioner when a student is working for practical experience and is not being paid or being paid at a sub-minimum rate.  Approval is required in advance to participation in such offerings, it is important to work with your internship coordinator in advance to seek out approval.

International Students

International students are advised to understand and be apprised of the rules, regulations, and requirements related to online distance education programs in the country in which they live, particularly: (a) if the country will recognize an online degree; (b) whether the program meets licensure or certification requirements in the country and (c) if the country charges any additional taxes, withholdings or fees associated with online distance education programs.

If you’re considering enrolling in an online program, please also reach out to the Black Hills State University Office of International Relations & Global Engagement.

Out-of-State Distance Education Students

Pursuant to the United States Department of Education’s Program Integrity Rule, Black Hills State University is required to provide all prospective and current students with the contact information of the state agency or agencies that handle complaints against postsecondary education institutions offering distance learning or correspondence education within that state.

For students residing in a SARA state, the complaint must first go through the institutional complaint process. If the complaint is not resolved at the institutional level, student complaints may be appealed to the institution’s home state SARA portal entity, which in South Dakota is the South Dakota Board of Regents. More information on the SARA complaint process in South Dakota, please visit the SD-SARA website or view the complaint appeal form here.

For students in California, please contact the appropriate entity listed below.

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