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State Authorization and Distance Learning

Recent amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) include new requirements in individual state authorization regulations that impact colleges that offer online and distance learning.  Robeson Community College is working to achieve compliance as established in HEOA 600.9 (c)

This particular section of §600.9 State authorization states:

If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary [of Education] the State’s approval upon request. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1001 and 1002)

How is RCC responding to this mandate?

Even though we rarely have out-of-state online students and we do not actively recruit or market college offerings beyond North Carolina, we are complying with the Federal Requirements by monitoring incoming applications of out-of-state students who plan to enroll in distance learning courses. Once the student declares their intent to enroll in distance learning courses, communication will be initiated seeking State Authorization for their particular state of residency.

Additionally, RCC is in the process of applying for approval to participate in the Southern Regional Electronic Board – Electronic Campus (SREB-EC) which has an established reciprocity agreement with the following member states: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Once we have submitted the application and receive authorization, we will be exempt from the requirement to apply for authorization to the states who participate in the SREB’s Electronic Campus Regional Reciprocity Agreement (SECRRA). This reciprocal agreement basically agrees that SREB participating states consent to recognize courses and programs from other participating states that are listed in the SREB-EC.

Institutional Contact Information

The Vice-President of Instruction and Support Services serves as the primary contact for maintaining compliance with the recent amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA).  Correspondence may be directed to the Vice-President of Instruction and Support Services, Robeson Community College, P.O. Box 1420, Lumberton, NC  28359.  For assistance by telephone, contact the Vice-President at (910) 272-3330.

 State Contact Information

Pursuant to the United States Department of Education’s Program Integrity Rule, each institution of higher education 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 within that state.  Robeson Community College students must adhere to the college’s internal student grievance policies and procedures prior to filing a complaint with a state agency.  To view this process, refer to the Student Grievance Procedure section of the RCC Catalog and Student Handbook.  This process provides each student due process in the resolution of their complaint or grievance.  If the resolution of the complaint or grievance is not satisfactory, students may contact their State approval or licensing entity in their state of residency established to handle student complaints.

State Contact Information has been collected and updated by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO). This page can be accessed at: http://www.sheeo.org/node/434

Accreditation Contact Information

Robeson Community College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award the Associate in Arts Degree (A.A.), the Associate in Science Degree (A.S.), the Associate in General Education Degree(A.G.E.), and the Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.).  Contact Information for SACS:

Mail:
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia  30033-4097
Telephone:  (404) 679-4500
Website:    http://www.sacscoc.org/

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is a regional accrediting agency whose mission is to: “assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions”.   To learn more about the College’s accreditation status with SACS or to find out more about the accreditation process, please visit the SACS website at http://www.sacscoc.orgAny questions concerning the accreditation of Robeson Community College may be made directly to the College or to SACS.  The College’s Vice-President of Instruction and Support Services coordinates all College related SACS activities.

For procedures for filing a complaint against the College, a student is advised to follow SACSCOC complaint policies. You may access the policy and procedures, as well as the steps to file a complaint at http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/complaintpolicy.pdf.

Prior to filing a complaint, please thoroughly read the policies and procedures established by the Commission. The complaint policy does not address issues related to “individual matters of admission, grades, granting or transferability of credits, application of academic policies, fees or other financial matters, disciplinary matters or other contractual rights and obligations”, but has been established to address only significant non-compliance with the SACSCOC accreditation standards, policies or procedures.

In order to file a complaint, students must adhere to SACS published complaint policies. As stated in the “Complaint Procedures Against the Commission or its Accredited Institutions”,

The Commission expects individuals to attempt to resolve the issue through all means available to the complainant, including following the institutions own published grievance procedures, before submitting a complaint to the Commission. Therefore, the Commissions usual practice is not to consider a complaint that is currently in administrative proceedings, including institutional proceedings, or in litigation. However, if there is substantial, credible evidence that indicates systemic problems with an accredited institution, the Commission may, at its discretion, choose to proceed with the review.

To file a complaint, the student must complete the Commission’s Complaint Form and send two print copies to the President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097.

Robeson Community College participates in the  Southern Regional Education Board’s Electronic Campus.