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State Authorization and Regulatory Compliance


  • As of May 1, 2021

    State Authorization:

    All States require post-secondary educational institutions to be legally authorized to provide regulated activities in their jurisdictions. Many of these State laws and regulations apply to online, distance education instruction offered in that state. As such, Saint Francis University and its online/distance educations programs must be authorized in certain states prior to offering those courses or programs to students located in those states. Likewise, many states require post-secondary educational institutions to be legally authorized to offer activities such as internships, clinical or fieldwork experiences in their state. Saint Francis University is in a continuous process to monitor regulations in states  in which it "operates." The approval process is part of consumer protection for learners in the State.

    State Regulations and NC-SARA:

    Saint Francis University has been approved  to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). effective January 1, 2017. SARA is an agreement among member states that authorizes an institution located and legally authorized in a State covered by the agreement to provide out-of-state activities to students located in other States covered by the agreement. Institutions that participate in SARA agree to abide by a set of quality expectations, reporting requirements, and consumer protection practices. 

    As a SARA-participating institution, Saint Francis University is authorized to offer online courses to individuals located in each state that is part of the agreement without having to get approval from each state individually. This agreement includes on-the-ground activities such as internship, clinical or fieldwork experiences that occur in other SARA states for students enrolled in the University's distance education or campus-based academic programs (with some limitation). Additional information regarding SARA can be found at NC-SARA.

    Current and prospective students should consult the State Authorization Status List for specific information regarding state authorization to find out which SFU online programs are available in their state or whether opportunities for internships, clinical or fieldwork experiences are permitted.    

    Distance Education Programs and Student Location:

    Distance education program availability varies by state. Prospective out-of-state students should consult the State Authorization Status List to determine their eligibility for admission to our online programs. Admission into a program is granted at the time of initial acceptance into the program and is dependent on program availability in the state where the student is physically located at the time of admission.  

    Important Note for Relocating During the Course of a Program:

    Should a prospective or current student relocate to a State or country in which Saint Francis University is not authorized to provide distance education or otherwise exempt, continued enrollment cannot be guaranteed. This may also impact whether that student can meet educational requirements for licensure or certification, receive financial aid funding and/or veteran’s benefits. If students are considering relocating, they should contact their program administrator to check for authorization and licensure eligibility requirements. It is the student's responsibility to notify the institution of a change in their location each semester.  

    Student Location Determination:

    The University makes a determination regarding the State in which a student is located in accordance with its policies and procedures which are applied consistently to all students. For purposes of this policy, student location is determined based on the University’s Student Location Policy

    The University will, upon request, provide the U.S. Secretary of Education with written documentation of its determination of a student’s location, including the basis for such determination.

    Field Placements (internships, clinical and field experiences):

    Students presently enrolled in our on-campus or online programs that wish to complete an activity such as an internship, clinical or fieldwork experience should consult the program coordinator before initializing any contact with a business or agency outside of Pennsylvania. Experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, clinical or field experiences are permitted in SARA-member states provided that: 1) The University has already obtained all the necessary professional and licensure approvals necessary (if any) to conduct the learning opportunity in that state; and 2) Only 10 students in the same academic program from each institution are physically present simultaneously at a single field placement site, unless a higher number is approved by the University's SARA portal entity, the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Students should consult the State Authorization Status List to determine whether the University is authorized in that state for field placements. 

    International internship, clinical or fieldwork sites may be permitted only in countries where the University has proper authorization. Program coordinators should seek guidance through the Office of Academic Affairs.

    Experiences in COLORADO -- Workers’ Compensation Insurance Requirements:

    Any undergraduate or graduate student participating in a paid or unpaid internship, clinical or fieldwork experience (excluding student teaching) in the State of Colorado is required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Further information on obtaining this coverage is provided on the University's State Authorization Status List .

    International Compliance:

    International students who are considering enrolling in a Saint Francis University online program should thoroughly research the laws and regulations of the country in which they will be located at the time of study regarding online education prior to beginning a course of study. Often countries have specific authorization guidelines and tax implications. Some countries do not formally recognize online degrees. It is the student’s responsibility to research and seek the appropriate guidance regarding any pertinent regulations or special requirements pertaining to online education prior to enrolling. 

    Professional Licensure Programs:

    What is a Professional Licensure Program?

    A professional licensure program is an academic program that is intended to (or advertised to) satisfy educational prerequisites for a State-issued professional license, certification, or other credential offered by a third party, that is required for employment in an occupation. (See the Professional Licensure Table for a list of qualifying programs.)

    Professional Licensure Disclosures:

    SFU’s professional licensure programs are designed to meet the educational prerequisites for applicable licensure or certification in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. SFU does not guarantee that its professional licensure programs will satisfy the criteria of professional licensure boards in other States.

    Each State may have different professional licensure requirements. Eligibility for licensure and/or certification may involve more than successful completion of the program of study (i.e., professional examinations, background checks, years of work experience). The State professional licensing boards make the ultimate decision as to whether or not an individual will be eligible for licensure based on the regulations in place at the time of application.

    Federal regulations (34 CFR 668.43) require the University to make public disclosure of certain information regarding professional licensure programs, regardless of modality (i.e., on-ground, online, hybrid). As such, SFU provides the Professional Licensure Table which indicates the States where the University has determined through reasonable, good faith effort, that the professional licensure program does or does not meet the applicable professional licensure education requirement for each State, or the University has not yet made a determination.

    These regulations also require that the University make individual direct disclosures to prospective and enrolled students if the curriculum of the intended professional licensure program does not meet State educational requirements for licensure in the State in which the individual is located, or when the University has not made a determination. SFU does this by email. 

    Prospective students interested in a professional licensure program are advised to consult the Professional Licensure Table and contact the appropriate State licensing agency where they are located, prior to beginning a course of study, to determine whether the program meets educational requirements for licensure in that State. Students who plan to relocate while enrolled in a professional licensure program, regardless of modality, should discuss their plan with a program administrator to assess any potential impact on eligibility for continuance in their course of study (state authorization), eligibility requirements for licensure, and access to practicums and federal aid.

    Read the University’s Professional Licensure Disclosures Statement.

    Professional Licensure Table:

    SFU provides the general disclosures related to how its professional licensure programs meet education requirements for professional licensure or certification in the Professional Licensure Table. Each table 1) lists the professional licensure program(s) offered, regardless of modality; 2) indicates the States where completion of the academic program would or would not be sufficient to meet the educational requirements for professional licensure or certification in each State for that occupation, or indicate the States where the University was not able to make a determination; and 3) includes a web link for the applicable licensure/certification board in each State. All current and prospective students are encouraged to contact the applicable board in their respective State for relevant information on licensure requirements, including information outside of educational requirements such as work experience, background checks, examinations, and fees associate with the licensure process.

    The information contained in the Professional Licensure Table should not be construed as a guarantee that a licensure/certification board will approve a student’s application. Be advised that State licensing requirements are always subject to change at the discretion of the State licensing board. Changes in requirements can impact the academic program’s ability to meet educational requirements for licensure. It is the responsibility of the student completing the professional licensure program to check with the licensing board in the State in which they are located or in the State in which they intend to obtain a license for the most recent information and requirements. SFU shall not be liable if the student is unable to qualify for licensure or certification in any jurisdiction.

    Select an academic program in the Professional Licensure Table below. The University is working to address the required elements for professional licensure disclosures as specified in the federal regulations. This table will be updated on a regular basis. 

    Programs Not Listed: If you have questions regarding any program not listed on the Professional Licensure Table, please contact the program director where the program resides.

    Professional Licensure/Certification Programs

    Complaint Resolution:

    See Student Complaint Resolution

    Questions on State Authorization may be directed to (814) 472-3199.