What Is State Authorization and Why Should Students Care?

Many students know there is a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) that administers federal policies related to financial aid, student privacy, crime reporting, etc. What students may not be aware of is the role of their home state in determining access to higher education. For example, each state department of education has the power to issue degree-granting authority to colleges, kind of like a business license. American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS) has historically sought and received degree-granting authority for our holistic health programs in our home state of Oregon.

State AuthorizationThe Program Integrity Rule

The federal Department of Education (DOE) has issued a new rule for states to follow …

Which means the states are issuing new rules for colleges to follow …

Which means colleges have to let students know about the new rules.


What it comes down to is that all distance-education colleges are now mandated to meet requirements in every state where there are registered students, or stop admitting students from those states. There are more than 70 state and territorial agencies—all with rules of their own.

Though the DOE Program Integrity Rule is intended to protect students from exploitation and unscrupulous practices, it is likely that educational program options will become more limited in some states. Students could unknowingly be impacted. For example, armed services students who are already enrolled in a program could be transferred to a state where their college is not approved. The student could lose the option to complete the program. So, from which state does an institution obtain authorization to teach students in the military? From the state where he or she is stationed? Pays taxes? Is registered to vote? These are the unanticipated problems that colleges and state agencies are attempting to resolve.


What Does This Mean for ACHS Students?

What is the good news?

Unlike many other education providers, ACHS is actively pursuing authorization in all U.S. states and territories. If ACHS does not become authorized in your state, you may not be allowed to continue as a student. This is an unacceptable outcome.

We at ACHS are committed to continue to support our current students and continue to make our accredited holistic health programs available to students nationwide. We are proud to report that because of our commitment to this process and our collaboration with the states, no ACHS student’s education is currently at risk. To look up the rules in your state and ACHS’s authorization status, please visit: https://achs.edu/state-authorization

If you are a prospective student, be sure to do your research! Is your institution authorized in the state where YOU live? If you have plans to move, be sure to check that the institution is authorized in that state. ACHS has a long history of not just meeting regulatory requirements, but exceeding these requirements, and achieving authorization or exemption in all of the states and territories is just one of the ways we demonstrate our commitment to our students and excellence in holistic health online education.

ACHS State Authorization Map

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me—or anyone at the College—for more information. We’re more than happy to chat with you. You’re also welcome to post your questions as comments so other readers can benefit from the answer.



American College of Health Science. (n.d.). Retrieved June 13, 2013, from American College of Health Science: achs.edu

Program Integrity Questions and Answers – State Authorization. (n.d.). Retrieved June 11, 2013 from US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/sa.html

State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. (n.d.). Retrieved June, 2013 from SHEEO State Authorization Survey and Reports: http://www.sheeo.org/node/434

US Department of Education. (n.d.). Code of Federal Regulations- State Authorization. Retrieved June 12, 2013, from Cornell University Law School: http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/34/600.9