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Press Release



June 19, 2015


Cowley approved to offer online degree in all 50 states


Cowley College recently received approval from the Maryland Higher Education Commission for all online programs for state authorization purposes.


“This completes our mission to obtain exemption or authorization for all of our online programs in all 50 states and three additional territories." Associate Vice President for Mulvane and Online Operations Stephani Johns-Hines said. “To my knowledge, Cowley College is the only institution in the state of Kansas to have achieved this level of access for all of their online programs. This makes an online degree from Cowley College accessible to students from every state in the nation.”  


Not having authorization or exemption from a State can result in invalid degrees, federal financial aid denial or professional licensure delays for students. According to the Department of Defense MOU, institutions offering Tuition Assistance must, “Comply with state authorization requirements consistent with regulations issued by ED, including 34 C.F.R. 600.9. Educational institutions must meet all State laws as they relate to distance education as required.” 


Paula Phelps, Online Education Coordinator, has been hard at work toward this goal since shortly after she arrived.


“I have had the opportunity to collaborate with many fine representatives from institutions charged with the task of coordinating state authorization and it's great to know that I was not alone in this journey,” Phelps said. “Furthermore, I really appreciate the latitude and confidence extended to me by Stephani (Johns-Hines) and Tony (Crouch) in allowing me to establish my own process."


The Kansas Board of Regents approved Cowley College's application for membership in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in November of 2014. SARA establishes a state-level reciprocity process that supports national efforts to increase the educational attainment by making state authorization of postsecondary institutions more efficient, effective, and uniform in regard to necessary and reasonable standards of practice across states; more effective in dealing with quality and integrity issues; and less costly for states and institutions and, thereby, the students they serve. There are currently 24 states affiliated with SARA.


SARA is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. The challenge has been obtaining authorization in the non-SARA affiliated states, as each state has their own set of requirements.


“Our online students come to us from all over the U.S. and we warmly welcome them,” Johns-Hines said. “Not having authorization in their home state would have forced us to turn them away, and we were not willing to accept that as an option.”