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Protection from Misrepresentation

JMU is responsible for accurately representing its educational offerings and services to students; a student should be confident that as long as they meet the stated criteria, they will receive college credit, diplomas, etc. as decribed. Representation, or more specifically, "misrepresentation" is a key concept within the context of state authorization: we must not misrepresent our offerings or services to potential and current students.

Within the context of state authorization, JMU can avoid unintentional misrepresentation by ensuring that the University has appropriate authorization to offer credit-bearing out-of-state educational activities to students who are or will be physically located in the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a U.S. state outside of Virginia while engaging in one or more of those activities. Without this authorization, students are at risk of not earning the credit they expect to earn and JMU is subject to fines. 

As an Academic Unit Head, Program Coordinator, or other administrator, you should be familiar with how associated regulations can impact enrollment decisions for your programs, and when your department needs to take certain actions. There are three situations that are of particular relevance to JMU: fully distant students; supervised field experiences; and professional licensure. In rare cases, JMU offers out-of-state on-ground courses and programs, in which case, JMU must determine if seeking permission from a state is necessary (contact JMU's State Authorization Compliance Officer for assistance). 

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

Virginia is a member of and JMU participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Per SARA policy as described in the SARA Manual, JMU is allowed under certain conditions to offer a limited array of educational activities in another state or territory without seeking permission from that state or territory. JMU can conduct educational activities in other states and territories as long as the state or territory is a SARA member and as long as JMU is engaging inonly one or more of the following activities:

1. Offering courses to individuals via distance education in ways that do not require students to gather physically in groups; 

2. Advertising to students whether through print, billboard, direct mail, internet, radio, television or other medium;

3. Offering distance education courses on a military base or vessel if enrollment in such courses is limited to active and reserve military personnel, their dependents, and civilian employees of the installation;

4. Maintaining a server, router or similar electronic service device housed in a facility that otherwise would not constitute physical presence (the presence of a server or similar pass-through switching device does not by itself constitute the offering of a course or program in that state);

5. Having faculty, adjunct faculty, mentors, tutors, recruiters or other academic personnel residing in a member state and working from their homes or another private, non-institutional site, provided that such staff is not engaged in activities that would otherwise constitute physical presence as defined in the SARA Manual;

6. Holding proctored exams on behalf of the institution in the host state;

7. Having contractual arrangements in the home or host state, e.g. procurement contracts or course offerings through consortium agreements;

8. Operating limited supervised field experiences;

9. Using recruiters in a SARA member state. This provision is not restricted to recruiting for courses or programs offered under SARA, and does include athletic recruiting; and

10. Engaging in field trips to visit existing sites or facilities for academic purposes not involving the establishment of residential or instructional facilities.


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