Distance Learning Programs

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) requires additional approvals when modifying or creating a program that will be considered "distance learning."

The University is an institutional participant in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). SARA provides the university reciprocity compliance to conduct many (but not all) “trigger” activities in other NC-SARA member states. NC-SARA membership does not provide a means for approval with professional licensing boards for programs leading to state licensure or national certification.

UC’s Distance Learning State Authorization compliance is administered by Cincinnati Online. Prior to launching the online program, please contact Dawn Clineman for consultation and additional information regarding state authorization and SARA.


The ODHE defines a distance learning program as a program in which most (80%) of the degree can be completed online.

The ODHE defines a blended/hybrid degree program as a program that blends online and on-ground delivery; a substantial portion of the degree requirements are available online and there are a reduced number of face-to face meetings.

The ODHE must approve any program delivery change, even if the program is an existing program and there are no changes in the curriculum. The ODHE proposal form will need to be completed and submitted to the Academic Committee. If the program is a graduate program, it will first need to be submitted to the Graduate School for approval. For undergraduate programs, the proposal form can be found here. For graduate programs, the proposal form can be found here.

Once approved by the Academic Committee, the Office of the Provost will submit the proposal to the ODHE for approval. Once the ODHE approves the distance learning component, the program director will be notified by the Office of the Provost and the program can then complete a New Academic Program Submission Form (PASLA form) in order to offer the program.

Every state has authority to regulate institutions operating within the state’s boundaries, including online/distance learning. The need to seek “state authorization” for distance learning depends on a combination of the state’s laws and the activities that the program/institution is conducting in that state. For example, in some states, if coursework is 100% online and the program does not have “physical presence” in the state, authorization may not be required. However, activities that "trigger" presence vary from state-to-state and may include: solicitation; direct advertising and/or recruiting students; employing faculty in the state; students completing clinical, internships and/or field placements in the state; proctoring exams; and others. If a program includes any of one of these activities, state authorization may be required.