Office of Distance Learning

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State Authorization

State Authorization of Distance Education is a complex and dynamic environment. Prospective students should check this site often for updates.

Florida State University's Office of Distance Learning seeks to deliver all of our fully online programs in every state. However, the complexity and fluidity of requirements in some states, including differing requirements by academic program, make this impractical.

State Authorization Status

Florida State University became a member institution of NC-SARA as of December 15th, 2017. The University can admit students into online degree programs from all 50 states and most territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Complaint Process

Current students enrolled in Florida State University who have a complaint about a course or experience must follow the University grievance procedure. The pertinent information from that procedure is listed below for your convenience.

Grievance Procedure

Students who allege that academic regulations and procedures have been improperly applied in specific instances may have their grievances addressed through the general academic appeals process. In this process, the student brings a complaint first to the instructor, then to the department chair, and finally to the academic dean appropriate to the course involved, stopping at the level at which the complaint is resolved. If no resolution is reached, the student brings the complaint to the attention of the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement for either resolution or referral to the Student Academic Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate. A graduate student whose complaint is unresolved must see the Dean of the Graduate School prior to meeting with the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. The Student Academic Relations Committee has the authority to direct, through the Vice President for Academic Affairs, that corrective action be taken when justified.

Grievance Procedure: Panama City Campus

Students who allege that academic regulations and procedures have been improperly applied in specific instances may have their grievances addressed through the general academic appeals process. In this process, the student brings a complaint first to the instructor, then to the Panama City Associate Dean, and then to the Panama City Dean, stopping at the level at which the complaint is resolved. If no resolution is reached in Panama City, then the student will go to the department chair, and finally to the academic dean appropriate to the course involved, stopping at the level at which the complaint is resolved. If no resolution is reached, the student brings the complaint to the attention of the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement for either resolution or referral to the Student Academic Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate. A graduate student whose complaint is unresolved must see the Dean of the Graduate School prior to meeting with the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. The Student Academic Relations Committee has the authority to direct, through the Vice President for Academic Affairs, that corrective action be taken when justified.

Grievance Procedure: Panama, Republic of Panama Campus

Students who allege that academic regulations and procedures have been improperly applied in specific instances may have their grievances addressed through the general academic appeals process. In this process, the student brings a complaint first to the instructor, then to the FSU Panama Vice Rector for Academic Affairs. If the complaint is not resolved at this stage, then the Vice Rector for Academic Affairs forwards the complaint to the Academic Standards Committee, which then must make a recommendation to the FSU Panama Rector. If no resolution is reached at the Republic of Panama campus, then the student will go to the department chair, and finally to the academic dean appropriate to the course involved, stopping at the level at which the complaint is resolved. If no resolution is reached, the student brings the complaint to the attention of the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement for either resolution or referral to the Student Academic Relations Committee of the Faculty Senate. A graduate student whose complaint is unresolved must see the Dean of the Graduate School prior to meeting with the Vice President for Faculty Development and Advancement. The Student Academic Relations Committee has the authority to direct, through the Vice President for Academic Affairs, that corrective action be taken when justified.

Academic, non-academic, and discrimination complaints should be routed through the channels indicated for each in this flowchart. If the issue cannot be solved to the satisfaction of both parties, the University Ombudsman may serve as mediator to assist you in navigating resources for resolving any complaints or concerns you may have about how your FSU academic program is administered.

FL-SARA Postsecondary Distance Education Council Complaint Process

Distance Education students, who have completed the internal institutional grievance process and the applicable state grievance process, may appeal non-instructional complaints to the FL-SARA PRDEC Council. For additional information on the complaint process, please visit the FL-SARA Complaint Process page.

Licensure Information

If you are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license in your state, it is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in your home state BEFORE beginning the academic program located outside your state.

Information for Departments and Administrators

Under NC-SARA, Institutions are covered for the following marketing and recruiting activities in SARA states:

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

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 by the Policies and Standards in section 5.12 of the NC-SARA Manual (Manual.pdf)

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.

California Marketing and Recruiting restrictions are as follows:

Allowable Actions

  • National Advertising on television or publications (not targeted to residents within the state)
  • Local or Direct Advertising
  • Recruiter attendance at state or college fairs
  • Local physical presence (Billboard, Radio, TV, Websites, etc.)

Special Considerations

  • Recruiter living in state – cannot have an administrative office in the state.