The Bureau of Postsecondary & Adult Education processes requests from out-of-state degree-granting institutions seeking authorization by the Pennsylvania Department of
Education to offer courses or degree programs via distance education to Pennsylvania residents. A registration process is available to confirm compliance with federal financial aid rules.
Register as an Out-of-State Distance Education Provider
- Go to: PA State Distance Education Registration
- Click on Login to USER & MUSER click here.
- In Username, enter "user\DISTANCEEDPA" (Do not include quotes).
- In Password, enter "Register1#" (Do not include quotes).
- Complete the registration form and follow on-screen instructions to print certificate.
Renewal of Registration
The process for renewal of registration is the same as the original registration. Follow the instructions above and re-register to obtain a new certificate(s).
State Authorization Reciprocity agreement (sara)
Act 35 of 2016 was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on June 1, 2016 authorizing Pennsylvania to join SARA. Pennsylvania is now engaged in a multi-step process to implement membership. For more information and the process to join, please go to SARA.
Definition of Distance Education
The regulatory definition of distance education provided in 22 Pa. Code §31.2 is:
Distance education -- An alternate format to resident-based instruction for offering education courses or series of courses by an approved postsecondary educational institution, consortium of institutions or educational enterprise, for which credit is offered or awarded toward a certificate, diploma or degree, which has as its primary mode of delivery one or more of the following:
- Videocassette or disk.
- Devices built upon an audio-video format.
- Other supportive devices using current or future technology.
The working definition of distance education is the delivery of instruction for academic credit when the instructor is physically located at an address that differs from the physical
location of the student at the time of instruction.
Distance education providers must be accredited by an accrediting agency that is approved by the United States Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education
No unaccredited institutions or institutions accredited by an unapproved accrediting agency may offer distance education in Pennsylvania for academic credit or a degree.
Out-of-state teacher certification program providers offering Pennsylvania certification must meet all Pennsylvania program approval requirements. Please contact the Bureau of
School Leadership and Teacher Quality at (717) 787-3470 for information on teacher preparation.
Employment of Faculty in Pennsylvania
Distance education providers are not required to have PDE approval to employ faculty members who might reside in PA or be located in PA when they provide instruction via distance
Out-of-state institutions are not required to have PDE approval to place students in internships in Pennsylvania. Students are not required to have PDE approval to arrange their
own internship in Pennsylvania. Businesses are not required to have PDE approval to accept interns.
The institution and the student are responsible for ensuring that an internship, externship, preceptorship or practicum placement complies with all legal requirements specific to the
field of study and all professional licensing and certification standards.
If an institution employs or pays representatives with a physical presence in Pennsylvania to support internships, that institution may have established a physical presence in
Pennsylvania requiring approval as an Education Enterprise under Chapter 36.
Out-of-State degree-granting institutions are not required to have PDE approval to advertise in Pennsylvania. Out-of-state non-degree career and technical schools are required
to be registered with the Private Licensed School Board if they have a physical presence to advertise or recruit in Pennsylvania.
Authorization as a distance education provider in Pennsylvania does not convey Pennsylvania degree-granting authority.
The regulatory definition of physical presence provided in 22 Pa. Code §31.2 is:
Physical presence—The operation of an entity that offers courses, programs, or degrees or maintains a campus, or an administrative, corporate or other address, including
a post office box, telephone number, recruiters, instructors, advertising in local media and publications at a location in this Commonwealth.
Confirmation as a distance education provider in Pennsylvania does not permit a physical presence in Pennsylvania. Approval of a physical presence to offer courses is required
under Chapter 36
or Chapter 73
If an institution employs or pays representatives with a physical presence in Pennsylvania to support internships, that institution may require approval as an
Education Enterprise under 22 Pa. Code Chapter 36.