13B.02.05.04

.04 Approval of In-State Institutions to Participate in SARA.

A. An in-State institution seeking approval to participate in SARA shall submit an application to the Commission in a form prescribed by the Secretary.

B. The Secretary shall, upon receipt of an in-State institutionís complete application to participate in SARA, approve the application if:

(1) The applicant is an in-State institution approved by the Commission to operate in Maryland;

(2) Programs offered by the institution comply with Education Article, §§11-206 and 11-206.1, Annotated Code of Maryland;

(3) The applicant is accredited;

(4) The president or chief academic officer of the institution attests that the institution meets and agrees to comply with the C-RAC guidelines;

(5) The institution, if it participates in federal Title IV financial aid, has a federal financial responsibility rating of at least 1.5, or, upon justification deemed acceptable by the Secretary, a federal financial responsibility rating of at least 1.0;

(6) The institution, if it does not participate in federal Title IV financial aid, would, in the determination of the Secretary, have a federal financial responsibility rating of at least 1.5, or, with justification deemed acceptable by the Secretary, at least 1.0;

(7) The institution makes its SARA-related complaint policies and procedures readily available to students, and informs students that they may appeal SARA-related complaints to MHEC pursuant to this chapter;

(8) For any course or program potentially leading to professional licensure:

(a) The institution notifies students and potential students that the course or program meets the licensing requirements of the state where the students or potential students reside; or

(b) The institution notifies students and potential students that it cannot confirm whether the course or program meets the licensing requirements of the state where the students or potential students reside, provides students and potential students with current contact information for applicable licensing boards, and advises students and potential students to determine whether the course or program meets state licensing requirements;

(9) The provisional approval criteria in §C of this regulation do not apply; and

(10) The applicant has paid the fee required by Regulation .06 of this chapter.

C. Provisional Approval. The Secretary shall, upon receipt of an in-State institutionís complete application to participate in SARA, approve the institution to participate in SARA on a provisional status if the institution meets the requirements of §B(1)—(8) and (10) of this regulation, but:

(1) Is on probationary status or the equivalent with its institutional accrediting association;

(2) Uses a letter of credit or is under a cash management agreement with the U.S. Department of Education;

(3) Is the subject of a publicly announced investigation by a government agency, and the investigation is related to the institutionís academic quality, financial stability, or student consumer protection; or

(4) Is the subject of an investigation by the State related to the institutionís academic quality, financial stability, or student consumer protection.

D. Terms and Length of Provisional Status.

(1) An in-State institution approved to participate in SARA on provisional status shall meet any requirements the Secretary deems necessary, including enrollment limits, to ensure SARA standards are met regarding program quality, financial stability, and consumer protection.

(2) The length of the provisional status of an in-State institution approved to participate in SARA shall be determined by the Secretary and may not exceed 1 year.

(3) Application for Removal of Provisional Status.

(a) If an in-State institution approved to participate in SARA on provisional status no longer meets the provisional status criteria set forth in §C of this regulation, it may apply in writing to the Secretary for removal of its provisional status designation and approval as an in-State SARA institution.

(b) The Secretary shall grant the application if the criteria justifying provisional status no longer apply, and if the institution meets the requirements of §B of this regulation.

(4) If the Secretary determines that an in-State institution approved to participate in SARA on provisional status no longer meets the requirements of §B(1)—(8) and (10) of this regulation, the Secretary shall:

(a) Provide the institution with a grace period, not to exceed 1 year, in which the institution shall come into compliance with SARA standards, subject to the supervision of the Secretary; or

(b) Prohibit the institution from enrolling additional students in SARA distance education, terminate the institutionís SARA participation pursuant to Regulation .08 of this chapter, and allow the institution to continue to instruct students already enrolled in SARA distance education for a period of 6 months.

(5) In any 3-year period, the Secretary may grant an institution only one grace period in which to correct noncompliance under §D(4) of this regulation.