The Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner (RIOPC) is aware of the health concerns schools are facing due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.  Approved proprietary schools may cease to offer face-to-face instruction to protect the well-being of students, staff and instructors, and offer distance education according to plans filed with the RIOPC.  Schools that do not have the ability to offer distance learning options to students may postpone classes for the immediate future, according to plans filed with the RIOPC.

 

Degree-granting Institutions of Higher Education who are not NC-SARA approved through their State Portal Entity because they do not offer online instruction, who are now seeking temporary authorization from the RIOPC during the COVID-19 pandemic to offer instruction online to Rhode Island residents, should request permission in writing to the Commissioner of Postsecondary Education and include details on how the institution is supporting such transition, and information related to technology, faculty training/support, student accessibility, anticipated duration of transition, and their student complaint resolution policy.

Online Distance Learning

 

The Council on Postsecondary Education has established a process for non-profit institutions who are interested in offering distance learning opportunities to RI residents but whose home state is not part of NC-SARA (non-SARA). 

In order to protect consumers, the Council requires institutions to make substantive academic, financial, and procedural commitments:

  • Agree to abide by the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education adopted by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions;
  • Agree to work with the Council on Postsecondary Education and the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner to resolve any complaints arising from students in Rhode Island, and to abide by decisions of that entity;
  • Agree to pay annual non-SARA fees.

 

Out-of-state, Non-Profit, Non-SARA Institutions: Initial Application Fees

  • $5,000 for institutions with FTE under 2,500
  • $7,500 for institutions with FTE 2,500--9,999
  • $10,000 for institutions with FTE 10,000+

 

Out-of-state, Non-Profit, Non-SARA Institutions: Annual Authorization Fees

  • $5,000 for institutions with FTE under 2,500
  • $7,500 for institutions with FTE 2,500--9,999
  • $10,000 for institutions with FTE 10,000+

 

If your institution is interested in applying to operate as a non-SARA institution, please complete the form below so that we can follow up with you.

If you have questions about eligibility, you can contact Paula Szulc, Associate Commissioner for Student Success, who is the SARA coordinator for Rhode Island: Paula.Szulc@riopc.edu or 401-736-1100.  

 

Complete the non-SARA form