Seeking Approval for Online Programming

Any institution seeking to offer postsecondary instruction, including distance learning/online delivery referred to as “online programming”, to Georgia residents requires institutional and programmatic authorization by the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC) or NC-SARA membership.  Additionally, any institution, whether a member of NC-SARA or not, with physical presence in the State of Georgia is required to be authorized by GNPEC to offer education to Georgia residents.   The policies and procedures of NC-SARA defining physical presence for member states should be reviewed here

Authorization

The authorization process serves to ensure that each nonpublic postsecondary educational institution doing business in the State of Georgia is educationally sound and financially stable. Please note that access will not be provided to the Initial Authorization Application until an institutional proposal is submitted and approved by the Deputy Director. Guidelines for this document can be found here

A. Accredited institutions are permitted to apply to offer online programming.

  1. As part of the program application, the institution must provide documentation of accreditation status for both institution and programmatic approval. 
  2. While GNPEC reserves the right to require an external evaluation of any program, programs reviewed and approved by an accreditor may not require an additional GNPEC Committee Evaluation.
  3. GNPEC must approve and authorize each program individually prior to the institution offering the program to Georgia residents.

B. Unaccredited institutions are permitted to apply to offer online programming.

  1. As part of the program application, the institution must provide descriptions of the online platform to be utilized along with relevant program documentation (ex. Lesson plans, participation requirements, policy for assessing progress).
  2. GNPEC must approve and authorize each program individually prior to the institution offering the program to Georgia residents. 
  3. Institution must have state approval in its home state.

 

Please note that the following will generally not create physical presence:

  • If the institution employs faculty or other individuals who are residents of Georgia and enrolls students who are residents of Georgia but does NOT require they interact in a face-to-face situation;
  • If the institution requires students to undertake internships, externships, practica, student teaching, clinical experiences and/or other non-classroom-centered experiences but does NOT directly supervise such experiences with their own employees. Third party contracts do not trigger physical presence.