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Distance Ed Application Instructions

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On September 13, 2016, the New York State Board of Regents adopted new regulations requiring out-of-state institutions of higher education to seek and obtain New York State Education Department (NYSED) approval to offer distance education in New York State, and to permit the Department to enter into the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). New York State joined SARA on December 9, 2016.

Out-of-state institutions that are participating in SARA are considered approved to offer distance education under the terms of SARA.

Out-of-state institutions that are not participating in SARA and that seek to offer, or continue to offer, distance education to students in New York State must apply for, and obtain, approval from NYSED before enrolling any students. 

Out-of-state non-SARA institutions that have enrolled New York State students in distance education programs prior to March 28, 2017, but that do not intend to apply, or that do not receive NYSED approval, may continue to serve those previously enrolled students through program completion, but may not enroll additional students.

Information about applying for approval to offer distance education in New York State is provided below, and application materials are provided in the “Useful Links” box. 

Minimum Institution Requirements

Minimum Requirements

The minimum requirements for non-SARA institutions seeking to offer distance education in New York State include:

  • be legally domiciled in a state other than New York and hold proper authorization from such state to offer degree-granting programs and confer degrees in such state;
  • be a U.S. degree-granting institution that holds institutional accreditation from an accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education with distance education within its scope of recognition;
  • possess a Financial Responsibility Index Score that is 1.5 or above;
  • agree to abide by the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education; and
  • agree to fulfill the requirements identified in the Requirements and Terms of Approval Form.
Application Process

Application Process

  1. Application content requirements are specified in the Application for Approval to Offer Distance Education in New York State application document. This website does not include all of the information provided in the application document.
  2. To begin the application process institutions must first complete the Intent to Apply for Approval to Offer Distance Education in New York State Form.
  3. NYSED will acknowledge receipt of the Intent to Apply Form and provide instructions for accessing the online application submission folder.
  4. Application files must be uploaded within 60 days from the date the submission folder information is provided to the institution. Do not submit a paper copy of the application.
    • Applications that are not complete or properly submitted within this time frame will be withdrawn from further consideration, and the application will not be retained by NYSED.  
  5. Institutions will have 60 days from the date the application submission folder information is provided to send their application fee to NYSED.
  • The annual application review fee ($7,000) is non-refundable. Should NYSED disapprove an application, the annual approval fee ($10,000) will be refunded.
  • The fee payment submission must include:
  1. a check for $17,000 made out to the New York State Education Department, and,
  2. a NYSED payment form.
  • Payments should be mailed to:

New York State Education Department


Office of College and University Evaluation

89 Washington Avenue, Room 960 EBA

Albany, NY 12234

  1. NYSED will notify applicants once the fee payment has been processed and review of the application has begun.
  • Application review will not commence before the fee payment has been processed.
  • NYSED retains the right to request additional information or ask clarifying questions throughout the application review process.
  • NYSED may contact other state or federal regulatory agencies, or other organizations such as accrediting bodies, for any information it deems necessary to make a determination on an application.
  1. At the conclusion of the review, NYSED will notify applicants in writing that their application is either approved or disapproved. If an application is disapproved, NYSED will provide reasons for the disapproval in writing. 
Formatting Requirements

Formatting Requirements

Please use the following guidelines when preparing an application for submission:

  • Each file should be labeled as specified in the Document Checklist.
  • All files should have page numbers.
  • All files should include the filename in the page footer.
  • All narrative responses should be in a 12-point sans-serif font (e.g., Calibri).
  • Files should be in Adobe Acrobat® PDF, MS® Word, or MS® Excel format.
  • Responses to requests that do not apply to the institution should state “Request is not applicable.”

Document Checklist

Each application shall include narrative responses, completed forms, and supplemental documents. Requirements for each of these responses are included in the Application for Approval to Offer Distance Education in New York State. 


Response Type

1a-Institution Overview


1b-Approval Terms


1cde-Structure and Oversight

Narrative Response







2abc-NYS Plans and Programs

Narrative Response

2d-Proposed Online Program Forms


3-Complaints Policy

Narrative Response


Narrative Response

5-Payment Form



Accessing the Application Submission Folder

Accessing the Application Submission Folder

Institutions will use the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Secure File Transfer Manager to submit their Application for Approval to Offer Distance Education in New York State. The File Transfer Manager is a secure and convenient way to exchange files using the Web. An invitation to create an account is generated when the Intent to Apply for Approval to Offer Distance Education in New York State Form is submitted.

Applicants will receive an email from “SED File Transfer Manager” that includes a link to the registration page. After creating a user profile applicants will receive another email from “SED File Transfer Manager” that provides access to the institution’s secure application submission folder. At this point institutions should be able to sign into their File Transfer Manager account and submit application files.

The File Transfer System enables applicants to upload files from their local computer to their application submission folder by either:

  1. Dragging and dropping the files from their desktop, or
  2. Clicking the “Upload” button and following the system prompts to select the files to upload.


  • Institutions should retain a complete copy of their application as access to the application submission folder will close when the review period begins.
  • File names and formats must match those provided in the Application for Approval to Offer Distance Education in New York State Document Checklist (page 3).
  • Do not submit a paper copy of the application. 


Please do not hesitate to send any questions relating to the application submission or review process to


This application is current as of March 2017. NYSED reserves the right to update and revise the application as needed, and the contents and required responses are subject to change.