By Jane Fernandez
The Los Angeles Community College District Distance Learning Program is implementing new rules for out-of-state students who want to take online classes.
The program, effective at all nine Los Angeles District community colleges, requires that the student’s home state approves enrollment in the state the student is seeking to take online classes from. Aside from the approval, the school is to meet all State and Federal Requirements towards admitting students.
Students will not be able to enroll in any online courses before they are approved. Those who do not reside in California and do not have a current State Authorization agreement will be excluded from the program.
East Los Angeles College is making sure that every student has approval from his or her home state, if not the school will be out of compliance with the rules.
Pauletta Daw, the education coordinator for the Distance Education Program, said that ELAC has not blocked any of the students yet, but the school will need to block students from taking online classes until they receive approval.
Every state has a status towards this implementation and some states have special requirements which may make it better for students looking for special programs or classes.
California has approval from approximately 22 states so far.
“If we have an approval from a state, then this will not stop any of the students at all,” said Daw. “Each state has to get their own approval.”
As long as California approves another state for students to take classes online, any student from the approved state can register for online classes.
Students should also inform themselves and seek guidance from the right person if they are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license in their home state. This is important to do before applying to an out of state school to make sure that the classes are equivalent.
If the school cannot provide distance learning to students in certain states or if the program the student is seeking is not offered, the school advises the applicant to continue checking since information to the programs change often.
Since 2011, eight out of state students have taken advantage of ELACs online classes. In the past academic year of 2013-2014, five out of state students took online classes.
Out-of-state students taking online classes at the campus does not affect ELAC students.
“Most (out-of-state) students just get one class but we have to be in compliance with state and federal regulations if not we will have to be penalized,” said Daw.
In the past the college had to pay approximately $40 million back to the federal state agency because appropriate approval was not received.
Active military personnel are exempt from state approval.
California college students who want to take online classes in another state will also need to wait for the state to approve them prior to registering.
In July 2011, The United States District Court for the District of Columbia stopped the Department of Education’s regulation from October 2010. The request for higher education institutions to obtain state authorization to legally offer distance courses to students out-of-state.
The Distance Learning Program provides a state-by-state summary of regulations and fees to help students through the process. For further information, students should reach out to the ELAC Distance Learning Center.