In collaboration with its campus-wide partners, the Office for the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs is actively monitoring the status of federal and state regulations pertaining to the delivery of distance education.  Every U.S. state has enacted laws and regulations governing activities by educational providers in their jurisdiction, and each individual state has its own standards of when an educational provider has crossed a statutory threshold into regulation.  

The federal government is also seeking to tie an educational institution’s eligibility to provide federal financial aid to compliance with the distance education laws in each jurisdiction where educational activities are subject to state regulation.   In this regard, the Higher Education Act of 1965 was recently amended through 34 C.F.R. § 600.9(c) to include a provision that is of significance to distance education providers.

While the federal enforcement of this regulation is currently on hold, state laws pertaining to the authorization of distance education remain in effect.  The Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs is coordinating Duke's efforts to work with campus partners and with state agencies where authorization is required to ensure compliance with relevant distance education regulations.  Inquiries pertaining to distance education regulations at Duke should be addressed to Manager of Educational Compliance Hunter Stokes at hunter.stokes@duke.edu.  Please also consider visiting the website maintained by the Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance at Duke University for more information regarding the compliance programs administered across the university.

Distance Education Complaint Process

Federal regulations also require Duke to provide current and prospective students with the contact information for filing complaints with the appropriate agency in the state where the student resides.  Duke is committed to providing learning environments in which complaints are responded to promptly and with minimum distress and maximum protection to the parties. To that end, Duke’s distance education students receiving instruction beyond the borders of North Carolina are strongly encouraged - but are not required - to utilize the following process for resolving student complaints.

Step 1:  Distance education students should initially file a complaint with the school in which he/she is enrolled in accordance with the policies contained in the school’s bulletin and bylaws

Step 2:  Distance education students whose complaints remain unresolved through Step 1 of this process are encouraged to contact the Dean of the school in which he/she is enrolled at the following:

Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

Pratt School of Engineering

School of Nursing

School of Medicine

School of Law

Divinity School

Sanford School of Public Policy

Nicholas School of the Environment

Graduate School

The Fuqua School of Business

Step 3:  Distance education students whose complaints remain unresolved through Steps 1 and 2 of this process may contact Duke’s accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or by phone at 404-679-4500 in accordance with SACSCOC complaint procedures.

Distance education students may also file a complaint with the state in which they are residing and receiving instruction provided by Duke.

State Requirements for Distance Education