State Authorization of Distance Education and Professional Licensure Considerations


In collaboration with its campus-wide partners, the Office of 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. While the federal enforcement of distance educational regulations in this regard may go into effect in the future, state laws pertaining to the authorization of distance education remain in effect.

Accordingly, the Office of the Vice Provost of 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 Assistant Vice Provost and Manager of Educational Compliance Hunter Stokes at (phone:  919-681-1396).  Please also consider visiting the website maintained by Duke's Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance for more information regarding compliance programs administered across the University community.

Student Complaints

Duke University Policies and Procedures

Federal regulations require Duke to provide current and prospective students with the contact information for filing complaints with appropriate state agencies and other regulatory entities. Duke is committed to providing learning environments in which complaints arising out of on-campus and distance-based programs are responded to promptly and with maximum protection to the parties. To that end, the Office of Institutional Equity at Duke administers policies and procedures for complaints and concerns arising out of institutional equity considerations.  For grievances unrelated to institutional equity matters, students are encouraged to utilize the following process for resolving complaints at the University.

Step 1:     Students should initially file a complaint with the school in which he/she is enrolled in accordance with the Duke Community Standard in Practice as well as the policies contained in the school’s bulletin and bylaws. Such student complaint policies can be found in the bulletins administered by the schools at the following:

Trinity College of Arts and Sciences (pages 60-61)

Pratt School of Engineering (pages 27-28; 35-38; 49-50; and 55-58)

School of Nursing (pages 57-60)

School of Medicine (pages 46-49)

School of Law (page 43)

Divinity School (pages 17, 42, and 52)

Sanford School of Public Policy (pages 25-28)

Nicholas School of the Environment (page 60)

Graduate School (pages 61-63)

Fuqua School of Business (pages 47-61)

Step 2: 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:


Students whose complaints remain unresolved through the internal process overseen by the University 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.

SARA North Carolina and Other State Entities

Duke University is a participating institution in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) administered by SARA North Carolina. Students may file a complaint via the process and form established by SARA North Carolina at P.O. Box 14103, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709 or by phone at (919) 549-8614, ext. 4667 and email at

In addition to the grievance procedures set forth by SARA North Carolina, students may a file a complaint with the state in which they are residing and receiving instruction provided by Duke.  Additional state contact information for student complaints can be found here.

Furthermore, students may file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice via this form.  Residents of the State of North Carolina may call the Department at (877) 566-7226 while individuals residing outside the State of North Carolina may contact the Department at (919) 716-6000.  Individuals that wish to contact the Department in Spanish are encouraged to call the Department at (919) 716-0058.

Please also use the following address to mail complaints to the Department:

Consumer Protection Division
Attorney General’s Office
Mail Service Center 9001
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001

Professional Licensure Programs

Students interested in enrolling in programs leading to professional licensure at the School of Nursing are highly encouraged to visit a webpage established by Duke for more information about these compliance issues that are of particular concern to the field of nursing. Students may also contact the Board of Nursing in their state for inquiries regarding nursing education and the School of Nursing's status with these regulatory agencies.