State Authorization of Distance Education and Professional Licensure Considerations

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.

Accordingly, the Office of the Vice Provost of Academic Affairs is coordinating Duke's efforts to work with campus partners and with governmental 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 sends e-mail) (phone:  919-681-1396).  Please also consider visiting the website maintained by Duke’s Office of Audit, Risk and Compliance(link is external) at is external) 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. Contact information for these regulatory agencies is included in the subsequent sections; SACSCOC and SARA North Carolina and Other State 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. Procedures for resolving grievances internally are outlined below.

As a first step, all students should initially seek resolution to their complaints by notifying the relevant department chair or program director in their area of study. Concerns may often be resolved to the student’s satisfaction after meeting and communicating with the department chair or program director. Students whose complaints remain unresolved at this level are encouraged to contact the Dean of the school in which he/she is enrolled at the following:

•    Trinity College of Arts and Sciences(link is external) (phone:  919-684-4863)
•    Pratt School of Engineering(link is external) (phone:  919-660-5389)
•    School of Nursing(link is external) (phone:  919-684-9444)
•    School of Medicine(link is external) (phone:  919-684-2455)
•    School of Law(link is external) (phone:  919-613-7001)
•    Divinity School(link is external) (phone:  919-660-3434)
•    Sanford School of Public Policy(link is external) (phone:  919-613-7309)
•    Nicholas School of the Environment(link is external) (phone:  919-613-8135)
•    Graduate School(link is external) (phone:  919-681-1560)
•    Fuqua School of Business(link is external) (phone:  919-660-7822)

If a student finds at any point their grievance is unable to be, or has not been, sufficiently resolved through the above process they are encouraged to utilize the centralized reporting channels established by Duke University.

The Office of Institutional Equity(link is external) at Duke oversees and administers policies and procedures for complaints and concerns(link is external). Any current or prospective students wishing to submit a complaint or grievance against the university at any point is strongly encouraged to use the Office of Institutional Equity’s Report An Incident form. 

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards (link is external) at Duke was established to investigate and resolve alleged violations of internal university policies in accordance with the Duke Community Standard in Practice(link is external), including issues of academic integrity. Any current or prospective students wishing to submit a Duke Community Standard related violation at any point is strongly encouraged to use the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards Incident Referral form. 

Those with questions pertaining to the student complaint process, or complaints that remain unresolved through the above procedures, are encouraged to contact the Office of the Provost, 220 Allen Building, Box 90005, Durham, North Carolina or (919) 681-1396 for additional information and/or guidance. 


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)(link is external), 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 41349 Raleigh, NC 27629 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. 

Furthermore, students may file a complaint(link is external) with the North Carolina Department of Justice(link is external) via this form(link is external). 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(link is external) established by Duke for more information about these compliance issues that are of particular concern to the field of nursing.  Students may also contact Dr. Ernie Rushing, Director of Recruitment and Admissions for the Duke University School of Nursing at 307 Trent Drive, Durham, North Carolina or (919) 668-6274 for more information about these considerations.   In addition, students may contact the Board of Nursing in their state for inquiries regarding nursing education and the School of Nursing's status with these regulatory agencies.

In accordance with NC-Sara and SARA North Carolina requirements, please find contact information for additional Professional Licensing Boards, by state, corresponding with educational programs offered by the following Duke University entities:

School of Medicine

Physician Assistant Program

Department of Physical Therapy

Duke University School of Law

Program in Education


Additional professional licensure disclosures as well as program contact information required by federal regulations can be found here.


State Authorization Resources

U.S. Department of Education(link is external)

WCET(link is external)

National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements(link is external)

SARA North Carolina(link is external)

National Council of State Boards of Nursing(link is external)