Responses Last Confirmed:

South Dakota Secretary of State

Agency Contact

Krista Rounds
605.773.2797
Krista.Rounds@state.sd.us

Additional Contact

Secretary of State Contact

Steve Barnett
605-773-3537
sdsos@state.sd.us
Topic

1: Important Agency Information to Note

a.
Provide any important information about your agency.

No response provided

Topic

2: Types of Educational Providers Authorized

a.
Indicate the types of institutions that your agency authorizes. Please provide a short explanation of any ambiguity in the comment section below.

_X__ Public, in-state degree granting institutions
_X__ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions
_X__ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions
_X__ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions
_X__ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
_X__ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
_X__ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions
_X__ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions
_X__ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions
_X__ Non-degree, for-profit institutions
____ Religious institutions
____ Tribally-controlled institutions
____ Federal Institutions
_X__ Municipal institutions

 

b.
Does your agency authorize specific academic programs offered by institutions, only institutions themselves, or both?

_X__ Institution   _____ Program   _____ Both

c.
Clarifying comments:

This authorization process/fee is only for institutions who have a physical presence in the state.

Topic

3: Accreditation

a.
Is accreditation required for an institution to be authorized in your state?

Yes

b.
If yes, please check all that apply as appropriate.

No response provided

Accreditation Required for:
____ Public, out-of-state degree granting institutions
____ Private, in-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Private, out-of-state, not-for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Private, in-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Private, out-of-state, for-profit degree granting institutions
____ Public, in-state, non-degree granting institutions
____ Public, out-of-state, non-degree granting institutions
____ Non-degree, not-for profit institutions
____ Non-degree, for-profit institutions
____ Religious institutions
____ Tribally-controlled institutions
____ Federal Institutions
____ Municipal institutions

c.
Clarifying comments:

All institutions must be accredited from an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education as a regional OR national institutional accrediting agency. Therefore, South Dakota did not check any of the boxes above, as either is acceptable, but only one is requiredInstitutions operating under an affiliation agreement whose terms make an accredited postsecondary institution responsible for awarding academic credit and educational credentials to its students and maintaining transcripts are also eligible for authorization in the State.

Topic

4: Exemptions

a.
Are certain institutions or programs exempt by law or policy from your state authorization requirements?

Institutions with a physical presence in South Dakota are exempt if they are one of the following types of institutions:

  • Established by the government of the United States
  • Established by the government of an Indian tribe whose tribal lands are located, in whole or in part, in this state
  • Established or owned, controlled, operated, and maintained by a religious organization lawfully operating as a nonprofit religious corporation and awarding only religious degrees or certificates for the purpose of conferring clerical status or authority within that religion
  • Subject to the jurisdiction and regulations to the South Dakota Cosmetology Commission.

https://sdsos.gov/general-information/postsecondary-education/exempt- postsecondary-institutions.aspx

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions? Which types of programs?

No response provided

c.
Web link for exemptions.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

5: Authorization of Distance Education

a.
Does your agency require purely online programs offered by out-of-state institutions to be authorized without regard to physical presence?

No

b.
If not, does your agency determine whether an institution must be authorized based on a physical presence (“operating”) standard?

Yes

c.
Does your agency require correspondence study programs to be authorized without regard to physical presence?

No

d.
Clarifying comments:

Online programs with no physical presence in the state do not undergo a formal authorization process. However, per SDCL 13-49-27.1, all institutions offering degrees in the state must:

  1. Be accredited through a regional or national institutional accrediting agency OR be actively seeking accreditation from a regional or national institutional accrediting agency for a period of no more than five years,

OR;

  1. Be participating in any federal financial assistance program authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Religious institutions that offer credit or degrees solely for the purpose of conferring status or authority within that religion are exempt from these requirements.

Topic

6: Physical Presence Policy

a.
If your agency uses a physical presence standard, how does your agency define physical presence?

Physical Presence in South Dakota is defined as “the ongoing occupation of a physical location in South Dakota for instructional purposes or the maintenance of an administrative office to facilitate instruction.

The following activities DO NOT trigger physical presence in South Dakota:

  • Delivery of distance education courses online, through correspondence or broadcast;
  • Advertising;
  • Recruiting;
  • Contractual arrangements to acquire goods or services, including education or examination proctoring services, with institutions or businesses physically located in South Dakota;
  • Courses delivered on military installations by an accredited institution limited to active and reserve military personnel, dependents of military personnel, and civilian employees of the military installation;
  • Field trips;
  • Operation of a server or other electronic service device;
  • Short courses (twenty classroom hours or less, or the equivalent thereof);
  • Courses for which fewer than 25% of the class requirements take place in a setting where the instructor and students physically meet together;
  • Experiential learning opportunities, such as a clinical, practicum, residency, or internship, if the offering institution has already obtained all the necessary professional and licensure approvals necessary to conduct the learning opportunity in the state, and that only ten students from each institution are physical present simultaneously at a single field site.
c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

7: Student Complaints - SARA Participating Institutions

a.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about SARA participating Institutions.

Authorization under SARA is handed by the State Portal Entity, which in South Dakota is the South Dakota Board of Regents.

The complaint procedures for SD-SARA can be found in SDBOR Policy 1:29 – South Dakota State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Complaints must first be processed through the institution’s own procedures for resolution of complaints. The SARA administrator will verify that all complaints have been received and processed by the institution, and will not consider complaints that have not gone through the institutional complaint process. Complainants who processed their complaints through institutional complaint procedures but remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the institutional process may request that the SARA administrator review the institutional resolution of the complaint. Complaints to the SARA administrator must specify:

  • The basis for believing that the institutional action is inconsistent with the accreditation or SARA requirements,
  • The harm caused to the complainant by virtue of the inconsistency, and
  • The corrective action that the complainant seeks.
  • If the complainant alleges that institutional documents were misleading, the request should contain the portions of the catalog, letters or email exchanged between the complainant and the institution, and should identify with specificity statements that the complainant found to be misleading and what the complainant understood the statements to mean.

If the complaint meets the requirements above, the SARA Administrator will either request information from the institution regarding the complaint. The institution must file a response with the SARA Administrator within sixty days. The SARA Administrator may attempt to arrange an informal resolution to the complaint. If acceptable to both the institution & the complainant, the matter is resolved. If an informal resolution cannot be reached within 30 calendar days, the SARA administrator shall issue a final, binding, resolution to the parties no later than 15 days after the time allowed for informal resolution has lapsed. The final decision of SARA Administrator may be appealed ot the Board of Regents within 30 calendar days after the resolution is issued, at which time it will be referred to the Office of Hearing Examiners for hearing and for recommended findings of fact, conclusions of law and disposition. The Board of Regents will review and take action on the Office of Hearing Examiners’ recommended findings of fact, conclusions of law and disposition, and the decision will be final.

 

b.
Is the process handled all within your agency or do you divide consumer protection and student complaint duties dependent on the type of institution (Public, Private, Technical, etc.)?

There is no difference in the procedure based on the type of institution.

 

c.
Web link for student complaints – SARA participating institutions.
d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

8: Student Complaints - Non-SARA Participating Institutions

a.
Please describe the process for handling complaints about out-of-state postsecondary institutions or programs?

Per SDCL 13-48-40, The Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Protection, shall review and act on any complaint concerning postsecondary institutions providing educational programs at physical locations in the state, including, as necessary requirement a postsecondary institution to cease its operations in the state. (“Complaint” is defined as an allegation that a postsecondary institution does not meet the requirements of SDCL Chapter 13-48; or an allegation raised by a student that a postsecondary institution does not meet standards established by the institution’s accrediting agency.) The attorney general shall refer the complaint to the institution and provide the institution with no less than thirty days to respond to the matters set forth in the complaint, including an opportunity to demonstrate any actions the institution has taken or plans to take in response to the complaint, and to consider whether the complainant has exhausted all available administrative remedies within the institution’s policies and procedures. In administering the requirements of this section, the attorney general may refer a complaint to an institution’s accrediting agency for review and investigation, with the accrediting agency providing a report of the agency’s investigation to the attorney general for further disposition.

b.
Is the process handled all within your agency or do you divide consumer protection and student complaint duties dependent on the type of institution (Public, Private, Technical, etc.)?

Complaints are handled through the South Dakota Attorney General’s office, not the South Dakota Secretary of State’s office. That does not change based on the type of institution.

 

c.
Does this complaint process extend to institutions not authorized by the agency that may enroll residents of the state (such as explicitly distance education programs with no physical presence or exempt institutions)?

No. Students enrolled in 100% distance education programs would refer those complaints to the home state of the institution, as that state would have jurisdiction over the institution.

d.
Who is the contact person at your agency for receiving complaints?
  • Contact Name – Jason Ravnsborg
  • Title – Attorney General
  • Agency – Office of the Attorney General, Division of Consumer Protection
  • Address – 1302 E. Hwy 13, Suite 3, Pierre, SD 57501-8053
  • Email – n/a
  • Phone – 1-800-300-1986 (In-State Only); 605-773-4400
  • URL - https://consumer.sd.gov/
e.
Web link for the complaint form.
f.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

9: Surety Bonds

a.
Does your state require a Surety Bond for authorized out-of-state institutions?

No

b.
Web link for surety bonds.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

10: Tuition Refund Policy

a.
Does your state have a Tuition Refund Policy Requirement?

South Dakota does not have a state-specific tuition refund policy.

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

No response provided

c.
Web link for tuition refund policy.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

11: Student Tuition Recovery Fund

a.
Does your state have a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (or similar fund for school closure)?

No

b.
If yes, for what types of institutions?

No response provided

c.
Web link for student tuition recovery fund.

No response provided

d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

12: Reporting

a.
What kinds of information or data must an institution report to your agency as a condition for continued out-of-state authorization?

There is no reporting requirement.

b.
How frequently do institutions report data?

No response provided

c.
Is this information published or shared publicly?

No response provided

d.
Web link for reporting.

No response provided

e.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

13: Enforcement

a.
What are possible consequences of institutional non-compliance?

There are no listed consequences.

b.
Web link for enforcement information.

No response provided

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

14: Application Process

a.
Please provide a short description of the application process to obtain state authorization.

The application process is only for institutions who wish to have a physical presence in South Dakota. Those institutions will fill out the form on the Secretary of State’s website, and submit the completed form to the address or email indicated on the form, along with the initial $500 filing fee. The institution must renew their authorization annually, and the renewal filing fee is $250.

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

15: Fees Associated with Authorization

a.
Is there an application fee associated with the authorization process?

Yes. For institutions wishing to have a physical presence in South Dakota, there is a $500 initial filing fee. Annual renewal filing fees are $250.

b.
If yes, what is the fee or fee schedule?

No response provided

c.
Web link for fee information.
d.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

16: Records Retention

a.
When a school closes, what is the process your state uses to ensure that transcripts/records are kept available?

There is no process within the Secretary of State’s office. SOS relies on the teach-out procedures from HLC, which indicates where records are sent.

b.
From what agency do students request their transcripts/records from a closed school?

They would need to contact HLC since Secretary of State’s office does not deal with retention of records

Agency Name

Contact Person

Contact Phone

Contact Address

Contact Email

Contact website

c.
Clarifying comments:

No response provided

Topic

17: Additional Information

a.
Is there anything else about the authorization process in your state that we and others ought to know about?

As stated previously, South Dakota is unique in that non-SARA authorization and SARA authorization are handled by two different entities, and that distance education outside of SARA is not heavily regulated, as no formal authorization or registration is required.