Internships and State Authorization

According to the U.S. Department of Education, "state authorization is a longstanding requirement in the Higher Education Act that requires institutions to be authorized in the state in which they are located as a condition for eligibility to receive Title IV federal financial aid."1 Changing legislation regarding what constitutes "physical presence" of a Virginia university in other states has resulted in varying rules on student internships, clinical placements, practica, and student teaching in off-site locations. There are some states in which Longwood is not allowed to place students because we lack state authorization.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary, regional approach to state authorization in which affiliated higher education institutions in member states agree to adhere to specific policies and standards related to distance education, supervised field experiences, and certain other activities. Virginia was approved as a SARA member state effective December 1, 2014. Longwood was approved as an affiliated institution on September 29, 2015, which allows our students to complete internships and other in-place field experiences for credit in any participating SARA state. There are also several states in which Longwood has received authorization or has confirmed that we do not need additional authorization for students to be placed there.

As of fall 2016, students may not complete an internship, clinical placement, practicum or student teaching for Longwood credit in the following states:

  • California
  • New York (OK for internships, but not approved for clinical placements in programs leading to professional licensure)

Some of these states are in the process of passing state legislation to join SARA. This list will be updated as states join SARA or Longwood secures authorization.          

For more information about SARA, see nc-sara.org.

For questions about internships and state authorization, contact Virginia Kinman, Assistant Vice President for Accreditation and Compliance, at oac@longwood.edu

For questions about online courses and state authorization, contact Julie Mersiowsky, Distance Education Director, at mersiowkyjc@longwood.edu.

Programs Leading to Professional Licensure

Longwood University degree programs that potentially lead to professional licensure are designed to prepare students to meet the requirements for professional licensure in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Any prospective or current student wishing to pursue professional licensure in a state other than Virginia should contact the Office of Accreditation and Compliance in writing to receive current contact information for the other state’s applicable licensing board and work with the faculty advisor or program coordinator to determine whether the other state’s requirements can be met through the Longwood degree program.

Office of Accreditation and Compliance, oac@longwood.edu.

FAQ - under construction

1 United States Department of Education, "State Authorization Questions and Answers: June 19, 2015," available from USDOE – Law & Guidance – Higher Education Rulemaking - Program Integrity Questions and Answers - State Authorization web page, http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/reg/hearulemaking/2009/sa.html.