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 summer 2017, students may complete an internship, clinical placement, practicum or student teaching for Longwood credit in any of the 50 states.

For more information about SARA, see

For questions about internships and state authorization, contact Dr. David Shoenthal, Associate Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, at

For questions about online courses and state authorization, contact Ashley Leslie, Director of the Digital Education Collaborative, at

Programs Leading to Professional Licensure

Any Longwood University degree program that potentially leads to professional licensure are designed to prepare students to meet the professional licensure requirements in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Information about such programs and public disclosures of professional licensure in other US states and territories is available on the Programs Leading to Professional Licensure page. Prospective and current students, particularly those outside of Virginia are strongly encouraged to work with program faculty about any questions that may arise. Additional questions may be sent in writing to the Office of Accreditation and Compliance.

Student Complaint Resolution

Longwood University is committed to providing ample means by which students can share their concerns and suggestions and formally issue a complaint or grievance.

Longwood University makes every effort to resolve student complaints using our internal processes. Policies and procedures are found in University catalogs or handbooks. It is expected that students will utilize all relevant internal processes in the effort to resolve a complaint.

In the unlikely event that a resolution does not occur using Longwood’s internal processes:

Students residing in Virginia who have exhausted all internal avenues provided by Longwood for the resolution of a complaint and for whom the complaint has not been resolved internally, may submit a Student Complaint Form to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for higher education. The form and more details on the formal SCHEV student complaint procedure can be found on the SCHEV Student Complaints web page.

*If a distance learning student residing out-of-state while enrolled in a Longwood course has exhausted the student complaint avenues provided by Longwood and the complaint has not been resolved internally, the student can submit a complaint about Longwood University with the state in which the student resides. Please note that if a student has a complaint that involves distance learning education offered under the terms and conditions of SARA, the student must file a complaint with the institution first to seek resolution. Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by institutional policy and the laws of the SARA institution’s home State. If a person bringing a complaint is not satisfied with the outcome of the University’s internal process for resolving complaints, the complaint (except for complaints about grades or student conduct violations) may be appealed, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to Longwood’s SARA portal entity (SCHEV). For purposes of this process, a complaint shall be defined as a formal assertion in writing that the terms of this agreement, or of laws, standards or regulations incorporated by the SARA Policies and Standards have been violated by the institution operating under the terms of SARA.

A list of all SARA member states is available on the NC-SARA website. More information can be found on their website directed toward students and related to the SARA complaint process.