CSG Leadership


CSG Committees

CSG Governance


CSG Regional Offices




Employment Opportunities


press room
Contact CSG Media Relations
The Council of State Governments

(859) 244-8246

Aug. 30, 2012


Distance Learning Agreement Draft Nears Completion

Agreement Would Make It Easier to Accredit Institutions Across State Lines

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Drafters of an interstate agreement on distance learning in higher education are entering the final stages of drafting a model agreement that will enhance the current regulatory environment and eliminate redundancies and inefficiencies for institutions and the states.
The drafting team, convened by The Council of State Governments’ National Center for Interstate Compacts and The Presidents’ Forum, met for the sixth time in August. Members include state regulators, staff from the existing regional higher education compacts, key stakeholders and compact experts from CSG.
“Serving on the drafting team has been so interesting. Each team member has been highly engaged and has focused on producing a model agreement for the benefit of all stakeholders,” said Sharyl Thompson, vice president of regulatory affairs and compliance at the American College of Education.
The goal of the compact is to reform the current regulatory review and approval processes for postsecondary institutions, especially for those colleges and universities with national footprints that offer degrees across state lines. The project came about as a joint effort between CSG and The Presidents’ Forum, a nonprofit organization that considers pressing issues affecting all sectors of higher education. The Lumina Foundation for Education is providing financial support.
The compact language is nearing completion, and the August meeting marks the last full, in-person meeting of the drafting team. Moving forward, the group will continue to meet electronically and in smaller subcommittees to clarify remaining language.
Before the recent drafting team meetings, CSG convened a public hearing to give stakeholders the opportunity to comment on the initial draft language. Additional opportunities for public comment will be provided. The drafting team hopes to have a national educational briefing in the fall and language ready for consideration by state legislatures starting in 2013.
“As an institutional representative on the team, I am hopeful that reciprocity for state authorization becomes a reality,” said Thompson.
“I’ve looked at the authorization issue from all sides and reciprocity is still the best answer to meet everyone’s needs, especially the student. We have made great progress on addressing a very difficult issue. I’m glad that we are able to get the Presidents’ Forum of Excelsior College, The Council of State Governments, and the four regional higher education compacts working toward creating a workable agreement,” said Russell Poulin, deputy director of research and analysis at WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies.
By acting as a forum and bringing together the regional compacts and other interested stakeholders, CSG, through its National Center for Interstate Compacts and with guidance from the advisory council and drafting team, is uniquely qualified to lead this effort toward interstate reciprocity with more than 75 years of experience in forging interstate agreements.


The Council of State Governments is our nation’s only organization serving all three branches of state government. CSG is a region-based forum that fosters the exchange of insights and ideas to help state officials shape public policy. This offers unparalleled regional, national and international opportunities to network, develop leaders, collaborate and create problem-solving partnerships.