State of Illinois
2013 and 2014


Introduced 2/14/2014, by Sen. Pat McGuire


New Act
30 ILCS 105/5.855 new

    Creates the Higher Education Distance Learning Act. Provides that in recent years, distance education offered by institutions of higher learning has been increasing, with such distance education being offered on an interstate basis by many institutions. Provides that the provision of distance education is declared to affect the public safety and welfare and shall be subject to regulation and control in the public interest. Provides that the Board of Higher Education is authorized to participate in a state authorization reciprocity agreement on behalf of this State. Provides that the Board of Higher Education shall be the lead agency in coordinating interstate reciprocity for distance learning for participating institutions in this State. Sets forth provisions governing agreements where Illinois is the home state or the reciprocal state. Provides that this Act applies only to distance learning programs and authorizes the Board of Higher Education to adopt rules for the execution of its powers and duties under the Act. Creates the Distance Learning Fund to supplement support for the administration and enforcement of the Act. Amends the State Finance Act to create the Distance Learning Fund.

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1    AN ACT concerning education.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 1. Short Title. This Act may be cited as the Higher
5Education Distance Learning Act.
6    Section 5. Legislative declaration of public policy. In
7recent years, distance education offered by institutions of
8higher learning has been increasing, with such distance
9education being offered on an interstate basis by many
10institutions. Often, students participate in such education in
11states where the institution maintains no actual physical
12presence. Both the regulation and the availability of
13institutions to participate in distance learning have been
14hampered by multi-jurisdictional differences between the
15states and uneven regulation among the states for the same
16programs. Various multi-state compacts have addressed this
17problem by creating a voluntary system of interstate
18reciprocity for institutions of higher learning to streamline
19authorization and regulations for institutions of higher
20learning that voluntarily agree to participate in a reciprocity
21program. The provision of such distance education is hereby
22declared to affect the public safety and welfare and to be
23subject to regulation and control in the public interest. It is



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1further the public policy of this State that such a program of
2reciprocity shall be made available on a voluntary basis to
3participating institutions of higher learning and that any
4other institutions that choose not to participate shall
5continue to be regulated under current laws and regulations
6that govern distance learning.
7    Section 10. Definitions. In this Act:
8    "Board" means Board of Higher Education.
9    "Home state" means the state that regulates each
10participating institution of higher learning and its distance
11learning programs. A state cannot be the "home state" unless
12the institution either has a physical presence in that state or
13holds its principal institutional accreditation in that state.
14    "Institution of higher learning" or "institution" shall
15have the meaning ascribed to it under Section 10 of the Higher
16Education Student Assistance Act.
17    "Mediated instruction" means the delivery of instruction
18at a distance facilitated by technology, such as by
19teleconferencing, video-conferencing, or the Internet.
20    "Participation agreement" is the agreement that each
21willing participating institution is required to sign and abide
22by in order to take advantage of the reciprocity agreements
23granted by other states.
24    "Participating institution" means any institution that
25offers an associate degree or higher, in whole or in part,



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1through distance learning and has voluntarily or willingly
2entered into a participation agreement to be regulated by a
3participating home state with respect to institutional and
4program approval, complaints, and institutional and program
6    "Physical presence" means on-going occupation of a
7physical location for instructional purposes or maintenance of
8an administrative office to facilitate instruction.
9    "State" means any state, commonwealth, district, or
10territory of the United States that is a participant in good
11standing in a state authorization reciprocity agreement.
12    "State authorization reciprocity agreement" or
13"reciprocity agreement" means the voluntary agreement that
14establishes reciprocity between willing states for approval of
15postsecondary educational services delivered by distance
16learning beyond state boundaries.
17    Section 15. Authorization. The Board is authorized to
18participate in a state authorization reciprocity agreement on
19behalf of this State. The Board shall be the lead agency in
20coordinating interstate reciprocity for distance learning for
21participating institutions in this State.
22    Section 20. Illinois as the home state. Where this State
23has been designated as the home state for a participating
24institution, the Board shall approve, investigate, authorize,



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1monitor, and establish common standards, reauthorize,
2establish, and investigate complaints, and attend to other
3administrative matters involving distance learning, including
4complaints from students and others in this State and from
5other states where the participating institutions are offering
6distance learning under a reciprocity agreement.
7    Section 25. Illinois as the reciprocal state. Where another
8state has been designated as the home state, a participating
9institution has received required approval, the participating
10institution has no physical presence in this State, and the
11participating institution does not hold its principal
12institutional accreditation in this State, the Board shall
13allow such participating institution to offer distance
14learning in this State under a participating agreement
15authorized by this Act. The Board shall charge no fee for
16granting such reciprocal distance learning approval.
17    However, if the participating institution has another home
18state, but also has a physical presence State or has its
19principal institutional accreditation in this State, the Board
20may regulate the institution and its distance learning programs
21in this State and is not bound by this participating agreement.
22    Section 30. Application of the Act. This Act applies only
23to distance learning programs and does not affect other
24approvals of institutions or programs required under the law in



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1this State, nor does it affect any exemptions of institutions
2or programs granted by the law in this State. Except as
3required in Section 25 of this Act, any participating
4institution that remains eligible and in good standing under
5this Act shall not be required to obtain any other approval for
6distance learning required by Illinois law, unless the
7institution withdraws and is removed from this reciprocity
9    Section 35. Distance Learning Fund. The Distance Learning
10Fund is created as a special fund in the State treasury. All
11fees collected for the administration and enforcement of this
12Act shall be deposited into the Fund. All money in the Fund
13shall be used, subject to appropriation, by the Board to
14supplement support for the administration and enforcement of
15this Act and may not be used for any other purpose.
16    Section 90. Rules. The Board shall adopt rules for the
17execution of the powers and duties delegated to it by this Act,
18including, but not limited to, minimum standards for
19institutions and any fees required to cover the cost of the
20administration of this Act.
21    Section 500. The State Finance Act is amended by adding
22Section 5.855 as follows:



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1    (30 ILCS 105/5.855 new)
2    Sec. 5.855. The Distance Learning Fund.