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State Authorization

  1. Tennessee State Authorization:  This authorization is required by both State and Federal law.  It demonstrates that an educational institution is authorized to offer post-secondary degrees in Tennessee.  According to Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-7-2004(d), the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) is empowered to perform such authorization and maintain a list of qualified institutions.  This authorization works to satisfy Federal Title IV recertification and other federal state authorization requirements.  The following web link provides a list of non-profit institutions authorized to provide post-secondary degrees in Tennessee which includes all TICUA members:  http://www.tn.gov/thec/article/exempt-authorized-institutions.  

  2. THEC Regulatory Exemption Filing:  TICUA members meet the requirements to be exempt from Tennessee state regulatory oversight.  In order to maintain this status, members must annually complete the THEC Request for Information Form.  This form updates THEC’s information related to your status as a regulatory exempt institution.  The form is brief and should not take long to complete. 

    Please note that you DO NOT need to supply a letter of exemption as requested on page two.  This information is on file at the DPSA office.  TICUA member’s statuses have been reviewed and have been granted exempt status.

    Also, at the bottom of page 2 you are requested to describe your institution’s activities in Tennessee.  DPSA requests a brief few sentences indicating that you offer instructional courses leading to post-secondary credentials and use student recruiting strategies which comprise of a variety of advertising methods, high school visits, direct mail, email and phone practices.  To assist DPSA with any possible inquiries they may receive, they would like a list of all your physical locations in Tennessee.  Please include that list with your description of activities.

    Once completed you may either mail hard copies or electronically send a PDF file.

    Hard copies of the form and all attachments may be mailed to: Attn: Stephanie Bellard Chase Tennessee Higher Education Commission Parkway Towers, Suite 1900 404 James Robertson Parkway Nashville, TN 37243-0830


    PDF copies of the form and all attachments may be e-mailed to: thec.dpsa-application@tn.gov with the subject: Information Request Form-TCA§49-7-2004(a)(6)

    Questions concerning this form should be submitted to the THEC/DPSA official at (615)253-8874. 

    Please have your material to THEC by June 1 of each year.

  3. National Council – State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA): This authorization allows institutions to offer certain academic programs in other states without seeking authorization in each NC-SARA member state.  A full explanation of the benefits and limitations can be found on the NC-SARA website (www.nc-sara.org).  There are annual participation fees required to be submitted to NC-SARA and to Tennessee Portal (THEC).  The fees are based on the size of the college/university and can be found on the NC-SARA website.  The Tennessee fee mirrors that of the NC-SARA fee. 

    NC-SARA will notify the institution designee 90 days prior to the renewal deadline about the need to update information and pay the annual fees.  Within a few days of that notification, THEC will notify the contact that the institution must also complete the Tennessee State Supplemental Form and submit the state level fee.  Simply complete those forms and pay the NC-SARA and Tennessee fees prior to renewal deadline and your institution will maintain its membership in NC-SARA. 

    Please also be aware that NC-SARA does require a rather simple data report which asks you to aggregate your student enrollment in each NC-SARA state.  Both the data sharing agreement and reporting guide can be found on the NC-SARA homepage in the left-hand column under Resources.

THEC NC-SARA Basics PowerPoint, July 2016

 (Archived Tennessee State Authorization Letters)