The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has just voted to join a multi-state reciprocity agreement that deals with authorization and payment for distance learning courses. It was prompted by the proliferation of online educational courses.
Colleges and universities that offer distance learning to students in other states are currently required to seek authorization from those states. Officials say that process is both costly and complex. The pact aims to address those issues by automatically allowing schools to offer those classes to out-of-state students if the courses are approved by another state's higher education organization.
Officials say the hope is to have all 50 states and the District of Columbia ultimately participate in the agreement.
New government figures released last month indicate about 5.4. Million students took at least one distance education course in the fall of 2012, although the rate of growth is a bit less than the pace previously estimated.