Texas Education Code §61.051 (j) grants the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board authority to approve distance education programs. Coordinating Board Rules §4.261 and §4.275 authorize an institution's governing board or designee to approve degree programs offered at a distance (i.e., online, interactive-to-groups, and off-campus face-to-face).
Please note that the approval process can vary depending on the type of request and could include notifying all institutions of higher education within a 50-mile radius 60 days prior to implementation. Additionally, there may be a period in which other higher education institutions can file objections, followed by opportunities to reach a resolution. For full details, please see the Distance Education Modifications & Requests webpage on the THECB's website.
It is also important to note that the approval process for expanding a doctoral or special professional program to a distance delivery mode requires additional steps than the approval process for bachelor's and master's programs.
Self-supporting degree programs are academic programs (formerly defined as extension programs) for which the semester credit hours generated by course enrollment are not submitted for formula funding. They must adhere to the same standards as any formula-funded distance education program. Institutions offering self-supporting programs, whether on campus or off-campus face-to-face, must provide area notification with a copy to THECB (see Approval Process for Distance Education including Off-Campus Courses and Programs document on THECB's Distance Education Modifications & Requests webpage). Each year an institutional designee must also file a CBM00X Report with the THECB Educational Data Center regarding self-supporting programs offered by the institution.
In accordance with Section 54.545 of the Texas Education Code, Regents' Rule 40401 authorizes institutions to charge a reasonable fee related to self-supporting programs, and the Board of Regents delegates to the president of the institution the authority and responsibility for approving the amount of the fee.
Requests for both distance education and self-supporting programs should be submitted as a memorandum accompanied by the Coordinating Board's Certification Form for Electronically Delivered and Off-Campus Education Programs (Note: THECB may require additional or alternative forms depending on the type of request) to the UT System Office of Academic Affairs via firstname.lastname@example.org. The Office of Academic Affairs will review and may submit a letter of approval to the institution. If approved, the institution will upload the Distance Education request to the THECB's Distance Education Portal.