34 CFR § 600.9 - State authorization.
(1) An institution described under §§ 600.4, 600.5, and 600.6 is legally authorized by a State if the State has a process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning the institution including enforcing applicable State laws, and the institution meets the provisions of paragraphs (a)(1)(i), (a)(1)(ii), or (b) of this section.
(A) The institution is established by name as an educational institution by a State through a charter, statute, constitutional provision, or other action issued by an appropriate State agency or State entity and is authorized to operate educational programs beyond secondary education, including programs leading to a degree or certificate.
(B) The institution complies with any applicable State approval or licensure requirements, except that the State may exempt the institution from any State approval or licensure requirements based on the institution's accreditation by one or more accrediting agencies recognized by the Secretary or based upon the institution being in operation for at least 20 years.
(ii) If an institution is established by a State on the basis of an authorization to conduct business in the State or to operate as a nonprofit charitable organization, but not established by name as an educational institution under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, the institution -
(A) By name, must be approved or licensed by the State to offer programs beyond secondary education, including programs leading to a degree or certificate; and
(B) May not be exempt from the State's approval or licensure requirements based on accreditation, years in operation, or other comparable exemption.
(2) The Secretary considers an institution to meet the provisions of paragraph (a)(1) of this section if the institution is authorized by name to offer educational programs beyond secondary education by -
(i) The Federal Government; or
(ii) As defined in 25 U.S.C. 1802(2), an Indian tribe, provided that the institution is located on tribal lands and the tribal government has a process to review and appropriately act on complaints concerning an institution and enforces applicable tribal requirements or laws.
(1) Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, an institution is considered to be legally authorized to operate educational programs beyond secondary education if it is exempt from State authorization as a religious institution under the State constitution or by State law.
(2) For purposes of paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a religious institution is an institution that -
(i) Is owned, controlled, operated, and maintained by a religious organization lawfully operating as a nonprofit religious corporation; and
(ii) Awards only religious degrees or certificates including, but not limited to, a certificate of Talmudic studies, an associate of Biblical studies, a bachelor of religious studies, a master of divinity, or a doctor of divinity.
(c) If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request.