Online college programs could face high registration fees in many states.

Colleges with online programs might withdraw from states, mostly in the northeast, that have small populations and stringent requirements for distance education courses when the Education Department’s (ED’s) “state authorization” regulation kicks in July 1.

Decision makers from online schools from across the country gathered March 28 at in Washington, D.C. for the annual Presidents’ Forum, hosted by web-based Excelsior College.

Presidents, provosts, and deans decried the state authorization rule, which will require schools to gain approval from every state in which they have a student.

Robert Mendenhall, president of Western Governors University, said during his address to the forum that certification fees vary widely from state to state, with many of the toughest approval processes in small states such as Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

If an online college doesn’t have many students in one of those small states, the high fees could mean the school would simply leave the state and no long offer classes there…

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