UMOnline Compliance and Policies

Policies Related to Online Learning at the University of Montana

The following Montana University System and University of Montana policies that are most relevant to UMOnline, can be found below. 

To keep you informed, we strive to keep this information as up-to-date as possible!

Regulatory Compliance

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a national initiative to provide more access to online courses while maintaining compliance standards with state regulatory agencies. SARA allows institutions to provide online courses outside of their own state borders by seeking and maintaining state approvals via a streamlined process. To learn more about SARA, please visit: nc-sara.org

A "State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement" is an agreement among its member states, districts and U.S. territories that establishes comparable standards for offering postsecondary distance education courses and programs. Participation in SARA provides UM with authorization to provide postsecondary distance education to students in other States and territories covered by the agreement. Limitations: SARA applies only to distance education activities conducted across state lines. SARA does not affect the applicability of general-purpose state laws such as business registries, general-purpose consumer protection laws, worker’s compensation laws and the like. SARA also does not affect the applicability of state professional licensing or other regulatory agency requirements.

The University of Montana is a member of NC-SARA. If you have questions about NC-SARA please reach out to Eric Vorkoeper.

Finance, Agreements and Oversight

UMOnline in collaboration with the academic department will develop a financial proforma to understand if a program is financially viable.

The financial proforma includes Enrollment estimates for a minimum of 5 years, Expenses and Revenue.

Tuition and Fees:

  • What is the price per credit hour to the student?
  • What is the total price (to the student) to complete the program?
  • Ensure tuition and fees are assessed accordingly.
  • Send student communications regarding tuition due dates and cancellation dates.

Program Costs, Margin and Profitability: 

  • What costs will be incurred to develop and deliver the program?
  • What is the cost to deliver instruction?
  • What are the non-instructional costs?
  • What are the expected costs of new support staff?
  • What is your expected revenue?
  • What type of support does the department need from the college or university?
  • What is the estimated margin?

Revenue Share:

  • What is the expected revenue distribution model for the program? 
  • Are you working with faculty from other departments? If so, have you considered sharing a percentage of the net profit with that department?

Program Feasibility & Growth:

  • Assess proposed program's operational feasibility, student’s return on educational investment (ROEI) and cost to deliver instruction and service.
  • Propose data-based changes to product design to improve feasibility.
  • Do you have enough faculty members interested in teaching online? Will you need additional faculty or staff?
  • Will your program be financially sustainable?
  • What is the estimated margin?
  • What is your planned enrollment at launch?
  • What is your planned enrollment in 5 years?
  • Do you have capacity constraints?

UMOnline will facilitate different types of agreements and the oversight of 3rd vendor parties’ relationships.

If you are interested in learning more about the OPM process, please reach out to Eric Vorkoeper, Director of Distance Education.

Montana Board of Regents, UM and UM IT Related Policy and Compliance

The University of Montana provides equal opportunity to its educational and administrative services, programs, and activities in accordance with federal and state law. This policy extends to the University’s electronic and information technologies and applies to their procurement, development, implementation and ongoing maintenance.

Ensuring equal and effective electronic and information technology access is the responsibility of all University administrators, faculty, and staff.

This is in accordance with federal and state laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), and the Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 508 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act as amended, and Title 18, Chapter 5, Part 603, and Title 18-5-604 and 49 of the Montana Code Annotated.

The full EITA Policy and Procedures can be found online or downloaded.

As laid out Under UMT Policy 1350, The University of Montana has adopted formal standards for development of official University websites. The standards fall into two categories: content, style and graphics, and accessibility.

Departments are responsible for adhering to these standards on all official University websites.

The Information Technology Office is responsible for coordinating with other campus organizations to implement the standards and to outline a system by which the standards shall be adopted across campus.

The email policy resides online, within the UM Solutions Center.

University of Montana's Cell Phone and Other Electronic Communication Devices and Services, Policy 818 is as follows: 

It is the policy of the University to allow for the purchase or reimbursement of electronic communication devices and/or services for use by employees to conduct official University business. Electronic communication devices and/or services are defined as wireless and cellular phones, personal device assistants (PDA), home internet services, and satellite telephones. Procurement of such devices and/or services will be authorized ONLY when the job responsibilities require the employee to be accessible at all times.

Authorization and approval of such expenditures shall reside with the departmental administrator and appropriate Executive Officer. Review and renewal of such expenditures must occur annually. Prior to the approval of any request for purchase/reimbursement of electronic devices and/or service payments, the job responsibilities of the individual will be thoroughly reviewed to ensure the electronic devices and/or services selected are warranted and will safeguard sensitive University information.

Payment for electronic communication devices and/or services can be made directly by the University or through a taxable allowance to qualified employees.

Information about UM HIPAA Privacy Policy and Procedures can be found on Curry Health Center's Website. 

The Library Policy for Course Reserve Materials is derived from the Fair Use provisions of the United States Copyright Act of 1976. The sole purpose of the course reserves is to facilitate the distribution of materials for educational use by students.

The University of Montana provides equal opportunity to its educational and administrative services, programs, and activities in accordance with federal and state law. This policy extends to the University’s electronic and information technologies and applies to their procurement, development, implementation and ongoing maintenance.

Ensuring equal and effective electronic and information technology access is the responsibility of all University administrators, faculty, and staff.

Online Service Complaint

Notification of Montana University System Complaint Process

In October 2010, the United States Department of Education released new regulations known as the "Program Integrity" rules, which are intended to address concerns relating to the integrity of academic programs offered by postsecondary educational institutions and authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (HEA), as amended. As part of those new rules, each state must have in place a process for receiving, reviewing, and responding to complaints concerning post-secondary educational institutions delivering educational services in that state, and each institution must inform students how to initiate complaints in the state where the student receives instruction. This notification provides information on the complaint process available to students of the Montana University System.

Pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 20-25-201 and Title 20, Chapter 15 Mont. Code Ann., the designated units of the Montana University System and the duly organized community college districts in the State of Montana are legally authorized to provide postsecondary education in the State of Montana. Together, these fourteen entities form the group of public postsecondary educational institutions in the State of Montana, all of which are under the authority and control of the Board of Regents of the Montana University System.

Those institutions are as follows:

  • Montana State University – Bozeman
  • Montana State University – Billings
  • Montana State University – Billings
  • College of Technology
  • Montana State University – Northern
  • Montana State University – Great Falls College of Technology
  • The University of Montana – Missoula
  • The University of Montana – Missoula College of Technology
  • The University of Montana – Helena College of Technology
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana College of Technology
  • The University of Montana – Western
  • Dawson Community College
  • Flathead Valley Community College
  • Miles Community College

These institutions are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, 8060 165th Avenue NE, Suite 100, Redmond, Washington 98052, (425) 558-4224. View Evidence of each institution's accreditation.

Students and prospective students of the Montana University System are encouraged to initially address complaints through the applicable institution's complaint or review procedures. For distance education students and on-campus students, you may contact the Provost Office, if you wish to learn more about the process and file a complaint.

Complaints that remain unresolved after engaging in the above-referenced process may be further pursued in the following manners:

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