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Policy - Approval and Reporting of Academic Activities at an Additional Location

Policy detailing the approval process and reporting requirement for academic activities at an additional location, including definitions, context, and procedures.

This is a summary of the Policy on Approval and Reporting of Academic Activities at an Additional Location. Click here to view the official policy in its entirety in the UW-Madison Policy Library.

Definition of an “additional location”:

Additional Location: A place, geographically separate from UW-Madison, where instruction takes place and students can do one or more of the following:

  • Complete 50 percent or more of the courses leading to a degree program.
  • Complete 50 percent or more of the courses leading to a Title IV eligible certificate.
  • Complete a degree program that they began at another institution even if the degree completion program provides less than 50 percent of the courses leading to a degree program.

This document covers academic activities that students take for credit and result in the conferring of a for-credit UW-Madison credential – degree, major, certificate or other formally documented credential. As such, this policy does not apply to non-credit activity.

Distance education programs are required to have governance approval under other policy but they are not considered additional locations.

Study-abroad, field trip courses, internships, externships, or practica are not considered academic activities at additional locations under this policy because they do not typically total 50 percent or more of the courses leading to a for-credit UW-Madison credential.

This is the definition of additional location per Higher Learning Commission, December 2017.


Like many universities, UW-Madison delivers some courses and programs at additional locations that are geographically separate from the UW-Madison campus. This policy is intended to support the planning and implementation of such programs, to ensure that they are equivalent in quality to the UW-Madison distance and campus-based programs; and to comply with accreditation and federal regulations.

As an alternative to establishing an additional location, credit transfer agreements, field trips, internship arrangements, and study abroad may be built into programs to increase students’ opportunities for off-campus experiences. Study-abroad, field trip courses, internships, externships, and practica are not considered additional locations under this policy because they do not typically total 50 percent or more of the courses leading to a for-credit UW-Madison credential.

It is a *federal regulatory requirement* that additional locations be reported to our regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The U.S. Department of Education relies on the information reported by universities to the HLC to assure compliance with the federal financial aid regulations. Students seeking federal financial aid for off-campus programs and courses trigger a compliance check from the Department of Education, and may trigger an audit. UW System Administration policy also requires that such activity be reported to them and that, for additional locations in Wisconsin, other UWs be notified of this activity.

In summary, delivering academic activities at an additional location that result in the conferring of a for-credit UW-Madison credential – degree, major, certificate or other formally documented credential – require UAPC review and approval for implementation and prior notification to UW System Administration, the HLC and other agencies.

Off-campus academic activities that are delivered outside the State of Wisconsin will also require the approval of the agencies that govern higher education in those out-of-state jurisdictions. Off-campus academic activities that are delivered outside of the United States require additional documentation and approval steps.

Distance education programs are not considered to be additional locations, but they are required to have governance approval covered under different policy provisions (


The main purpose of the governance approval process is to assure good communication among the University groups and offices that need to be aware of additional locations, to assure that the programs are appropriately administered to support student success, and to comply with accreditation and federal guidelines.

The program faculty and staff should prepare a short proposal that describes the academic activities at an additional location using the outline below.

The proposal is to be endorsed by the school/college faculty through the Academic Planning Council or according to established school/college practice. Subsequently, the proposal should be forwarded to the provost with a supporting cover memo from the dean. If the program is a graduate-level program, the dean of the Graduate School should also be copied. The Graduate Faculty Executive Committee will be asked to consider proposals that relate to graduate programs prior to consideration by the UAPC. Proposals will be considered by the UAPC. After a proposal has been endorsed by the UAPC and supported by the provost, it will be reported to the appropriate University offices and to the necessary agencies.

UW System Administration, the HLC, out-of-state agencies, or international agencies may require additional approvals. The program faculty may need to prepare additional documentation to advance those approvals. The provost’s office will assist program faculty and staff with the process for working through all necessary approval and reporting requirements for these other agencies.

The program and/or sponsoring dean’s office will need to prepare materials if an HLC site visit is required and may need to support additional costs. A program review will be required five years after implementation.

Format for Proposals

Program faculty should prepare a proposal in Lumen Programs. The following questions will be need to be answered in the form.

  1. Identify the academic home (i.e. department and school/college) and the key faculty and their roles.
  2. Provide the name and street address of the additional location requested.
  3. Is a memo of understanding prepared for the additional location site? If yes, append.
  4. The date at which the location is projected to begin operation. Specify when the location will open to prepare for students and also the first term that students will enroll.
  5. What for-credit degree/major or certificate programs will be provided at the location? What relationship will they have to their corresponding on-campus program(s)?
  6. Will the location be permanent, with no set end date, or is the location established for a set period of time or number of cohort?
  7. What is the level of degree completion at the new additional location? (Total Degree, Adult Degree completion, 50-99% completion, etc.)
  8. Describe the target population of students. Does the population of students targeted for the proposed additional location represent a marked change from the type of students already served by the program? If yes, explain how the distinct needs of these students will be met. (Example: an additional location for open-access undergraduates, which would be distinct from on-campus programs; an additional location to serve part-time urban working adults for a program that has served traditional full-time, face-to-face students.)
  9. Briefly describe the planning process for the additional location, including the involvement of the various constituencies in that process, the management of the additional location, and how the management of the additional location fits into the organizational structure of the main campus.
  10. Provide a description of physical facilities and equipment to support the programs that will be offered at the additional location.
  11. What is the evidence that the facilities at the additional location will meet the needs of the students and the curriculum?
  12. What controls are in place to ensure that the information presented to all the constituencies in advertising, brochures and other communications will be accurate?
  13. What are the projected revenues and expenses? What are the projected enrollment and staffing needs? How will the proposing school/college ensure that financial planning and budgeting for the additional location is realistic?
  14. How will instruction be effectively overseen at the additional location?
  15. What impact, if any, will the new additional location have on instructional capacity at existing location(s)?
  16. Does the additional location involve either dual credit or accelerated delivery (earning of semester credit hours or equivalent routinely exceeds 20 in 4 months or 60 in 12 months)? If so, please explain.
  17. How will the additional location be staffed? Include information on how instructor qualifications will be evaluated in alignment with the University’s policies on minimum instructor qualifications. Include information on hiring and staffing practices and how they are aligned with University policy.
  18. What is the process for selecting, training and orienting faculty and other instructors for the additional location? What special professional development, support or released time will be provided for faculty and other instructors?
  19. What is the evidence that necessary academic and student services will be effectively delivered, supported, and managed at the additional location(s)?
  20. Describe the process for monitoring, evaluating and improving the overall effectiveness and quality of the offerings.
  21. Describe the process for assessing and improving student learning, including student persistence and completion, in the offerings.
  22. How are the assessment and evaluation measures and techniques used for the additional location equivalent to those for assessment and evaluation at the main campus or other locations? If there are differences, why are these differences appropriate?
  23. Consult with the Office of Risk Management as it relates to off-campus academic classes and describe how risk management concerns have been addressed.

Official Policy Documents

Approval and Reporting Guidelines for Academic Activities at an Additional Location (28 December 2017)

Related Web Pages

Guidelines for Holding Classes and Related Educational Activities Off Campus

Distance Education, State Authorization, and Disclosures

Policy History

APIR Administrative Revisions: 29 November 2019 (to conform to Policy Library requirements)

APIR Administrative Revisions: 28 December 2017 (to align with changing HLC and UW System policy)

APIR Technical Edits: September 2008

Adopted by the University Academic Planning Council: 18 April 2008   

Keywordsoff-campus, branch   Doc ID116437
OwnerKaren M.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2022-02-02 11:03:15Updated2022-02-03 15:24:58
SitesAcademic Planning
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