RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Virginia higher education officials are making it easier for students to take online classes and for universities to offer them. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia announced the joining of a multi-state reciprocity agreement on Monday that deals with authorization and payment for distance learning courses. Colleges and universities that offer distance learning to students in other states were previously required to seek authorization from those states. Officials say that process is both costly and complex. The pact addresses those issues by automatically allowing schools to offer those classes to out-of-state students if the courses are approved by another state’s higher education organization. Officials say the hope is to have all 50 states and the District of Columbia ultimately participate in the agreement.