What is SARA?

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary agreement designed to establish comparable standards for U.S. states and territories regulating postsecondary distance education. With its reciprocity provisions, the agreement enables institutions to gain approval from their “home state” to offer distance education in participating states without having to individually apply to each state for such approval. Participation in SARA reduces the costs of delivering online learning—resulting from inconsistent, complicated and expensive regulatory processes—saving institutions millions of dollars in fees while helping create access for students to high-quality online programs to meet the needs of their busy lives. 

The agreement is coordinated by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), in collaboration with the four regional higher education compacts. As the compact serving the northwest region, NEBHE is responsible for coordinating the participation of SARA member states in New England  through the NEBHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (N-SARA).

As of October 2018, 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are members of SARA. Over 1,800 colleges and universities participate.



What is NC-SARA and how are they connected to NEBHE?


NC-SARA or the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements was created in order to help oversee SARA regulations and policies in collaboration with the four regional higher education compacts- one of these being NEBHE. 


NC-SARA promotes SARA policies and works with stakeholders in higher education including distance education providers, accrediting agencies, state officials, regulators and higher education executive officers while building support for SARa through regular communications. NC-SARA and NEBHE work together to maintain the integrity of the agreement and provide assistance to institutions, students and states. NEBHE facilitates this assistance and these conversations specifically with those in the higher education community in New England, New Jersey and New York.


NC-SARA Website

NC-SARA Manual

The most comprehensive list of SARA policies and regulations.
Click here for the Manual

State Authorization Guide

Click here for the Guide

2020 SARA Data Reporting Handbook

Click here for the Handbook