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 northeast 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 2022, 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are members of SARA. Over 2,300 colleges and universities participate nationally.