A problem and the SARA solution
Historically, the prior process to obtain state authorization was too varied among the states to assure consistent consumer protection, too cumbersome and expensive for institutions and too fragmented to support our country’s architecture for quality assurance in higher education. Could there be an answer to an impractical process while increasing quality educational attainment?
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) has been the catalyst for change in state authorization. When states become members of SARA, they agree to follow uniform processes for approving eligible institutions to participate in SARA. The agreement’s uniform standards and policies provide benefits to both states and institutions carrying out distance education in multiple states by resolving the patchwork of authorization issues previously experienced.
The national scope has created new areas for collaboration between state regulators, policymakers, accreditors and institutional leaders, acting as an accelerator, driving efficient, effective state-level reciprocity forward as the answer.
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.