Information for prospective institutions

What is SARA?

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is the interstate agreement that allows institutions in one SARA member state to offer online courses and learning placements in other SARA member states without obtaining state authorization in more than one state. Under the agreement, states recognize each other’s authorization and the institution's home state assumes responsibility for institutional activity in all SARA states.

How does an institution benefit from SARA?
  • Enables more efficient provision of distance education to a broader market
  • Reduces the number of other-state regulations to continually monitor and track
  • Reduces the number of applications and individual state requirements
  • Reduces costs: Applications, surety bonds, staff time, etc.
What activities are covered through participation in SARA??

Standard definitions and practices help SARA-affiliated institutions engage in a number of approved activities outside of their home state in SARA member states. Examples of activities include, but are not limited to, distance education, marketing, recruiting, internships, etc. Additional information regarding coverage and limitations is available in the SARA Policies and Standards Manual. It is also important to remember that SARA has no effect on state professional licensing requirements and does not excuse or exempt institutions that participate in federally funded programs from compliance with federal rules.

How does an institution become approved to participate in SARA?

Once the state in which your institution is legally domiciled (called the Home State) becomes a SARA member through their regional compact, your institution may apply through what's called a "State Portal Entity." The entity is a contact responsible for SARA oversight in your state's education agency. New England State Portal Entity contacts can be found by clicking here. The SARA membership application is the same regardless of your institution's home state or sector (public, private, etc.).

Visit to learn more about the application and process.

Ready to prepare your application?

NC-SARA Happenings 

See below to find Institutional Applications, Enrollment Data, and the NC-SARA Institutional Guide.

Institutional Application

Apply to participate in SARA today!
Click here for Application

NC-SARA Institution Directory

Click here for the Guide

NC-SARA Data Enrollment Reporting

Click here for the Enrollment Data

NEBHE SARA Introduction and Application Overview

Now that you’ve read through the application, take a second to watch what to do next!


Related Distance Education & State Authorization Articles

A Note to the NC-SARA Community Regarding COVID-19
March 5, 2020
By: Lori Williams, President & CEO, NC-SARA

WCET State Authorization Network Special Interest Team: Licensure Research & Disclosures
Stakeholder Meeting Tips, February 13, 2020
Stakeholder Engagement Tips, February 5, 2020

Webcast: Final Federal Regulations for State Authorization
Review and discussion of the new 2019 Federal Regulations (topics include: 2016 federal rule, early implementation, professional licensure disclosures, international campus) 
December 10, 2019
NC-SARA webcast with guest presenter Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP

Is Early Implementation of ED’s State Authorization for Distance Education Rule right for Your Institution?
November 11, 2019
By: Nancy Anderson, Caitlyn Shelby, and Paul Thompson, Cooley, LLP

D.C. Update: A busy year for Higher Ed General Updates, Accreditation, Distance Education and EdTech Regulations
Session handouts cataloging key documents (HEA base text & amendments, 2019 Fed Reg Announcement, WCET commentary)
November 6, 2019, WCET’s 31st Annual Meeting
Collated and distributed by WCET

ED Publishes Final Distance Education State Authorization for Distance Education Rule
November 5, 2019
By: Nancy Anderson, Caitlyn Shelby, and Paul Thompson, Cooley, LLP


Professors’ Slow, Steady Acceptance of Online Learning: A Survey
October 30, 2019
By: Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed

Guiding Questions: Steps for State Authorization ComplianceBy: Cheryl Dowd, WCET’s State Authorization Network (SAN)
distributed at Connecticut Office of Higher Education Distance Education Forum

Show me the money: Shifting legislative conversations about the cost of distance education
October 4, 2019
By: Van Davis @historydoc

SARA Manual

The authoritative guide to SARA Policy & Procedures.
Click here to read the manual

The State Authorization Guide

Click here to read

2020 Data Reporting Handbook

Click here to read