Related Distance Education & State Authorization Articles

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

Final Federal Regulations for State Authorization Released
WCET Commentary: These regulations are the final form of the proposed regulations regarding state authorization and accreditation issues released by the Department of Education in June 2019.
November 4, 2019
By: WCET State Authorization Network – Cheryl Dowd, Director and Dan Silverman, Assistant Director

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

Guiding Questions: Steps for State Authorization Compliance
By: 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

Compliance Requirements outside of SARA
State Authorization Network (More about their membership network)

CHEA Special Issue on USDE Negotiation
January 11, 2019

Online Learning Consortium: Accessibility and Procurement: What do we need to know?
November 18, 2018
By: Kelly Hermann, University of Phoenix




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 member 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?

NEBHE SARA Introduction and Application Overview


Data Collection & Reporting for SARA Institutions:

Institutions participating in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) are required to report annually to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC‐SARA) the number of students engaged in distance education who are enrolled in the institution. The enrollment data are disaggregated by state, territory, or district where the activity takes place.

Effective 2019, SARA institutions must also annually report the number of students engaged in certain out-of-state learning placements, such as rotations, internships, student teaching, etc., disaggregated by state and two‐digit Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes as assigned by the U.S. Department of Education.

2020 reporting updates, guidelines, and reporting window are forthcoming! Monitor NC-SARA’s blog for announcements.

SARA institutions should consult the following documents prior to completing enrollment reports:

Additional data information is available at