New England Education

New England State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

state map

The current process for authorization is too varied among the states to assure consistent consumer protection, too cumbersome and expensive for institutions that seek to provide education across state borders, and too fragmented to support our country’s architecture for quality assurance in higher education — the quality assurance “triad” of accrediting agencies, the federal government, and the states. A new, voluntary process of state oversight of distance education has been created to redress these problems. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary agreement among its member states and U.S. territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance-education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.

CURRENT PROBLEMS

  • States and territories regulate higher education within their borders, with varying requirements for out-of-state institutions that want to do business in the state.
  • Cross-state online education offered by colleges and universities is expanding dramatically.
  • At present there is no alternative to each institution separately pursuing any needed approvals (state authorization) in each state and territory where it enrolls students.
  • Consequently, thousands of institutions are required to contact and work through as many as 54 states and territories, and, sometimes, with multiple regulatory agencies in those states.
  • That process is inefficient, costly, and not effective in supporting access to high quality distance education throughout the country.

SOLUTION


Interesting facts:

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