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Reciprocity (SARA)

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Reciprocal Agreements

Reciprocal agreements are the most promising way to ease the burdens of institutional compliance.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) establishes national standards for interstate offering of distance-education courses and programs plus standards for other activities including, but not limited to: experiential learning, recruiting, and marketing in a state other than the home state of the institution. SARA standards apply only in SARA states for institutions that “operate under” or “participate in” SARA.

SARA Manual - State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements Policy and Operations Manual

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Important Aspects of SARA
  • SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories. 
  • States join SARA through their respective regional compact (MHEC, NHEBE, SREB, WICHE).
  • States must renew their membership to SARA every other year.
  • State membership is voluntary – not all states are members.
  • Oversight of the institution is by the “home state” of the institution offering the instruction. The host state (where the student resides) can also work to resolve problems.
  • Institutions apply to their state to “operate under” or “participate in” SARA.
  • Institutions must pay an annual fee to NC-SARA to participate. (Some states require an additional fee to the state)
  • Institutions must renew their participation with their state on an annual basis.
  • SARA provides reciprocity compliance for many out of state activities of the institution, but not all. 
  • SARA Manual is available to be downloaded.
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