SARA and the licensed professions

If a program operates under SARA from another state and the program is intended to let a student become licensed to practice a profession (e.g. nursing, teaching, psychology), does the state in which the student lives have to let the student apply for licensure?

No. SARA has no effect on state professional licensing requirements. The National Council for SARA and the four regional compacts that administer SARA have an expectation, set forth in the reciprocity agreement, that any college that offers courses or programs potentially leading to professional licensure must keep all students informed as to whether such offerings actually meet state licensing requirements. NCS 3(5).

NOTE: In some cases a college may not know whether the program meets state standards because the state will not provide sufficient information. In those cases, the college must tell the student that the college does not know whether the program meets requirements in the student’s state of domicile and making any such determination is up to the student.

If a program is purely online except for field placements such as clinicals, student teaching, practica etc., do those placements fall under SARA or are they considered a “physical presence” that activates state law?

Almost all such field placements will fall under SARA, but many may also fall under the jurisdiction of state professional licensing boards. See NCS 3(5) and 6(2)(i).

If the state agency responsible for degree program authorization is also the state agency that determines, or helps determine, whether a program meets requirements for professional licensure, is there a conflict?

No. Although SARA will supersede the degree authorization function for such an agency for some purposes, it will not preclude that agency from performing other duties under state law, including determinations of whether a program meets requirements for state licensure in professional fields.