Welcome to New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut as the newest members of SARA! On December 5th, the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) voted to accept the northern states of New Jersey followed by New York and Connecticut (December 9th) into SARA bringing the total SARA states to an astounding count of 47 plus the District of Columbia.
At the September 13, 2016 meeting of the NYS Board of Regents, New York State’s participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) was approved. This action has New York institutions and students one step closer to enjoying the benefits of SARA participation such as providing set quality standards and safeguards, improving consumer protection, creating a more efficient provision of distance education to a broader market, enhancing the overall quality of distance education, and reducing rapidly growing institutional costs that can be passed along to students.
The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is very pleased to announce that West Virginia State University is the 1,000th institution to participate in SARA, a nationwide initiative of states and institutions that makes distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and makes it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education while improving consumer protection.
NC-SARA has issued provisions affecting SARA institutions’ submission of their enrollment data for this spring. Institutions will report during the period May 9-20, using a secure link that will be sent to each SARA institution. There is no substantive change to the earlier draft release of the two documents relating to enrollment data submission (NC-SARA Data Reporting Guide and NC-SARA Data Sharing Agreement). To facilitate submission, however, rather than having institutions separately submit a signed data sharing agreement, institutional approval of the agreement has been incorporated by reference into the institution’s submission of its data.
SARA recently received attention from the NY Times, which reported on consumer groups’ appeal to NY’s Commissioner of Education, urging that NY not join SARA. In response, Paul Lingenfelter, chair of NC-SARA’s Board, wrote letters to the editor of the NY Times (see below ) and the Commissioner.
NC-SARA has applied to the IRS for 501(c)(3) non-profit status under the federal tax code. Securing that status will require several changes in operations; our goal is to make those changes without any inconvenience to SARA states and SARA institutions.
To ensure that the first round of institutional enrollment reporting will not be affected by these planned changes, SARA institutions’ enrollment reporting to NC-SARA will be postponed until May, 2016, one month following the conclusion of required reporting of fall 2015 enrollments to IPEDS. Additional details will be provided in early spring 2016.
Boulder, Colorado – As of June 29, 2015, twenty-seven states have now joined the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) initiative, a key moment for SARA and higher education. In the past month, we have had the pleasure of welcoming Iowa, approved by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) to join the Midwestern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA) on June 1. Tennessee, Arkansas, and Oklahoma soon followed with approval by Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) to join the Southern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (S-SARA) on June 29.
New Mexico and Wyoming have been approved by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to become members of the WICHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (W-SARA). In addition, Vermont has been approved by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) as the second state in the region to join the New England State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (N-SARA).
On February 27, 2015, Senator Marty Block introduced SB 634, which would authorize California to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).