ACICS (the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) is a national accrediting body that has been in the news for the well-publicized failures of some of the institutions it has accredited and accusations of lax accrediting practices. The US Department of Education has removed ACICS from its list of "recognized" accreditors, but a lawsuit over that action is pending in the courts. In the meantime, ACICS-accredited schools have 18 months to obtain accreditation by another recognized accreditor in order to maintain the eligibility of their students to participate in federal financial aid programs.
As many of you know, we were disappointed with the state authorization of distance education rules recently released by the Department. That disappointment changed to confusion after we read a blog post by our good friend and colleague Russ Poulin of WCET.
As many of you know, the Department recently released new rules on the state authorization of distance education. Those rules contain what we and many others have viewed as a troubling definition of a "state authorization reciprocity agreement."
Recent conversations that our friend and colleague Russ Poulin of WCET has had with Department staff indicate that we're misinterpreting what they intended with that definition.
NC-SARA has responded to the new rules from the U.S. Department of Education affecting state authorization of distance education.
Please read our response here
The NC-SARA staff, with input and review from the NC-SARA National Council, the Regional Compacts, the State Portal Entities, and other appropriate parties, would like to announce the finalization of the first SARA Manual. This new document incorporates, updates, and replaces previous versions of SARA Policies and Standards and FAQs (retitled as “Explanatory Notes”). The new SARA Manual, now arranged by policy issue, includes procedures for use by states and institutions for SARA applications, renewals, payment of fees, and data collection. We encourage everyone to review it.
NC-SARA is proud to announce the addition of two more states; Kentucky and Pennsylvania. On November 1, 2016, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) voted to welcome these two states into SARA bringing the national total to 44 states plus the District of Columbia. These newest additions attest to the success of the SARA initiative to provide Higher Education a better way for states to oversee the delivery of postsecondary distance education.
The SARA National Council fall meeting will be taking place on October 20, 2016 at the Capitol Hilton in Washington DC. Here are the meeting materials thus far:
The enrollment data posted on the NC-SARA website on September 26, 2016 was reported to NC-SARA in May, 2016 in the first of what will be an annual reporting cycle. As expected, this first attempt was challenging for all of us – institutions and NC-SARA alike.
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.