SARA: A Monument to Sanity and Rational Policymaking

Updated by on Mon, 11/22/2021 - 12:14

A recent article featured in EVOLLLUTION highlights the history and purpose of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). Penned by Ed Klonoski, president of Charter Oak State College and chair of the New England Board of Higher Education’s SARA Regional Steering Committee, the op-ed paints “a vivid picture” of the “messy, confusing, and costly” process of managing state authorization of higher education institutions before the national reciprocity system was established.

In the piece, Klonoski writes, “The next generation of higher education leaders needs to understand what created the need for SARA and why this process is one of the most important innovations in recent memory. The systemic chaos [that preceded SARA as states struggled to regulate interstate distance education programs] was a massive disservice to our nation’s higher education system and tremendously challenging and disruptive to the students we aim to serve.” 

Klonoski concludes, “In the end, our community created the SARA requirements and advocated for their adoption before every state legislature. I did this lobbying in my state of Connecticut, and it was difficult and ugly, yet SARA prevailed and remains a monument to sanity and rational policymaking. It was a moment when policy was driven by the actual user community…Today, within the structure of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, states and institutions can work together to remove barriers to postsecondary opportunity and make it easier, more seamless, for students to gain access to the programs they want to pursue.”