SARA – the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement – is an agreement between member states, territories and districts of the United States of America. States apply to their relevant regional education compact for membership in SARA, and they agree to deal with the distance education offerings of out-of-state SARA-participating institutions in accord with SARA’s national policies, rather than applying the state-specific policies they used prior to joining SARA – policies they still apply to out-of-state institutions that do not participate in SARA.
After being approved as a SARA member state, SARA states invite the SARA-eligible institutions located in their state to participate. (Institutional participation, like state membership, is voluntary.) Institutions that meet SARA requirements and are approved by their SARA member state may, with some limitations, offer their distance education programs to students in other SARA member states without going through those states’ normal, pre-SARA procedures and paying the states’ normal fees to obtain authorization/approval to provide such offerings.
Benefits to Institutions
- Enables more efficient provision of distance education to a broader market.
- Reduces number of other-state regulations to continually monitor and track.
- Reduces number of applications and individual state requirements.
- Reduces costs:
- Applications, surety bonds, agent licenses, etc.
- Staff (payroll and time).
- Reduced costs = potentially lower fees for students.