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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

SARA is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for the approval of interstate postsecondary distance education courses and programs.

On September 13, 2016, the New York State Board of Regents adopted new regulations requiring out-of-state institutions of higher education to seek and obtain New York State Education Department (NYSED) approval to offer distance education to New York State residents, and to permit the Department to enter into the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). New York State joined SARA on December 9, 2016.

New York State institutions participating in SARA are authorized to conduct distance education activity in other SARA member states under the terms and provisions of SARA. Please refer to the SARA Policy and Operations Manual for more information about coverage under the SARA agreement. A list of states and institutions participating in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is available on the SARA States & Institutions webpage.

Please note: Clinical placements in New York State’s licensed professions trigger a physical presence in New York State and require prior approval or exemption from the New York State Office of Professions.  This includes out-of-state SARA institutions. For additional information contact the Office of Professions at opprogs@nysed.gov or (518) 474‐3817, ext. 360.

Eligibility

In accordance with New York State regulation 8 CRR-NY 49-1.2, to be eligible for participation in SARA through New York State, higher education institutions must: 

  1. be legally domiciled in New York State and be authorized by the Board of Regents to confer post-secondary degrees in New York State and offer registered degree programs in New York State;
  2. possess and maintain institutional accreditation, by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, including distance education within the scope of its recognition;
  3. for non-public institutions only, possess a financial responsibility index score from the U.S. Department of Education that is 1.5 or above;
  4. agree to be bound by the SARA policies and standards and to be responsible for the actions of any third-party providers used by the institution to engage in operations under SARA;
  5. agree to remain responsible for compliance with the requirements of SARA and applicable laws and regulations, regardless of whether the institution engages in operations under the agreement itself, or through a third-party provider;
  6. agree to notify NYSED of any adverse actions by its accreditor or any negative changes to its accreditation status;
  7. agree to notify in writing all students in a course or program that customarily leads to professional licensure or certification, or which a student could reasonably believe leads to such licensure or certification, whether or not the course or program meets requirements for licensure or certification in the state where the student resides. If an institution does not know whether the course or program meets licensure requirements in the student’s state of residence, the institution may meet this requirement by informing the student in writing and providing the student the contact information for the appropriate state licensing board(s);
  8. agree, in cases where the institution cannot fully deliver the instruction for which a student has contracted, to provide a reasonable alternative for delivering the instruction or reasonable financial compensation for the education they did not receive;
  9. agree to provide any data requested by NYSED, to the extent permitted by applicable law, to assist NYSED in resolving any complaints arising from its students and to abide by decisions of NYSED, in order for NYSED to effectively monitor any activities under the agreement;
  10. upon application submission, pay to NYSED any state fees for application review and SARA participation as prescribed in section 49-1.7 of Commissioner’s regulations; and
  11. pay an annual SARA participation fee to the National Council for SARA (NC-SARA), as required by the SARA policies and standards; and report any other information required by SARA and/or this section.