State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement

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The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is a voluntary agreement among its member states and U.S. territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.

As of August 12, 2016, eleven states are participating in the Midwestern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA): Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. South Dakota, also a MHEC member state, joined SARA through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

The Midwestern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA) was developed by an advisory committee appointed by MHEC President Larry Isaak and included representation from all 12 states of the Compact. Similar agreements have been approved by all four regional higher education compacts to tie them together into an inter-regional agreement overseen by a national council, thereby creating a nationwide framework for interstate reciprocity and simplifying the state authorization process for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs.

In collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) and the National Council for State Authorization Agreements (NC-SARA), the M-SARA Regional Steering Committee establishes and disseminates criteria for state participation and amends such criteria, as appropriate, over time.

For more information contact Jenny Parks, M-SARA director, or Emily Jacobson, M-SARA coordinator.