New Hampshire Joins the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)
Virginia M. Barry, Ph. D., Commissioner, is pleased to announce that New Hampshire has been approved by the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) as the first state in the region to join the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).
This state joins 18 others (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia) as members of SARA. SARA is a nationwide initiative of states that will make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education.
“SARA is bringing quality assurance and consumer protection in step with the fast-moving world of online learning,” said NEBHE President and CEO Michael K. Thomas. “New Hampshire will be a critical part of an expanding network of proactive states that are working to benefit students and to strengthen institutions’ online program provision.”
The Division of Higher Education - Higher Education Commission will serve as the state “portal” agency for SARA. The 22-member group is headed by Division Director Edward R. MacKay. “There has been overwhelming support for the concept of SARA from New Hampshire’s college and university presidents and from the state’s executive branch,” said MacKay. “We all look forward to making New Hampshire’s high-quality higher education offerings available to more learners, and enabling the efficiencies of the SARA partnership to assist in our efforts to constraint costs.”
Once a state joins SARA, accredited degree-granting institutions in the state that offer distance education courses can seek approval from their state to participate in SARA. When approved, these institutions will be able to operate in other participating SARA states without seeking independent authorization from those states. Participating in SARA is entirely voluntary for institutions, as it is for states.
“It is wonderful to have New Hampshire join SARA as the first member state in the New England region and we look forward to having their institutions participate in the initiative. Having 19 member states illustrates the importance of SARA in providing a streamlined alternative to the current state-by-state approach of authorization. We are excited about this progress and continued advancements in all four higher education compact regions,” explained Marshall A. Hill, Executive Director of NC-SARA.