California Legislative Analyst’s Office Endorses SARA

A report from the California Legislative Analyst’s Office endorsed the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) as a way for states and institutions to more effectively address the challenges of offering distance education programs across state borders.  The report, which is entitled Oversight of Private Colleges in California, concluded the following with respect to SARA:

Through SARA, the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education could oversee online schools enrolling California students with minimal additional workload by recognizing approval from other participating states that meet mutually agreed-upon standards. We recommend the Legislature provide statutory authorization for the Bureau to participate in SARA and to grant reciprocal approval to institutions licensed in other states. In addition to facilitating better protection for California students, this would enable colleges overseen by the Bureau (including those volunteering for business practices review) to receive multistate authorization through an efficient process.

SARA was developed jointly by The Presidents’ Forum, the Council of State Governments (CSG), the Regional Higher Education Compacts and The Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education.  The voluntary agreement is intended to broaden the availability of and access to accredited online degree programs by reducing state regulatory barriers while ensuring strong consumer safeguards.

For more information about SARA please visit the National Council for State Authorization Agreements Web site at www.nc-sara.org.