CSG and Presidents’ Forum Continuing to Seek Input on Reciprocity Agreement

A draft model interstate agreement was recently released for public review by The Council of State Governments’ (CSG) and The Presidents’ Forum. Known as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), this model agreement, which has been developed jointly by CSG, The Presidents’ Forum, and a drafting team comprised of state regulators and key stakeholders aims to reduce barriers to distance learning by making it more efficient for colleges and universities to offer classes across state lines.  Additionally, the project leadership is working with the existing higher education regional compacts (WICHE, MHEC, NEBHE, and SREB) to promote a unified approach to achieving interstate reciprocity.   Support for the project is provided by the Lumina Foundation for Education.

SARA seeks to assure that the member states have authorization processes that meet high quality, shared academic standards.  It also shifts the responsibility for authorization and continuing oversight to the “home state” of the institution. Once a college or university receives approval in its home state, it will not need to seek separate approval in other member states.  The ultimate goals are to save institutions from having to go through multiple and costly approval processes, reduce the duplicative workload and costs carried by the respective states, while also increasing student access to high quality distance learning opportunities.

SARA’s model language also is expected to outline the roles and responsibilities of an interstate governing board, the rule-making process and the methods by which disputes and consumer complaints will be resolved.

 CSG and The Presidents’ Forum released the draft agreement during a presentation earlier this month at the National Association of State Administrators and Supervisors of Private Schools annual conference.  CSG and The Presidents’ Forum have also convened public hearings to provide opportunities for the higher education communities to comment on the model.

The drafting team will meet again in late June to review comments and finalize the model content.  Project leadership anticipates finalizing the reciprocity model by the end of this year for the purpose of initiating broad consideration by policy makers.

To review the SARA working draft please click here.  Comments on the draft may be submitted by e-mail to Crady deGolian, Director of CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts, at cdegolian@csg.org.