Resolution in Support of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
WHEREAS, online education is the fastest growing segment of the higher education field; and
WHEREAS, in the 2011-12 school year, more than 6.7 million students took at least one online course, representing approximately 32 percent of the higher education community’s total enrollment; and
WHEREAS, 62.4 percent of colleges and universities surveyed by the Sloan Consortium now offer fully online degree programs; and
WHEREAS, as more higher education institutions offer online education across state lines, a uniform process of regulation for authorizing institutions to operate on an interstate basis is becoming more important; and
WHEREAS, over the course of the last three years, The Council of State Governments has worked jointly with the Presidents’ Forum, Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education, and the four regional higher education compacts – Midwestern Higher Education Compact, New England Board of Higher Education, Southern Regional Education Board, and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education – to develop the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA); and
WHEREAS, SARA is a voluntary agreement intended to simplify and streamline the process for authorizing distance/online degree programs across state lines; and
WHEREAS, there are no fees charged to states that join SARA; and
WHEREAS, SARA has been adopted in seven states during the 2014 state legislative sessions, including: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Washington; and
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments supports the establishment of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and encourages its member jurisdictions to consider the new interstate agreement as an innovative policy solution that will increase degree attainment and reduce costs for students, states, and institutions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments staff will provide ongoing assistance to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements’ national office and the four regional higher education compacts in their efforts to raise awareness about SARA.
Adopted this 13th Day of August, 2014 at the CSG National Conference in Anchorage, Alaska.
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