NC SARA - State Authorization

NC SARA - State Authorization


NC SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements)

The University of Dallas has been approved by Texas to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary agreement among the 49 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico that permits certain types of educational activities without requiring institutions to seek state-by-state authorization. Currently, all states except for California are members of NC-SARA. Although California is not part of NC-SARA, California does not regulate non-profit higher education and we are able to provide distance education to students who are in that state with the caveat that students and institutions are not bound to NC-SARA regulations. However, authorization may be required for students who are located outside of the United States.

SARA membership benefits students:

  • protect consumers and provide benefits to both states and institutions carrying out distance education in multiple states.
  • improves the ability of students to participate in distance education courses offered by institutions of higher education that are outside of a student’s location.
  • establishes a formal and common complaint process for distance education students that are enrolled in NC-SARA states.
  • assurance that member states follow uniform processes for approving their eligible institutions' participation.

SARA membership allows UD to participate in the following activities:

  • Enroll online students from SARA member states, subject to program-specific state authorization permissions.
  • Allow current students to complete experiential learning placements in SARA member states; not all programs allow for opportunities in every SARA member state.
  • Permit current students to engage in independent research or field study in SARA member states.
  • Arrange sponsored field trips in SARA member states; field trips are day-long trips.
  • Offer short courses in SARA member states, subject to the SARA parameters for short courses.

SARA establishes a specific set of best practices in distance education ( with comparable national standards for interstate offerings of postsecondary distance-education courses and programs. These include requirements for online faculty to receive training in pedagogy and technology; faculty-student interaction, student-student interaction, and student-content interaction; and ongoing course and program evaluation. Additionally, SACSCOC, our accrediting body, provides guidelines we follow for distance education (distance education guidelines from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools).

SARA has no effect on state licensing or certification requirements. SARA does not provide automatic permission for educational activities associated with licensed professions – these often require additional approval from the applicable state board. Therefore, not all programs will be available in every SARA member state.

Examples of activities related to state authroization include, but are not limited to, educational activities that a UD student does on behalf of UD while physically located in another state such as

  • Online Courses
  • Face-to-face Courses
  • Internships, practicums, student-teaching, etc.
  • Research
  • Proctored Exams

It also refers to business that UD conducts in another state such as:

  • Employing faculty or staff in another state
  • Owning or leasing property where education takes place
  • Contracting with an institution to provide access to resources
  • Advertising
  • Recruiting (Academic and Athletic)
  • Maintaining in-state contact information or an internet server

Student complaint process:  

Student complaints relating to consumer protection laws offered under the terms and conditions of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), must first be filed with the institution to seek resolution. The student should begin the complaint process with the institution.  Please use this link to file a complaint in the Ethnics Point complaint system.

If resolution is not achieved, a consumer would contact the Texas Home State SARA Portal Entity. The SARA State Portal Entities are listed at


Additional Information

NC SARA Annual Executive Summary

NC SARA overview

NC SARA Students and quality

If you have questions, contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at (972) 265-5744 or