NAICU Washington Update

Distance Education Reciprocity Effort Continues to Move Forward

December 17, 2014

Since its establishment in August 2013, State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) officials have continued to promote membership in the agreement and to refine its operations and requirements.

Of particular interest to NAICU members was the recent issuance of a new FAQ regarding SARA’s use of the Department of Education’s financial responsibility composite scores to assess the financial soundness of private institutions wishing to participate in SARA. Due to the serious flaws in the application of this metric, NAICU has long objected to its use in determining eligibility for participation in SARA. The new FAQ offers a fuller explanation of the reasons that SARA officials have chosen to continue to rely on the Department’s standard, making it clear they do not intend to depart from the current policy.

SARA, which added five new members in November and one in December, now counts 18 States in its membership. Current SARA members include Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

In early December, the national SARA board approved two new policies. The first provides that participating institutions will begin reporting distance education enrollment information in the fall of 2015. This information will be disaggregated by student residence. Beginning in the fall of 2016, the data will be further disaggregated by broad program of study. The second addresses quarterly reporting by participating states of appealed complaints. This reporting will begin in April 2015. All information gathered in both sets of reports will be posted on the NC-SARA website.

For additional information on SARA, see NAICU background paper.

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