NAICU Washington Update

NC-SARA Board Votes to Continue Use of Federal Financial Composite Scores

May 08, 2020

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) Board voted unanimously during its recent spring 2020 meeting to continue its use of federal financial composite scores as a measure to evaluate institutional eligibility for SARA membership.

A statement released by the NC-SARA Board said “Since the impact of COVID-19 will not show in the scores for two years, and since NC-SARA permits states to provide a degree of flexibility in considering additional financial information in decision making, NC-SARA reaffirms its reliance on the use of the federal financial responsibility scores.”

In a message to private, nonprofit college and university leaders who had written her on this issue, Lori Williams, NC-SARA’s President and CEO, said “While states will continue to use the scores as one measure among others of financial stability in their decisions about state authorization for SARA purposes, they will also use their latitude and purview to consider the unique pandemic circumstances that institutions face and review other evidence of continued financial viability.” NC-SARA also called on the Department of Education to develop a better measure of institutional stability by the end of next year.

In March, NAICU and its member associations sent a letter to NC-SARA asking the Council for a temporary three-year suspension of the policy requiring private, nonprofit colleges and universities to maintain a baseline federal financial responsibility composite score of 1.5 or greater for unrestricted participation or a 1.0 score or greater for any participation in SARA.

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