This portal provides comprehensive information regarding Massachusetts’ participation in the SARA agreement, including easy access to the Massachusetts SARA application for institutions, governing Massachusetts SARA regulations and policies, and information for consumers on the student complaint process. Below are some basic questions and answers about the SARA agreement.
SARA is an acronym for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, which is an interstate agreement that allows colleges and universities located in a SARA member state to offer online classes in other SARA member states without needing to obtain authorization to do so from each state individually. SARA consists of a national network of member states, districts, and territories that agree to comply with the rules, policies, and procedures set forth by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).
In July 2017, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) received statutory authority to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements. Subsequently, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) authorized the Commissioner of Higher Education to pursue participation in SARA, and the BHE also promulgated regulations to govern the entry of Massachusetts into SARA. The final regulation, 610 CMR 12.00, went into effect on March 23, 2018. The DHE submitted its application to join SARA to the New England Board of Higher Education, the regional educational compact responsible for administering SARA, on April 13, 2018. In order to approve Massachusetts’ application, two separate NEBHE committees needed to convene and vote affirmatively.
At the first meeting, held on May 16, the NEBHE Regional Steering Committee found that Massachusetts’ application met the requirements for membership set forth by the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement and made the recommendation that the NEBHE Executive Committee approve the Commonwealth as a SARA member. At the second meeting, held on June 7, the NEBHE Executive Committee granted the final approval for the Commonwealth to participate in SARA.
The DHE is now accepting institutional applications to participate in Massachusetts SARA as of Monday, June 18, 2018.
The DHE serves as the Massachusetts state portal entity for SARA. As the SARA portal for the Commonwealth, the DHE receives and evaluates institutional SARA applications, administers the student complaint process for students of SARA institutions operating in Massachusetts, and provides support to SARA institutions in Massachusetts.
The DHE’s SARA team can be reached via phone at 617-994-6910 and by email at SARAInquiries@dhe.mass.edu.
Note: all application materials should be submitted via the online application. Please do not mail Massachusetts SARA institutional applications to the DHE.
Last updated: June 18, 2018