Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Information and Resources
Home > Info & Tools for College & University Administration > State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) > Massachusetts SARA Institutional Application Process > Initial Application
This online application is for Massachusetts institutions that are not current members of SARA but would like to join.
Please note: The below online application is to be used by Massachusetts institutions in lieu of the paper-based NC-SARA institutional application. Paper-based applications to participate in Massachusetts SARA will not be accepted. For questions regarding the Massachusetts SARA application process, please visit the application instructions web page.
The chief executive officer (CEO) or chief academic officer (CAO) of the institution completes and submits the below application, mails the Massachusetts SARA fee payment to the appropriate address as outlined on the Massachusetts SARA fee schedule web page, and commits to any special requirements permitted by SARA to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.
The main campus or central administrative unit is domiciled in a State or district that has joined the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) initiative and is authorized to operate in that State.* Only distance education content originating in the United States, a U.S. territory, or district and provided from within a SARA State is eligible to be offered under SARA.**
CEO or CAO initial here
The Institution is a U.S. degree-granting Institution that is accredited by an Accrediting Agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and whose scope of authority, as specified by the Department, includes distance education.
For non-public Institutions, the Institution's most recent financial responsibility index score from the U.S. Department of Education is 1.5 or above, or, if the score is between 1.0 and 1.49, the State Portal Entity can affirm that documentation has been provided to demonstrate financial stability sufficient to justify Institutional participation in SARA. If an Institution is owned by a "corporate parent," the composite score of its "parent" must meet these requirements. NOTE: Public Institutions leave this blank.
The Institution agrees to abide by the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education and policies of the SARA Manual.
The Institution agrees to be responsible for the actions of any third-party providers used by the Institution to engage in operations under SARA.
The Institution agrees to notify its Home State’s SARA Portal Entity of any negative changes to its accreditation status.
The Institution agrees to provide data necessary to monitor SARA activities, including annual reporting of distance education enrollments and out-of-state learning placements by State, in accordance with NC-SARA policies.
The Institution agrees to work with its Home State’s SARA Portal Entity to resolve any complaints arising from its students in SARA States, and to abide by decisions of that entity regarding resolution of such complaints.***
The Institution agrees to apply to its Home State’s Portal Entity over the signature of the Institution’s chief executive officer or chief academic officer.
The Institution agrees to notify in writing all students in a course or program that customarily leads to professional licensure, or which a student could reasonably believe leads to such licensure, whether or not the course or program meets educational requirements for licensure in the State where the student is located. After making all reasonable efforts to make such a determination, the Institution may notify the applicant or student in writing that the Institution cannot confirm whether the course or program meets educational requirements for professional licensure in the student's State provide the student with current contact information for any applicable licensing boards, and advise the student to determine whether the program meets educational requirements for licensure in the State where the student lives. An email dedicated solely to this purpose and sent to the student's best known email address meets this requirement.
The Institution should use other additional means to notify the student, if needed.
The Institution agrees that in cases where the Institution cannot fully deliver the instruction for which a student has contracted, to provide a reasonable alternative for delivering the instruction or reasonable financial compensation for the education the student did not receive.
The Institution agrees to pay to its Home State any State fees for SARA participation required by the Home State for administering SARA.
The Institution agrees to pay its annual SARA participation fee to the National Council for SARA (NC-SARA).
The Institution agrees to abide by conditions of provisional approval, if necessary.
*SARA considers the Home campus to be where an Institution has its legal domicile. Any disputes about which State is the Home State will be resolved for SARA purposes by the affected regional compacts or the National Council (NC-SARA), as needed.
**The fact that a foreign Institution is owned by a U.S. entity does not qualify distance education originating from the non-U.S. Institution to be offered under SARA. Only distance education offerings under the oversight of the U.S. State or territory can be offered through SARA.
***Complaints must follow the Institution’s customary resolution procedure prior to being referred to the State under SARA procedures. Grade appeals and student conduct appeals are not allowed under SARA.
I, the undersigned representative of the aforementioned institution, having the authority to commit the Institution to operate under the SARA interstate agreement, hereby certify that this Institution meets all of the policies stated herein required for operation by the SARA Manual.
Institution's Mailing Address Line 1
Institution's Mailing Address Line 2
Institution's Mailing Address Line 3
Institution's Street Address
Institutional Accrediting Organization
Institution FTE (latest IPEDS)
If Other, please describe:
Official Owner / Corporate Parent Name
FRCS Score (or equivalent)
Mailing Address Line 1
Mailing Address Line 2
Mailing Address Line 3
URL to Institution's Student Complaint Form
URL to Institution's Student Complaint Website
Please provide contact information for the institution's President or designee in the event that a SARA Complaint is filed with
DHE against the institution.
Please provide the most recent financial responsibility composite score provided in writing by the U.S. Department of
Education, either published online or provided in letter form to the institution by the responsible Department of Education
official. If your institution does not have an FRCS Score calculated by US-DOE, please contact us.
Note: Public institutions leave this field blank, as they are presumed to be financially stable for the purpose of eligibility to
participate in Massachusetts SARA.
Additional campus information:
Name(s) and locations of other campuses to be included in this SARA application:
Name of SARA contact at each campus location:
Email of SARA contact at each campus location:
Title of Institutional Signatory Officer
Date of Electronic Signature
The institution has an appropriate student complaint resolution process, which meets the requirements set forth in 610 CMR 12.07.
The institution has an adequate disaster recovery plan, particularly with respect to the protection of student records and, in the event of closure, will follow the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)'s Considerations When Closing an Institution of Higher Education or the best practices of its national accrediting agency for addressing catastrophic events.
The institution understands and accepts the scope of authorization provided under SARA according to the NC-SARA document State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Manual and the terms of said Manual.
The institution has reviewed and agrees to fully comply with the requirements and agreements set forth in 610 CMR 12.00 of the Massachusetts Code of Regulations.
The institution accepts oversight from the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in all matters related to SARA.
Is the institution on probationary status or the equivalent with its institutional accrediting association?
Is the institution currently using a letter of credit or under a cash management agreement with the U.S. Department of Education?
Is the institution the subject of a publicly announced investigation by a government agency that is related to the institution's academic quality, financial stability or student consumer protection?
Is the institution the subject of a current investigation by an entity in the Commonwealth related to the institution's academic quality, financial stability or student consumer protection?
Copy of the institution's student complaint procedure.
Copy of the notice that will be sent to enrolling students regarding the institution's student complaint procedure in accordance with 610 CMR 12.03(1)(h).
Copy of the notice that will be sent to enrolling students regarding the institution's authorization to offer courses and programs that customarily lead to professional licensure in states outside of Massachusetts in accordance with 610 CMR 12.03(2). The notice should include, at a minimum, contact information at the institution of a representative capable of answering questions regarding professional licensure. (Leave this blank if the institution does not offer courses or programs that customarily lead to professional licensure, e.g. education and medical programs that require licensure post-graduation.)
Copy of the institution's disaster recovery plan, which shall include the institution's procedures for safeguarding student records in the event of institutional closure.
List of institution's academic offerings (programs of study/degree programs) that the institution intends to offer pursuant to SARA. (Please use this template.)
Documentation of the institution's tuition refund policy.
Documentation of the institution's FRCS Score calculated within
the past year, e.g. a copy of a letter from US-DOE or an online
published score from US-DOE.
A written explanation from institutional management as to why the institution's score is below 1.5 and the requirements imposed on the institution by the U.S. Department of Education for continued participation in Title IV.
A written statement in the most recent fiscal year audited financial statement confirming that the institution is financially stable. The audited financial statement must show that the institution has adequate revenue to meet its financial obligations, including payment of unearned tuition.
The institution's financial responsibility score for the five (5) most recently available years.
If an official financial responsibility score has not been received from the U.S. Department of Education but is ascertainable from the institution's financial records, the institution should calculate the score independently and provide it to the DHE.
A corrective action plan and timeline.
Get in Touch
One Ashburton Place, Rm. 1401
Boston, MA 02108
Inquiries & Complaints
DHE Staff Directory
Who We Are
Department of Higher Education
Commissioner Carlos Santiago
Board of Higher Education
Public Colleges & Universities System
Past Meeting Materials
Policy & Report Library
Financial Aid (OSFA)
©2000-2020 Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. All Rights Reserved.