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Massachusetts SARA Institutional Application Process

As the SARA portal entity for Massachusetts, the DHE receives applications from institutions seeking to operate under SARA, evaluates the applications, and approves institutions for both initial and renewed participation in SARA. Both processes are outlined below.

Initial Application Process

The steps of the initial application process to join SARA in Massachusetts are as follows:

  1. Institution completes and submits a Massachusetts SARA institutional initial application and supporting documentation electronically to the DHE via the MA-SARA Portal. All institutions, except for the Commonwealth’s fifteen public community colleges which are not required at this time to pay the Massachusetts SARA Fee, will also submit their Massachusetts SARA Fee electronically via the MA-SARA Portal, on Tab 7 of the institutional application, either using a credit card or e-Check/ACH subject to an applicable convenience fee. There is a 2.79% convenience fee for processing credit card payments and a $0.35 convenience fee for eCheck/ACH payments. The Massachusetts SARA Fee will be automatically calculated based on the institution’s most recent, final FTE figure provided on Tab 2 of the application in accordance with the DHE’s Massachusetts SARA fee schedule.
  2. Upon submission of the electronic application, supporting documentation, and the institution’s fee payment, the DHE will review the application for completeness.
  3. If additional supporting documentation is required, the DHE will notify the institution of the documentation required to complete its SARA application using the comment thread on the institution’s application. Once an institution makes the requested changes to the application, the institution can re-submit the application for another completeness review. No further action will take place until the application is deemed to be complete.
  4. When an application with supporting documentation meets the requirements for participation in Massachusetts SARA, it will be deemed complete, and the DHE will conduct a final review of the institutional application for compliance with SARA eligibility requirements. If the DHE determines that the institutional application requires amendments or additional documentation, the DHE will revert the application and work with the institution through the comment thread on the institution’s application to bring the application into compliance if possible. Upon the conclusion of this process, the DHE will notify the institution of the application’s approval, disapproval, or provisional approval.
  5. If an institution is approved or provisionally approved to operate under SARA in Massachusetts, the DHE will process the institution’s approval or provisional approval to participate in SARA in NC-SARA’s database. The institution does not need to submit any additional application materials to NC-SARA.
  6. The institution’s SARA contacts will then receive confirmation of institutional approval, and a payment link sent via the NC-SARA system (info@nc-sara.org) to pay its institutional fee to NC-SARA. Please note: the NC-SARA membership fee is in addition to, and separate from, the Massachusetts SARA membership fee. The institution will not be considered a member of SARA until both the Massachusetts and NC-SARA membership fees have been processed.
  7. Once the NC-SARA membership payment is processed, the institution’s SARA contacts listed on the institution’s Massachusetts SARA application will receive a receipt and welcome letter via email from NC-SARA. The institution will then also be listed on the NC-SARA and Massachusetts SARA approved institution websites. 

Renewal Application Process

The steps of the renewal application process to continue participating in Massachusetts SARA are as follows:

  1. Institution’s SARA contacts will receive an automated 90-Day Notification from NC-SARA via email notifying the institution that it has entered the renewal period.
  2. Institution’s SARA contacts will receive a follow-up to the 90-Day Notification from DHE via email reminding institutions to submit the DHE’s SARA renewal application and applicable Massachusetts SARA Fee within 30 days; no later than 60 days prior to the institution’s expiration date.  
  3. Institution completes and submits a Massachusetts SARA institutional renewal application and supporting documentation electronically to the DHE via the MA-SARA Portal. All institutions, except for the Commonwealth’s fifteen public community colleges which are not required at this time to pay the Massachusetts SARA Fee, will also submit their Massachusetts SARA Fee electronically via the MA-SARA Portal, on Tab 7 of the institutional application, either using a credit card or e-Check/ACH subject to an applicable convenience fee. There is a 2.79% convenience fee for processing credit card payments and a $0.35 convenience fee for eCheck/ACH payments. The Massachusetts SARA Fee will be automatically calculated based on the institution’s most recent, final FTE figure provided on Tab 2 of the application in accordance with the DHE’s Massachusetts SARA fee schedule.
  4. Upon submission of the electronic application, supporting documentation, and the institution’s fee payment, the DHE will review the application for completeness.
  5. If additional supporting documentation is required, the DHE will notify the institution of the documentation required to complete its SARA application using the comment thread on the institution’s application. Once an institution makes the requested changes to the application, the institution can re-submit the application for another completeness review. No further action will take place until the application is deemed to be complete.
  6. When an application with supporting documentation meets the requirements for continued participation in Massachusetts SARA, it will be deemed complete, and the DHE will conduct a final review of the institutional renewal application for compliance with SARA eligibility requirements. If the DHE determines that the institutional renewal application requires amendments or additional documentation, the DHE will revert the application and work with the institution through the comment thread on the institution’s application to bring the application into compliance if possible. Upon the conclusion of this process, the DHE will notify the institution of the application’s approval, disapproval, or provisional approval.
  7. If an institution is approved or provisionally approved to continue operating under SARA in Massachusetts, the DHE will process the institution’s approval or provisional approval to participate in SARA in NC-SARA’s database. The institution does not need to submit any additional application materials to NC-SARA.
  8. The institution’s SARA contacts will then receive confirmation of institutional renewal approval, and a payment link sent via the NC-SARA system (info@nc-sara.org) to pay its institutional fee to NC-SARA. Please note: the NC-SARA membership fee is in addition to, and separate from, the Massachusetts SARA membership fee. The institution will not be considered a member of SARA until both the Massachusetts and NC-SARA membership fees have been processed.
  9. Once the NC-SARA membership payment is processed, the institution’s SARA contacts listed on the institution’s Massachusetts SARA institutional renewal application will receive a receipt and notification via email from NC-SARA.

Please note that, as of April 9, 2021, the DHE will only accept and process institutional applications and fee payments submitted using the MA-SARA Portal. If your institution has not yet been invited to the MA-SARA Portal, please contact the DHE SARA Team to request account credentials. If you have any additional questions, you may contact the DHE SARA Team via email at SARAInquiries@dhe.mass.edu.

Last updated: April 9, 2021

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