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 and were revised as of July 24, 2020 to align with recent changes to NC-SARA policy.
On June 7, 2018 the NEBHE Executive Committee granted the final approval for the Commonwealth’s initial application to participate in SARA. The Commonwealth’s 2020 renewal application was approved by the NEBHE Executive Committee on July 28, 2020.
The DHE is accepting institutional applications to participate in Massachusetts SARA as of Monday, June 18, 2018. There are two separate online applications, one for initial applicant institutions, and another for renewing applicant institutions.
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. While our team continues to work remotely, constituents may experience delays in response to voice messages. If your voice message has not received a response, please follow up via email at SARAInquiries@dhe.mass.edu.
Note: all application materials should be submitted via the online application instead of using NC-SARA’s PDF application forms. Please do not mail Massachusetts SARA institutional applications to the DHE.
Last updated: December 21, 2020