What is SARA?

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary agreement designed to establish comparable standards for U.S. states and territories regulating postsecondary distance education. With its reciprocity provisions, the agreement enables institutions to gain approval from their “home state” to offer distance education in participating states without having to individually apply to each state for such approval. Participation in SARA reduces the costs of delivering online learning—resulting from inconsistent, complicated, and expensive regulatory processes—saving institutions millions of dollars in fees while helping create access for students to high-quality online programs to meet the needs of their busy lives. 

The MCCB is a statutory coordinating board tasked with oversight of the public community colleges in the state of Mississippi. As such, the MCCB is not a member of SARA. Each community college must apply annually for SARA membership through the MCCA and NC-SARA. 

Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation 

The Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (MCCA) has statutory authority and duty to approve all colleges and universities or other entities that offer one or more postsecondary academic degrees and are domiciled, incorporated, or otherwise located in the State of Mississippi.

On November 2, 2015, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) approved Mississippi as a member state to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), effective January 1, 2016. MCCA has been designated the state portal agency for SARA.

The SARA state portal agency assumes the principal responsibility of ensuring that SARA policies are followed by the institutions they approve to participate in SARA.

Institution participation is contingent upon approval and continued compliance under the agreement overseen by MCCA. 

National Council for State Authorization

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is a private nonprofit organization [501(c)(3)] that helps expand students’ access to educational opportunities and ensures more efficient, consistent, and effective regulation of distance education programs.

In partnership with four regional compacts, NC-SARA helps states, institutions, policymakers, and students understand the purpose and benefits of participating in SARA. Today, more than 2,200 institutions in 49 member states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands voluntarily participate in SARA.