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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

What is SARA?

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offerings of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a national council and administered by four regional education compacts.

The members of SARA are states, not institutions or students. Therefore a state “joins” or becomes a “member” of SARA while a college or university “operates under” or “participates in” SARA.

Any degree-granting institution based in the United States, holding proper authorization from Congress, a U.S. state, or a federally recognized Indian tribe and holding accreditation from an accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education is eligible to apply to its home state to participate in SARA if that state is a SARA member. To be eligible for operation under SARA, distance education must originate within the United States or a U.S. territory.

The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) has been designated the State Portal Entity (SPE) for Washington. The SPE is the lead agency in a state and is responsible for processing applications for SARA participation from schools based in the state. 

Washington schools seeking to participate in SARA should contact Sam Loftin for application information.

Additional information on SARA, a map of SARA member states, and participating schools can be found at:

Student Complaints

Students residing outside Washington who are enrolled in a distance learning program in a Washington school approved for SARA can file complaints through WSAC's student complaint process.

Institutional Appeals

An institution whose application for initial or renewal of participation in SARA is denied by WSAC may submit an appeal of the denial in accordance with the process described in the institutional appeals process.  An appeal may be submitted to Sam Loftin at