Institutional Approval Process for Virginia Colleges and Universities to Participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)
On October 17, 2014, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) approved Virginia as a member state to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). The reciprocity allows participating Virginia colleges and universities to offer distance-learning programs and courses to residents of member states without seeking state-by-state approval. The agreement further provides enhanced quality assurance and consumer protection to Virginia residents taking distance-learning programs from other member states’ institutions.
Virginia institutions seeking authorization to participate in SARA will apply directly to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The parameters of SCHEV’s administration are contained in the Commonwealth of Virginia Policy on the Reciprocal Authorization of Distance Education.
Virginia institutions seeking approval to participate in SARA must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- be accredited as a degree-granting institution of higher education by an accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USED);
- be authorized to operate in Virginia as an in-state institution;
- if not a public institution, document a composite score of at least 1.5 out of 3.0 on the USED financial stability scale.
Any institution not satisfying all three of the above conditions shall be deemed ineligible to apply to SCHEV for SARA membership.
Institutional Approval will require the completion and submission of the following forms to SCHEV:
- NC-SARA’s Application and Approval Form for Institutional Participation in SARA.
(The application must be completed in its original form and with required signatures of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). Items 1-13 on the application may be initialed by the CEO, CAO or the principal SARA contact. Alterations or substitutions will not be accepted).
- Virginia-SARA (V-SARA) Supplemental Information Form
(Form must be completed by the principal SARA contact)
Mail the NC-SARA application, V-SARA Supplemental Information Form, and documentation to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), Attention Virginia-SARA, 101 North 14th Street, James Monroe Building, 9th Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219. An electronic copy should be emailed to Virginia-SARA@schev.edu.
SCHEV has established the following fee structure for participating Virginia institutions, according to annual FTE enrollment. Listed fees correspond to 50% of the correlative NC-SARA fee. Colleges and universities that report unit enrollment data to SCHEV may access the following link at http://research.schev.edu/enrollment/E5_Report.asp to determine the applicable fee. All other institutions must use student enrollment data as reported to IPEDS. *Please use the most current data available when determining your fee.
Once SCHEV approves an institution, it will have 10 business days to submit its Virginia fee. The check should be made payable to the “State Council of Higher Education for Virgnia. Reference: V-SARA” and mailed to Virginia-SARA, 101 North 14th Street, 9th Floor, James Monroe Building, Richmond, VA 23219. SCHEV’s approval letter will include a link to NC-SARA’s payment and approval process.
Annual Virginia Fees for Participating in SARA
FTE Students Fee
Fewer than 2,500 $1,000
2,500 - 9,999 $2,000
10,000 or more $3,000
- Institutional Approval Process and Fees
- Application for institutional approval to participate in SARA