State Authorization of Distance Education

UAMS complies with federal Program Integrity standards, including those for seeking approval of state higher education agencies before the University enrolls online students in that state.  Prior to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), each state in the nation had a different set of standards and procedures for granting approval of education programs, so seeking and tracking the states for which UAMS has obtained approval to operate was challenging.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

 The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an initiative among  member states, districts and territories to establish comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs;   there are 41 member states as of June, 2016.  Arkansas joined SARA in July, 2015 and UAMS was officially approved to operate under SARA in August, 2015.

Benefits of SARA membership include the opportunity to expand educational offerings to member-state residents, regulation of on-the-ground instruction offered by out-of-state institutions, an established student complaint resolution process, and a uniform standard for defining physical presence, applicable to all participating states and institutions.

The 41 blue states on the State Authorization of Distance Education map indicate SARA membership;  the white states are either currently not authorized, exempt or SARA member status is pending.  This information is constantly changing based on frequent updates by the states;  please contact Dana Venhaus at 296-1376 with questions about UAMS’ status in a specific state before you make plans to offer an online program there.

State Authorization of Distance Education Map – as of June, 2016

Resources for State Authorization

National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC – SARA)


Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)


State Higher Education Executive Officers Association