State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)
Colorado State University (CSU) receives Title IV funds under the Higher Education Act of 1965 and is, therefore, required to comply with regulations regarding distance education. These regulations require postsecondary institutions to obtain authorization from states and U.S. territories outside of their Home State in order to deliver educational experiences there. The authorization may come directly from the other state or through a state authorization reciprocity agreement.
Colorado State University has been approved by the Colorado Department of Higher Education to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) through the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. Through CSU’s voluntary participation in NC-SARA, the institution is able to deliver educational experiences outside of Colorado. SARA oversight includes distance education, out-of-state placements, professional licensure, and consumer protection. Additional details follow and are also available in the SARA Policy Manual (PDF).
Distance education is defined as instruction offered by any means where the student and faculty member are in separate physical locations. It includes, but is not limited to, online, interactive video and correspondence courses or programs (Sara Policy Manual, pg. 11). Institutions participating in SARA report the number of exclusively distance education students enrolled, disaggregated by state, territory, or district in which the learning activity is taking place. This includes both degree and non-degree for-credit courses. These data are reported annually to NC-SARA in the spring and include the previous fall’s enrollment data, which institutions have reported to the federal government’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Out-of-State Learning Placements include, but are not limited to, clinical rotations, internships or student teaching offered by CSU outside of Colorado. Institutions participating in SARA annually report the numbers of their students participating in learning placements disaggregated by state, territory, or district and the two-digit Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes as assigned by the U.S. Department of Education.
Professional Licensure is defined as a process of State or other governmental entities that establishes standards of practice and gives legal permission to practice a profession by providing licenses or certifications to individuals who meet those standards. Students who successfully complete a licensure preparation program at CSU will be prepared to pursue licensure in Colorado. We have also tried to determine if those programs meet licensure requirements in states or U.S. territories beyond Colorado (program determinations). Students and prospective students are strongly encouraged to work with the academic department and the applicable professional licensure board in the state in which they intend to pursue licensing prior to enrollment at CSU to ensure all licensure requirements are satisfactorily met. To assist, NC-SARA created and maintains a current Professional Licensure Directory. NC-SARA also maintains a list of specialized accrediting agencies that can provide guidance on professional licensure.
SARA Consumer Protection acknowledges that all students have the right to lodge a complaint or grievance against CSU if they desire. In the event that occurs, CSU will ensure that all concerns/concerns are addressed fairly and are resolved promptly. The student should begin the complaint process with the CSU and if resolution is not found, the student would contact Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE) to investigate and resolve allegations of dishonest or fraudulent activity, including the provision of false or misleading information. NC-SARA information regarding student complaints that have been appealed to the CDHE.