State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

 Logo of National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements








NC-SARA also known as SARA

  • National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) commonly known as SARA.
  • SARA represents a reciprocity agreement in which member states agree to grant each other the right to provide online education in other member states subject to agreed upon limitations.
  • For a list of SARA states, please see the SARA States and Institution Page.
    • In states who are not participating in SARA at this time, the institution must look at the state-specific statutes.
      • For a list of states that have not yet either finalized or joined SARA- please review the State Actions Regarding SARA web page.
      • If a state does not have any information in the Approved as SARA state column, the state is not an NC-SARA state.
  • Mississippi became a member of NC-SARA on 1/1/16.
  • USM applied for and was accepted as a member of SARA on 3/31/16
  • USM is now able to offer distance education (both online and limited field experiences) to students in any SARA State as well as advertising and recruiting as long as we do not engage in any of the following activities within member states:
    • Create a physical location for students to receive synchronous or asynchronous instruction
    • Require students to physically meet in a location for instructional purposes more than twice per full-term (quarter or semester) course for a total of more than six hours;
    • Establish an administrative office;
    • Provide information to students for the purpose of enrolling students, or providing students support services, form a physical site operated by or on behalf of the intuition in the state;
    • Offer a “short course” that requires more than 20 contact hours in one six-month period;
    • Provide office space to instructional or non-instructional staff;
    • Maintain a mailing address or phone exchange in state;
    • Carry out field study or field research located a field station, research station or other physical site at which a faculty member or other institutional employee or contractor supervisors or otherwise directs two or more students in an activity exceeding the allowable short course length set forth in section 5.1 e and which either bears academic credit or is a requirement for a course or program.

Authorization Status

Select the Authorization Status page to view a list of our authorization status including as applicable an explanation of states in which we are not required to seek authorization based on individual state statutes.  USM is authorized in all states listed as NC-SARA states as a member institution (see the Mississippi NC-SARA page).


  • Receiving institutions determine the transferability of a course or degree credit. 
  • The ability to become licensed in a particular state is determined by the state and may be subject to specialized professional reciprocity agreements. 
  • Programs offered at USM are approved for obtaining licensure within the State of Mississippi. 
None of the following guarantee that credits will be accepted for transfer or that an individual can be licensed in a professional:
  • accredited through a regional and/or specialized accreditor
  • authorized by a state to offer courses
  • permitted to offer distance education through a reciprocity agreement that allows for distance education to be provided across member states, i.e. NC-SARA.