Saint Francis University has been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) welcomed the University to officially join the initiative effective January 1.
In November 2016, Pennsylvania had been approved as a SARA state by NC-SARA, bringing the number of participating states to 44 plus the District of Columbia 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. In order to join, each state must demonstrate that it is willing and able to meet the criteria for state involvement established in the National Commission report and demonstrate that it has a workable process for authorizing institutions. Participation by states and institutions is voluntary. Saint Francis University is now one of 29 institutions in the state of Pennsylvania that are SARA approved.
All states require post-secondary educational institutions to be legally authorized to provide post-secondary educational instruction in their states. Many of these state laws and regulations also apply to online, distance and correspondence educational instruction offered in that state. As such, Saint Francis University and its online/distance educations programs must be authorized in certain states prior to offering those courses or programs to students residing in those states. Likewise, many states require post-secondary educational institutions to be legally authorized to offer on-the-ground activities such as internships, clinical or fieldwork experiences in their state. Saint Francis University continuously monitors regulations in states and territories in which it operates to remain in compliance. Participation in SARA greatly benefits the University in this effort.
“By participating in SARA, Saint Francis University will have the opportunity to reach markets we haven’t been able to reach before,” said Saint Francis University provost Dr. Wayne Powel. “This is a great win for the University and for our students! We are excited for broadened internship, clinical and fieldwork experience opportunities for our distance-education and campus-based students.”
SARA is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. As a SARA-approved institution, Saint Francis University is authorized to offer online courses in each state that is part of the agreement without having to get approval from each state individually. This agreement includes on-the-ground activities such as internship, clinical or fieldwork experiences that occur in other SARA states for students enrolled in the University’s distance education or campus-based academic programs (with some limitation).
This agreement also allows Saint Francis University to expand its reach by providing the University the ability to advertise in and recruit students from member states as well as hire faculty who reside in member states; reduce the number of other-state regulations to continually monitor and track; reduce the number of applications that need to be completed; and reduce costs.
Learn more about NC-SARA