NC-SARA for SUNY Institutions

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) is an agreement amongst member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards and streamlines regulations, fees, and approvals for institutions offering interstate distance education programs. SUNY in cooperation with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) and the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) work together to improve fair and equitable practices for students across different states.

What is NC-SARA?

NC-SARA is a private, nonprofit organization that helps expand students’ access to postsecondary educational opportunities and ensure more efficient, consistent, and effective regulation of distance education programs through the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). SARA provides state authorization portability for higher education institutions in the United States, and NC-SARA serves as a national leader in enhancing quality and consumer protections in interstate postsecondary distance education.

Benefits of NC-SARA Participation

Benefits of NC-SARA Participation

  • Improves distance education program quality nationwide.
  • Makes it easier for students to access distance education programs across state lines.
  • Reduces costs and bureaucracy for states and institutions.
  • Improves coordination between states on higher education opportunities.
  • Provides valuable oversight of distance education programs.
  • Shares out-of-state learning experience data like clinical hours and practice teaching.

NC-SARA Application Process for SUNY Colleges and Universities

NC-SARA Application Process for SUNY Colleges and Universities

SARA applications are accepted on a rolling basis and the submission and review processes are the same for both first-time and renewal applications. Applications can be downloaded from the NC-SARA website.

  1. Application submission
    1. Complete a new participant or renewal application as appropriate. Submit renewal applications to SUNY at least 60 days prior to the campus participation end date.
      1.  The NC-SARA application is available at:
      2. Email as two (2) attachments, the application and the institution's Statement of Accreditation Status (SAS), which the institution can download as a PDF from the institution's page on the Middle States website:
      3. For web links (e.g., student complaint process and professional licensure disclosures), provide complete webpage addresses that go directly to the page with the required information. Before submitting the application, convert these to hyperlinks that are clickable.  
      4. For the CEO/CAO signature, use "add image" and insert the file of the signature. Do not hand sign and then scan the application. Do not use an electronic signature that will lock the document. 
    2. SUNY Institutions MUST submit their completed SARA applications to the SUNY System Academic Affairs Office at Applications submitted directly to NYSED will be returned to the institution. Applications must be submitted as a fillable form.  Do not sent scanned pdf copies.
    3. The Academic Affairs Office will review the application and follow up with the institution to resolve any questions or errors. Do not submit directly to NYSED.
    4. Once approved, the Academic Affairs Office will send the institution’s SARA application to NYSED.
  2. Payment to NYSED
    1. After SUNY approval, transmittal of payment must be received by NYSED before their review of the SARA application.
    2. After SUNY approval, state-operated campuses must use an interagency transfer of state fees using the State Financial System (SFS)to pay NYSED; community colleges must use check to pay NYSED. 
    3. NYSED Fees (subject to change)
      Enrolled FTE Annual Fee
      for institutions with fewer than 2,500 FTE students $5,000
      for institutions with between 2,500-9,999 FTE students $7,000
      for institutions with 10,000 or more FTE students $9,000
  3. Payment to NC-SARA
    1. After the application is approved by NYSED, NC-SARA will send an invoice to the institution for the annual NC-SARA participation fee.  Regardless of if or when the invoice is received by the institution NC-SARA fees must be processed no later than 30 days after state approval to participate.
    2. Do NOT send NC-SARA fees to NYSED as this may result in a significant delay in application processing. Participation Fees | NC-SARA

      The NC-SARA fee will be assessed as follows (effective July 1, 2024; fees subject to change)
Enrolled FTE Annual Fee
Less than 2,500 $2,200
2,500-9,999 $4,400
10,000-29,999 $6,600
30,000 or more $8,800

SARA membership commences or renews once NC-SARA has processed the Institution’s payment; institutions are then eligible to operate under the terms and provisions of the SARA agreement.

Professional Licensure Disclosures

Professional Licensure Disclosures
New Federal Regulation Amendment Effective July 1, 2024

Licensure Disclosure is not specific to NC-SARA/Distance Education

Below are three important documents (Guidance, Q&A, and Model Language) regarding an amendment to the federal regulations that impact the rules that require institutions to disclose information to students regarding degree programs that lead to licensure and/or certification, or are advertised as such, which are eligible for Title IV financial aid funds. This applies to all such programs no matter their modality. This amendment introduces significant changes to the existing regulations that went into effect July 1, 2020, and each institution must take action related to this amendment to the regulations in order to come into legal compliance with the new regulations effective July 1, 2024.

Professional Licensure Disclosures: Guidance Memo

Professional Licensure Disclosure: Questions and Answer

Professional Licensure Disclosure: Model Language

Professional Licensure Directory | NC-SARA

Student Complaint Language

Student Complaint Language

The following is the language for student complaints that SUNY has suggested NC-SARA participating campuses use. When used, replace the information in brackets [ ] with the indicated campus specific information.

  • [campus name] is a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and follows the complaint resolution policies and procedures outlined within the SARA Policy Manual and summarized here. Consumer protection complaints resulting from distance education courses, activities, and operations may be submitted to [campus department name, contact information, link to a website, preferably that identifies the procedure and includes a form or another way to submit a complaint] for investigation and resolution. If a student is dissatisfied with the campus-based resolution, a concern may be submitted to System Administration of the State University of New York as outlined here. And, if still not satisfied, a complaint may be submitted, within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the New York State Education Department as outlined here. Please note, this does not include complaints related to grades or student conduct violations, both of which are to be fully addressed via campus processes, not through the NC-SARA complaint resolution procedures.

Links to Online Resources

Contact Information

Mary-Jo Ferrauilo-Davis
SUNY System Administration, Academic Affairs
Academic Programs Data Specialist

Academic Affairs