State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

Nevada has been accepted as part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

What is SARA? The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and administered by four regional education compacts.

How can my institution join SARA? Any degree-granting institution based in the United States, holding proper authorization from Congress, a U.S. state or a federally recognized Indian tribe and holding accreditation from an accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education is eligible to apply to its home state to participate in SARA if that state is a SARA member. See “Application & Process” for details.

States and Institutions participating in SARA: NC-SARA maintains a list of states and institutions nationally participating in SARA.

Nevada Institutions: institutions that meet the qualifications and whose home state is Nevada may apply to join or renew membership in SARA through the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), the designated portal agency by WICHE-SARA. A Nevada institution may submit a completed application via email to Terina Caserto, NSHE Senior Analyst, at tcaserto@nshe.nevada.edu.

Nevada Institutions currently approved to participate in SARA:

Is a SARA institution required to register with the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office as a Foreign Corporation?

There is no blanket exception for SARA institutions under Nevada’s business/corporation laws.  Under Chapter 80 of Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS), a SARA institution may have to register as a foreign corporation, depending upon the type of entity and the activities conducted within Nevada.  In addition, institutions may need a business license under NRS Chapter 76.  Exceptions are provided under this chapter for certain types of entities, including certain governmental and tax-exempt organizations.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s Office recommends that your institutional legal counsel review these statutes and contact them with additional questions on the requirements for registration in Nevada for your institution.

Nevada Secretary of State
Commercial Recordings Division
202 North Carson Street
Carson City, NV 89701
Phone: 775-684-5708
Email: sosmail@sos.nv.gov

Complaints regarding Nevada degree-granting post-secondary institutions participating in the National State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA):

As the designated portal agency, NSHE has the responsibility for managing and resolving student complaints arising under SARA. Absent applicable law or policy establishing another remedy, the first step in resolving student or other complaints or grievances is to attempt to resolve the matter directly with the administration of the involved institution under established institution complaint or grievance procedures.

With limited exceptions, a student or other person who contacts the NSHE office regarding complaints involving Nevada institutions participating in the National State Authorization Agreement (SARA) will be referred to college or university officials responsible for resolving those matters. In the event that institutional processes do not result in a successful resolution of a SARA complaint, two Nevada entities are responsible for final resolution of any such complaints originating at a SARA participating institution:

  • Public Institutions in Nevada: NSHE is responsible for final resolution of any such complaints originating at any public SARA participant institution. Title 4, Chapter 14, Section 25 of the Board of Regents Handbook establishes the procedures governing SARA complaints.
  • Private Institutions in Nevada: The Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education (CPE) is responsible for final resolution of any such complaints originating at a private Sara participant institution domiciled in Nevada.  Please contact the CPE directly for more information on the complaint procedures:

Kelly D. Wuest
CPE Administrator/SAA Director
Commission on Postsecondary Education
1860 E. Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89104
Office Number:  (702) 486-7330
Facsimile:  (702) 486-7340

Conversely, if you are a Nevada resident attending a distance education program at a SARA (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement) institution in another state, you will need to begin the complaint process at the institution you attend. In the event that institutional processes do not result in a successful resolution of your complaint, the SARA Portal Agency of that state is responsible for final resolution of the complaint.

With limited exceptions, NSHE does not review anonymous complaints or matters that are or have been in litigation. Further, matters concerning an individual’s grades or examination results are the prerogative of the college/university faculty. Absent specific statutory authority for not allowing access or disclosure, all documents relating to public business in possession of Nevada employees, including complaints or grievances, responses to complaints or grievances and related documents are open to the public upon request. However, according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), student information and records that contain personally identifiable information regarding students, including student complaints or grievances and related documents, are confidential, subject to limited exceptions.

The following contact information has been provided to assist you with directing your complaint to the appropriate agency/office:

Terina Caserto, Senior Analyst
tcaserto@nshe.nevada.edu
Tel: (775) 784-4901
Fax: (775) 784-1127

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