Fact Sheet | September 14, 2021

What is State Authorization, and What Role Does NC-SARA Play?

Within the higher education regulatory triad – the federal government, states, accrediting agencies – states are tasked with the primary responsibility for ensuring consumer protection. The U.S. Department of Education drafted the State Authorization rule to ensure that institutions seeking access to federal student financial aid both (1) follow the laws established by states to protect students as consumers and (2) seek authorization for on-the-ground and online distance education programs in the states where they operate.

This fact sheet answers some of the most asked questions about State Authorization and online distance education. It also provides background information on interstate reciprocity and the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).