State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) are agreements among member states, districts, and territories that establish comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education. Member states recognize participating institutions that are authorized in other member states. The intention is to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA-participation also allows students to have non-licensure program field experiences in other SARA-member states. Visit https://nc-sara.org/ for more information.
It matters where you are located when taking any course outside the state of Pennsylvania. This includes any traditional, online, or hybrid program, or any course involving learning placements outside of Pennsylvania. A learning placement is an activity such as an internship, externship, clinical rotation, practicum, independent study, etc. Each state has different standards for occupations that require a professional license or certification such as PK-12 teaching, nursing, social work, and many others. State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) participation does not include reciprocity with other states for their licensure/certification requirements. It is important to understand that should you change your program, your state of location, and/or where you intend to practice, the educational prerequisites can be very different based upon the state involved.
Bloomsburg University’s Professional Licensure and Certification Program spreadsheet provides information on the university’s licensure-track programs and whether each program’s curriculum meets each state’s educational requirements for professional licensure or certification. Bloomsburg University makes every effort to ensure that this information is current; however, state requirements may change without notice. Therefore, you are strongly encouraged to contact your state’s licensure board (contact information is provided in the linked spreadsheet) to review all licensure and certification requirements imposed by that state before beginning an academic program.
It is highly recommended that international students considering an online or on-campus academic program leading to professional licensure or certification first confirm with the applicable professional licensing entity in their country of residence and/or country in which they intend to work as to whether the BU program/degree is formally recognized. This includes, but is not limited to, when seeking licensure, certification, certain types of employment, and/or when enrolling in subsequent educational programs.
An institution must make a determination, in accordance with the institution’s policies or procedures, regarding the state in which a student is located, which must be applied consistently to all students. (34 CFR § 600.9(c)(2))
The difference between “location” and “residence” plays an important role in Bloomsburg University maintaining compliance with a number of regulations. “Location” is where a student is physically situated while participating in a University course of study. “Residence” applies to the state where a student votes and/or holds a driver’s license.
Bloomsburg University student location is initially determined by the information provided by the student at the time of enrollment. Student location is updated upon formal receipt of information from the student by the University that the student’s location has changed to another state.
Student location may be changed through these University processes:
- Update physical location information once each semester through the location to-do list item in your MyHusky Student Center
- Make subsequent updates throughout a semester by contacting the Director of Survey Research and Compliance, John Cosgrove, Ph.D.
Bloomsburg University strives to provide the highest quality educational programs available but recognizes the importance of providing an opportunity for students to make an appeal if a conflict does arise. As a SARA participating institution, BU has agreed to abide by the SARA student complaint process for distance education student complaints not related to grades or conduct. (Student complaints regarding grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by institutional policy and Pennsylvania laws, not through the state portal agency.)
Distance education students residing outside of Pennsylvania who have a grievance, complaint, or concern should attempt to resolve the issue internally in accordance with BU PRP 3592. Students who are unable to resolve the issue through the faculty member, department chair, and/or the dean may submit a complaint in writing via email to Kara Shultz, Ph.D., Interim Dean of Undergraduate Education, Professor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that grievances, complaints, or concerns submitted via this process with regard to a particular course, program, or department may be forwarded and discussed with the faculty member, department, or academic dean for resolution.
Distance education students who are unable to resolve the issue internally may contact the SARA portal agency of Pennsylvania within two years of the incident regarding the complaint. The PA portal agency will collaborate with the SARA portal agency of the state where the student is located to resolve the issue. California is not a SARA-member state at this time. A student participating in distance education while located in California should appeal to the appropriate agency specified in the "Student Complaint Information by State and Agency" document.
All other current, former, or prospective students who feel that their grievances, complaints, or concerns cannot be resolved by the University in accordance with PRP 3592 and the resources provided by the Dean of Students may file a complaint with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (State System) by completing in its entirety the Student Complaint Form. Information regarding the PASSHE Student Complaint Process may be found at: www.passhe.edu/studentcomplaints
Complaints not resolved at the State System level may be appealed to the University’s accreditor, Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) according to the MSCHE complaint process.
Please visit the complaints and grievances page for additional student complaint information.