State authorization

The University must meet many state and federal requirements in order to comply with consumer protection laws and regulations designed to protect students. These requirements include following laws and seeking authorization to provide postsecondary education in any state in which the University operates, making certain disclosures regarding programs that lead to professional licenses or certifications, and providing a complaint process for distance education classes. This is often referred to as “state authorization.”

State authorization for distance education

Federal regulations require that the University be authorized by any state in which it operates. The University maintains membership in the National Counsel for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) in order to meet the federal requirements for distance education. NC-SARA is a national initiative that increases student access to distance education courses and programs while maintaining compliance with state regulations. Institutions participating in NC-SARA can offer distance education opportunities in NC-SARA member states without seeking individual approval in each state.

On May 14, 2014 the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education (WICHE) approved the State of Nevada as a SARA member state. On, November 21, 2014, the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) approved the University of Nevada, Reno as a SARA institution.

In order to maintain membership in NC-SARA, the University must meet rigorous standards and report data regarding distance education and out-of-state activities annually. Learn more about NC-SARA on the NC-SARA website.

Other activities covered by NC-SARA

Along with distance education, NC-SARA membership also covers a limited number of other out-of-state instructional activities, including individual or small-group learning placements and field experiences, short field trips, and short courses and seminars.

If you are planning a learning experience that will take place outside of Nevada, please contact the Provost’s Office immediately to find out if the learning experience you are planning is covered by NC-SARA.

In-person classes & other learning experiences

For any out-of-state activities not covered by the University’s participation in NC-SARA, the University must seek authorization to offer post-secondary education from the state in which those activities will occur. Typically, these activities include teaching in-person classes, large-group learning placements/field experiences ( >10 students per site), and multi-day field trips.

Authorization processes and requirements vary by state. It can take several months to complete the authorization process and authorization is not guaranteed, so it is important to start the process as early as possible!

If you are planning a learning experience that will take place outside of Nevada, please contact the Provost’s Office immediately to start the process to obtain state authorization.

For more information about SARA, visit the State Authorization Resourcessite on SharePoint.