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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)

Northern Illinois University has been approved by the Illinois Board of Higher Education as an Illinois institution participating in the NC-SARA agreement. NC-SARA stands for The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA 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 a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts. When an institution applies to its state SARA agency, it has to complete a document showing it will abide by guidelines to ensure that students from other states enrolling in its online programs are being offered quality programming with appropriate oversight and consumer protection.

The following map indicates which states are participating in SARA as of January, 2016. If you are from one of the highlighted states and you are interested in taking an online program or course, you may do so because your home state and NIU in Illinois have both signed on to the agreement.  However, certain programs which require clinical assignments or practicums might have additional restrictions, so it is important to check with the program’s advisor.

When you enroll in an NIU online program or course, the rules and regulations that govern all NIU online students apply to you as well. As part of your rights under SARA, you must be informed of ways to file a complaint. Click here for information about your rights as an NIU student and the processes in place to follow up on your concerns.