As an instituion of higher education, we are regionally accredited to operate in the State of Illinois. This has been the basis on which we have educated students for over 120 years.
For online courses and programs, however, our students are not geographically bound to our physical campus. This means we need to be authorized as a university in any state in which an online student resides. Initially, this meant that NIU would need to petition for authorization in any state where one of our onlien students resided, which was time-consuming and costly.
To simplify this process, the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) establishes a state-level reciprocity process that grants member institutions authorization to enroll students in their online courses and programs from any member state. NIU was granted membership in SARA in February, 2016.
To be a member, NIU must abide by the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education (PDF) adopted by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions and the Higher Learning Commission, and to report data on annual distance education enrollments to NC-SARA. In addition, NIU must notify any students in a course or program that leads to professional licensure whether the course or program would lead to licensure in the state where the student resides.
Northern Illinois University has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements