What is State Authorization?
State Authorization is the process of gaining approval from other states to operate within their borders. The purpose is consumer protection.
National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)
Texas Woman’s University has been approved by Texas to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Prior to the establishment of NC-SARA, institutions had to receive permission from every states’ government to participate in distance education programs with students from those states. NC-SARA allows institutions within states that are part of NC-SARA to provide distance education courses to students without having to create a new agreement. Currently, all states except for California are members of NC-SARA. NC-SARA also includes Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. NC-SARA improves the ability of students to participate in distance education courses offered by institutions of higher education that are outside of a student’s location. Additionally, NC-SARA establishes a formal and common complaint process for distance education students that are enrolled in NC-SARA states.
For more information on State Authorization, please visit NC-SARA.
As of January 22, 2020, no adverse actions related to our online degree programs have been initiated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) or the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) against Texas Woman’s University for the past five years.
If you are a student that needs more information on the complaint process, please visit the Student Complaint Process page.
What does “Operate” mean?
The term “operate” refers to any educational activity, or trigger, that a TWU student does on behalf of TWU while physically located in another state. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Online Courses
- Face-to-face Courses
- Internships, practicums, student-teaching, etc.
- Proctored Exams
It also refers to business that TWU conducts in another state such as:
- Employing faculty or staff in another state
- Owning or leasing property where education takes place
- Contracting with an institution to provide access to resources
- Recruiting (Academic and Athletic)
- Maintaining in-state contact information or an internet server
Does every state require us to seek authorization?
No. Since joining NC-SARA, TWU is now authorized to offer distance education in 49 States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although California is not part of NC-SARA, California does not regulate non-profit higher education and we are able to provide distance education to students who are in that state with the caveat that students and institutions are not bound NC-SARA regulations.
How do we know if we need authorization or not?
Since joining NC-SARA, TWU no longer needs to seek authorization from each state separately. However, authorization may be required for students who are located outside of the U.S.
Texas Woman’s University was one of six SANsational award winners for 2018. The SANsational awards are given by the national State Authorization Network to recognize creative solutions to issues that arise with state authorization compliance.
- Contact our office at 940-898-3409 or TLT@twu.edu
- Six Common Myths about State Authorization for Distance Education
- WCET’s Website – State Authorization of Out-of-State Institutions
Page last updated 3:40 PM, September 7, 2021