What is State Authorization?

If an institution wishes to offer educational opportunities outside of its own state or to students in other states, the U.S. Department of Education requires that the institution comply with any applicable state approval or licensure requirements. This process is known as state authorization.

Online learning activities such as enrolling students residing in other U.S. states in online or video courses, allowing students to complete experiential learning placements (internships, clinicals, etc.) in other U.S. states, or offering students short courses in other U.S. states are all activities that require state authorization.

Programs that lead to professional licensures are responsible for determining whether or not their program meets the licensing requirements in each state. Students must confirm that their assigned program meets the criteria in their own home state. TCU is unable to guarantee that program requirements are met in any state other than Texas.

State authorization map shows the states in which TCU has institutional authorization to enroll online learning students. The most recent changes for each state is published in The State Authorization Guide page. Programs involving licensed professions may be subject to state-specific additional program authorization requirements; students and prospective students in these programs are advised to consult the respective program director with any questions.

If an institution fails to comply with applicable authorization requirements, it may lose the ability to participate in federal financial aid programs.

What is SARA?

NC SARA logo indicating approved institutionThe State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary agreement among the 49 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico to permit certain types of educational activities without requiring requiring institutions to seek state-by-state authorization. TCU has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

As a SARA participant, TCU may engage in the following activities:

  • Enroll online students from SARA member states, subject to program-specific state authorization permissions.
  • Allow current TCU students to complete experiential learning placements in SARA member states; not all programs allow for opportunities in every SARA member state.
  • Permit current TCU students to engage in independent research or field study in SARA member states.
  • Arrange TCU-sponsored field trips in SARA member states; field trips are day-long trips.
  • Offer short courses in SARA member states, subject to the SARA parameters for short courses listed in the SARA Manual.

SARA is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state, thereby increasing educational opportunity and access. It protects students in other states by providing a process by which out-of-state online learning students can have their complaints about substantive programmatic or institutional issues addressed.

As a SARA participant, TCU is now authorized to offer its excellent online programs to a larger pool of potential students and current TCU students can take advantage of experiential learning opportunities in a larger number of locations.