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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement

 

Connecticut has been accepted as a participant in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, or SARA. SARA allows institutions offering distance education outside of their home state to enroll students under uniform procedures. SARA is managed via regional boards and a national council.

 

The Office of Higher Education is the portal agency for administration of SARA in Connecticut, and is responsible for the review of institutional applications and the resolution of out-of-state students’ complaints against SARA institutions located in Connecticut.

 

Institutional Participation

 

Participation in SARA is voluntary. Degree-granting institutions that are located and authorized to operate in Connecticut and are accredited by an entity recognized by the United States Department of Education may apply to the Office of Higher Education for approval to join. Approved Connecticut institutions are able to enroll students from other SARA states without having to seek approval from those states.

 

The institutional application must be completed and submitted to the Office of Higher Education along with the appropriate fee. A separate fee must also be remitted directly to the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. The state fee for Connecticut institutions of higher education shall be calculated based upon the institution’s full-time equivalent enrollment:

 

Less than 2,000
2,000 to 9,999
10,000 or more
$3,000
$6,000
$9,000

 

Applications will not be reviewed until the state fee has been paid. An approval to participate in SARA is valid for one year and must be renewed with the Office of Higher Education annually. Failure to abide by the terms in the institutional application may result in termination of an institution’s ability to participate in SARA.

 

Prior to expiration of initial approval, institutions will be prompted to renew participation by the National Council. Renewal applications are available on the SARA website (below) and must be submitted to the Office of Higher Education with the appropriate annual fee described above. Once an application and state fee are submitted, the process for renewal follows the initial approval procedure. After review and approval by the Office of Higher Education, renewing institutions will receive notification and an invoice from the National Council. Renewal is complete upon notification by the National Council that an institution has been approved.

 

Student Complaints

 

Pursuant to federal regulations and the terms of SARA, the Office of Higher Education is responsible for the investigation and resolution of out-of-state students’ complaints against institutions of higher education based in Connecticut and offering distance education via SARA. Note that issues regarding student life, such as discipline, grading, etc., fall solely within the purview of the institution and are not generally investigated. Additionally, the Office of Higher Education does not investigate anonymous complaints or provide legal advice.

 

Within two years of the incident complained of, out-of-state students enrolled in a Connecticut institution via SARA may file a complaint in accordance with the following steps:

 

1.  The student must attempt to resolve the complaint by exhausting the institution’s established internal grievance procedures. These are usually published in the institution’s catalog, student handbook and/or posted on the institution’s website. Absent extenuating circumstances, the Office of Higher Education will not investigate complaints filed by students who have not first sought a resolution with the institution.

2.  If all remedies at the institutional level have been exhausted and the complaint is not resolved, the student may file a complaint with the Office of Higher Education. To file a complaint, please follow these procedures. All documentation for review related to the complaint must be provided by the student as part of the filing.

3.  The Office of Higher Education will process the complaint and provide copies of all documents filed with the complaint to the institution. The institution has 20 days to respond. After receiving a response and conducting an investigation, the Office of Higher Education will issue a findings report to all parties. The findings report is final.

 

If a Connecticut student is enrolled in a distance education program offered by a SARA institution based in another state, the student should contact the portal agency in that state to pursue the complaint process. Connecticut students enrolled in Connecticut institutions must first exhaust an institution’s established internal grievance procedures, and then should contact the Office of Higher Education prior to filing a complaint.  

 

Contact

All correspondence, including institutional applications and student complaints, should be sent via email or post to:  ctsara@ctohe.org

 

SARA Coordinator

Office of Higher Education

450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 510

Hartford, CT 06103-1841

 

Additional Information

SARA Applications

FAQs

SARA States and Institutions

 

 


450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 510, Hartford, CT  06103-1841, Phone:  860-947-1800

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