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SARA Information for Instructors

State Authorization of Distance Education and Professional Licensure Considerations

Overview

In collaboration with campus-wide partners, Georgia Southern University is actively monitoring the status of federal and state regulations pertaining to the delivery of distance education. Every U.S. state has enacted laws and regulations governing activities by educational providers in their jurisdiction, and each individual state has its own standards of when an educational provider has crossed a statutory threshold into regulation.

An educational institution’s eligibility to provide federal financial aid is tied to compliance with the distance education laws in each jurisdiction where educational activities are subject to state regulation. Accordingly, Georgia Southern works with campus partners and with state agencies where authorization is required to ensure compliance with relevant distance education regulations. Inquiries pertaining to distance education regulations at Georgia Southern should be addressed to The Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) Coordinator, Marsha Miller, at mmiller@georgiasouthern.edu (phone: 912.344.3354).  Please also consider visiting the website maintained by Georgia Southern’s Internal Audit, Risk, & Compliance for more information regarding compliance programs administered across the University community.

SARA Georgia and Other State Entities

Georgia Southern University is a participating institution in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) administered by GA-SARA. The Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission is the designated the portal agency for SARA – the entity responsible for coordinating SARA activities in Georgia. Georgia’s portal agency contact information is as follows:

Mr. Adam Hawk
GA-SARA Coordinator
Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC)
2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220
Tucker, GA 30084
770.414.3310
adamh@gnpec.ga.gov

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

  • Enroll online students from SARA member states, subject to program-specific state authorization permissions.
  • Allow current Georgia Southern students to complete experiential learning placements in SARA member states, subject to certain limitations.
  • Permit current Georgia Southern students to engage in independent research or field study in SARA member states.
  • Arrange Georgia Southern-sponsored field trips in SARA member states.
  • Offer short courses and seminars 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 distance learning students can have their complaints about substantive programmatic or institutional issues addressed.

Experiential Learning Placements & Reporting

The Center for Teaching Excellence Coordinator oversees Georgia Southern’s participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Georgia Southern’s participation in SARA permits students to complete Experiential Learning Placements in states other than Georgia, subject to certain limitations. Such placements include internships, externships, clinicals, practicums, clerkships, student teaching, rotations, and other on-the-ground supervised learning / field experiences. The CTE Coordinator is responsible for communicating with each department each semester in order to obtain an accurate state-by-state count for Georgia Southern’s national reporting obligations.

Last updated: 3/2/2020