COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Disruption Alert

Due to the disruptions of higher education caused by the COVID-19 many institutions of higher education (IHEs) now find themselves offering distance education to their students now located across state lines.

IHEs that do not participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) are reminded that while the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance stating that it is "… providing broad approval to institutions to use online technologies to accommodate students on a temporary basis without going through the regular approval process of the Department in the event [the IHE] is required to seek Departmental approval…" authorization by the state where the student is located may still be required.

Institutions that do not participate in SARA:

  • Wisconsin IHEs who do not participate in SARA should contact the individual state(s) where their distance education students are located to determine what authorizations, if any, may be required.
  • IHEs located outside of Wisconsin who do not participate in SARA are directed to contact the Educational Approval Program of the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to determine State of Wisconsin requirements to be authorized to offer distance education to students located in Wisconsin.

Institutions that do participate in SARA:

  • Both Wisconsin IHEs and out-of-state IHEs who participate in SARA continue to be authorized to offer distance education across state lines to students located in the states and territories that are members of SARA, including Wisconsin.

The regional higher education compacts (Wisconsin is a member of the Midwestern Higher Education Compact or MHEC) have organized a network of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements or SARAs. Under these agreements, participating states will recognize the regulations of the home state of postsecondary institutions offering distance learning. Wisconsin law pertaining to Wisconsin institutions will similarly be recognized by other states participating in the reciprocity agreements, thereby exempting Wisconsin colleges and universities from bureaucratic hurdles and costs.

The Distance Learning Authorization Board (DLAB) was created under Wisconsin Act 208 to represent Wisconsin higher education institutions for SARA. The functions of the DLAB benefit students and improve efficiency, ensuring that Wisconsin public and private higher education institutions can offer high quality educational opportunities to out-of-state students and comply with requirements in serving these students in an efficient and cost-effective way by entering into a SARA.

Participating SARA States