RI-SARA

nc-sara logo         nebhe logo

Overview 

In December 2015, the Council on Postsecondary Education/ Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner became the portal agency for Rhode Island-SARA, based on the authority given under RIGL §16-59-6 (14, 15). The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, D.C., and U.S. territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offerings of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. Joining in this agreement makes it easier for RI students to take high-quality online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in other states and also streamlines administration for RI institutions that want to offer distance learning opportunities out of state.

SARA is overseen by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) and administered by four regional education compacts, with the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) being the regional entity for Rhode Island. 

The following institutions have been approved to participate in RI-SARA: 

  • Johnson & Wales University
  • New England Institute of Technology
  • Roger Williams University
  • Salve Regina University
  • University of Rhode Island

 


RI-SARA Application Process

All Rhode Island institutions of higher education are invited to apply to join RI-SARA. Each institutional application will have substantive agreement provisions (e.g., academic, financial, and procedural) depending on the following provisions and commitments:

If your institution is interested in applying to join RI-SARA, please complete the form below so that we can follow up with you.

If you have questions about eligibility, you can contact Dr. Michael Walker-Jones, Assistant Commissioner for External Relations, who is the SARA coordinator for Rhode Island: Michael.Walker-Jones@riopc.edu or 401-736-1122.  

 

Complete the RI-SARA form

 


Fees for RI-SARA Institutions

RI-SARA institutions pay an application fee to RI-SARA and a national fee to NC-SARA. Once an institution is approved, these fees provide reciprocity for the RI institution to operate in every NC-SARA state, rather than having to seek authorization from each individual NC-SARA state. Approved institutions must pay an annual renewal fee to remain authorized as an RI-SARA approved institution. The schedule of fees for NC-SARA can be found on the NC-SARA website.

RI-SARA state fees are due at the time of application, and the fee schedule for institutions is as follows: 

 

Rhode Island In-state Institutions: Initial Application Fees

  • $3,500 for institutions with FTE under 2,500
  • $6,000 for institutions with FTE 2,500--9,999
  • $8,500 for institutions with FTE 10,000+

 

 Rhode Island In-state Institutions: Annual Renewal Fees

  • $1,500 for institutions with FTE under 2,500
  • $4,000 for institutions with FTE 2,500--9,999
  • $6,000 for institutions with FTE 10,000+

 


Other Institutions

The Council on Postsecondary Education has established a process for non-profit institutions who are interested in offering distance learning opportunities to RI residents but whose home state is not part of NC-SARA (non-SARA). 

In order to protect consumers, the Council requires institutions to make substantive academic, financial, and procedural commitments:

  • Agree to abide by the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education adopted by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions;
  • Agree to work with the Council on Postsecondary Education and the Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner to resolve any complaints arising from students in Rhode Island, and to abide by decisions of that entity;
  • Agree to pay annual non-SARA fees.

 

Out-of-state, Non-Profit, Non-SARA Institutions: Initial Application Fees

  • $5,000 for institutions with FTE under 2,500
  • $7,500 for institutions with FTE 2,500--9,999
  • $10,000 for institutions with FTE 10,000+

 

Out-of-state, Non-Profit, Non-SARA Institutions: Annual Authorization Fees

  • $5,000 for institutions with FTE under 2,500
  • $7,500 for institutions with FTE 2,500--9,999
  • $10,000 for institutions with FTE 10,000+

 

If your institution is interested in applying to operate as a non-SARA institution, please complete the form below so that we can follow up with you.

If you have questions about eligibility, you can contact Dr. Michael Walker-Jones, Assistant Commissioner for External Relations, who is the SARA coordinator for Rhode Island: Michael.Walker-Jones@riopc.edu or 401-736-1122.  

 

Complete the non-SARA form

 


Council Policies and Procedures Related to RI-SARA

In order to become a SARA portal agency, the Council on Postsecondary Education updated its policies regarding distance learning and student complaints. You can check out the relevant policies here: