Interstate Authorization of Online Programs is a Big Step Forward

by Jay Schalin

Online education has not yet had the impact many expected. There are some intrinsic problems with it, such as the fact that it is much more efficient to explain difficult concepts face-to-face than by typing.

But one of the reasons for its slow progress is completely unnecessary: protectionism by states that have, until recently, insisted that all online programs offered to their residents undergo their own state authorization processes. This is time-consuming and costly, and has greatly limited the online options for students as many schools offering online courses don’t bother fighting through the red tape.

But now there is SARA—the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. Once a program is authorized by one state, it is authorized by all the member states, eliminating the protectionism. Jenna A. Robinson discusses SARA and calls for the state of North Carolina to adopt it immediately.