State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

The U.S. Department of Education requires higher education institutions to be authorized to provide post-secondary educational instruction in their states. Many of these state laws and regulations also apply to online, distance, and correspondence educational instruction offered in that state.

Mount Wachusett Community College is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories of the United States. It establishes national standards for the interstate offering of distance education courses and programs. It simplifies the process of taking online classes at an institution of higher education based in another state. The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) is one of four regional education compacts and is the compact that administers SARA for institutions located in Massachusetts. A national council (NC-SARA) oversees SARA and the regional compacts.

Mount Wachusett Community College (MWCC) was approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to participate in SARA, and became a SARA institution in March 2019. At this time, only California is not a member state. If you reside in California and are interested in taking an online class at MWCC, please contact Admissions at 978-630-1110 or admissions@mwcc.mass.edu.

Complaint Procedure for Out-of-State Students from SARA Member States

MWCC is required to provide current and prospective online learning students with contact information for filing complaints. Students who desire to resolve a grievance should follow the College’s Student Grievance Procedure as outlined in the Massachusetts Community College System Student Code of Conduct.

If an out-of-state student from a SARA member state is not satisfied with the outcome of this process, they may appeal to the Massachusetts SARA portal agency. Complaints involving allegations of fraud and false or misleading information may also be filed with the Massachusetts portal agency.

The SARA portal agency in the student’s state of residence will be notified of any complaint filed with the Massachusetts portal agency. The student’s home state may assist the Massachusetts portal agency as needed. The complaint resolution by the Massachusetts portal agency is final and cannot be appealed to another state or federal agency or to NC-SARA.

Massachusetts Residents’ Complaint Procedure

If a Massachusetts residents’ complaint is not resolved at the institutional level of a Massachusetts college or university, a complaint can be initiated with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. For additional information, please go to the DHE’s in-state Student Complaint process.