What Out-of-State Educational Activities are Covered by NC-SARA?

What Distance Learning Issues Are Addressed in NC-SARA?

NC-SARA is the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. This Council is responsible for managing reciprocity agreements for distance education programs between the United States and its territories. The agreement creates an easier pathway for students to navigate to attend classes or receive a degree with an institution outside of their home state.

State Professional Licensure

To comply with the NC-SARA agreement, FAU has agreed to notify students when the programs offered online do not meet state licensure requirements. Before launch, all degrees must be evaluated through the program migration process as 100% online to ensure no licensure issues are associated with the courses, certificate, or degree programs. Each state and territory must be evaluated due to the complexity of licensure issues. Unexpected licensure issues can arise. This evaluation does not prevent launching of online if the online program does not meet licensure in a state. However, it does require FAU to officially notify students that the course, certificate, or degree does not meet licensure requirements for specific states.

Is the Out-of-State Activity Covered by NC-SARA?

NC-SARA addresses issues related to the delivery of online courses across state lines. However, as a university, it is possible for a department to sponsor or to require learning experiences outside of Florida. The NC-SARA agreement may or may not cover these activities. Activities not covered require the professor or the department to inquire if the state in which the students are visiting requires permission from the respective state department of education.

What Out-of-State Institutional Activities Are Not Addressed in NC-SARA?

The intent of NC-SARA was not to provide permission to an institution for creating on-ground presence across state lines. Therefore, NC-SARA does not cover all out-of-state activities. For on-ground presence in states beyond Florida, the NC-SARA agreement requires academic units to seek state permission. Below is a chart detailing what is or is not permissible activities based upon the NC-SARA agreement.

Out-of-State Field Trips or Field Study Sites

NC-SARA does not cover long-term field trips or field study locations. However, departments and classes can plan for these types of educational experiences. The state in which the students and instructors will be visiting needs to be notified that the students and faculty are in the state. Below are questions to assist in the identification of whether the instructional activity is covered by NC-SARA. Answering yes to any of these questions requires notification of the state:

  1. Will the students participate in more than 20 classroom hours in a six-month period using a non-traditional semester format at the research site or in the state?
  2. Will the students be meeting for more than six hours or more than two meetings during a traditional semester?
  3. Will the students be staying for multi-nights at a specific educational site?
  4. On multiple site visits within the state, will the students be spending more than one night in the hotel before visiting the next site on the itinerary?

If you have questions about what is authorized or not by the NC-SARA agreement, please contact the Center of Online and Continuing Education at NCSARA@fau.edu .

Other Authorized and Unauthorized Instructional Activities Outside of Florida

Activities Authorized by NC-SARA

  • Courses that do not require students to gather physically in groups.
  • Advertising to students.
  • Offering courses on a military base or vessel.
  • Maintaining a server, router, or similar electronic device.
  • Having faculty, adjunct faculty, mentors, tutors, recruiters, or other academic personnel residing in another state working from home or other private, non-institutional sites. Staff cannot engage in activities that would constitute physical presence (see not covered).
  • Holding proctored exams.
  • Having contractual arrangements.
  • Offering limited supervised field experiences.
  • Using recruiters.
  • Engaging in field trips not involving residential or instructional facilities.
  • Exam preparation that is integral to course or program work.
  • Dual-credit courses work (some restrictions).
  • One-on-one tutoring. Independent off-campus study (thesis or dissertation).
  • Short course work that is less than 20 classroom hours outside of Florida.
  • Supervised field experiences.
  • Less than 10 students placed simultaneously at one clinic or practicum site (more requires state approval).

Activities that NC-SARA Does Not Cover

  • Class sessions held in another state:
    • At a fixed location outside of Florida beyond one day.
    • Requiring students to meet outside of Florida more than two times per semester.
    • Short courses that require more than 20 contact hours in 1 six-month period outside of Florida.
    • Field study or research beyond 20 hours as established in short courses.
  • Providing information for the purpose of enrolling students or providing support services on behalf of FAU outside of Florida.
  • Establishing an administrative office outside of Florida.
  • Maintaining office space for instructional or non-instructional staff outside of Florida.
  • Maintaining a mailing address or phone exchange in a state outside of Florida. (Does not include cell phone usage when passing through a state).
  • Research or other physical sites (excluding a military base or vessel).
  • Test preparation or similar training programs offered by non-degree-granting institutions.
  • Professional licensure in states outside of Florida.
  • More than 10 students placed at the same clinic or practicum site outside of Florida.

If you have questions about what is authorized or not by the NC-SARA agreement, please contact the Center of Online and Continuing Education at NCSARA@fau.edu .