The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories which establishes a uniform set of guidelines and regulations surrounding distance education and online learning. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by out-of-state institutions. SARA also allows students to complete out-of-state field experiences for programs that do not lead to licensure. It is one-hundred percent voluntary for states and institutions to join SARA.
On December 7th, 2016, West Chester University (WCU) was approved to become a participant in SARA. Participating in SARA allows WCU to offer online courses, and non-licensure field experience placements in all other SARA states, districts, and territories. Currently, 49 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are part of SARA. Visit the NC-SARA website for the most up-to-date information about member states, districts, and territories.
California is currently the only state that is not a part of SARA, but WCU does not meet any criteria that would require regulation at this time. Therefore, WCU can still offer online courses and non-licensure field experience placements to students in California.
Each state has its own set of standards and regulations for careers that require licensure (i.e. nursing, social work, k-12 teacher, etc.). The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) does not cover regulations regarding professional licensure in reciprocating states, districts, and territories.
West Chester University’s programs are designed to meet the requirements of the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) for recommending candidates for licensure/certification. If you are considering a program that leads to licensure/certification, or that you believe leads to licensure/certification, and plan to seek licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania, it is your responsibility to seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency BEFORE beginning the academic program. Licensure requirements by occupation and state can be found at CareerOneStop.
As a participant in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), WCU has agreed to abide by the SARA student complaint process.
Online students residing outside of Pennsylvania should first submit a formal complaint internally by following the guidelines laid out in West Chester University’s student complaint policy and catalog. If the issue is not resolved through WCU’s internal complaint policy process, then online students residing in a SARA state may contact the SARA portal agency of Pennsylvania within two years of the incident regarding the complaint. Online students residing in California should contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs after exhausting all internal complaint procedures. Contact information can be found on the List of Student Complaint Agencies by State document .