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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement


On August, 15, 2016, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) Commissioners approved Wisconsin’s application to join the Midwest State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (MSARA). With Wisconsin’s participation, there are currently 41 states that have joined SARA. The map showing which states have joined SARA is available here.

Private Nonprofit colleges and universities headquartered in Wisconsin can submit applications to the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU). The standard institutional application form can be accessed here. Upon submission, WAICU will review the applications and, if in proper form, will submit for approval at the next scheduled meeting of the Wisconsin Distance Learning Authorization Board (DLAB).  DLAB is Wisconsin’s portal entity created by Wis.Stat. Ch.39.85, to (among other things) review Wisconsin reciprocity applications.

In order to be eligible to join MSARA, an institution must fulfill all of the conditions below (NC-SARA Policy and Standards):

  1. Be accredited by an accrediting agency that is recognized by the U.S. Dept. of Education;
  2. Have its principal campus in this state and hold its accreditation in this state;
  3. Have authority to offer degrees at an associate level or higher in this state; and
  4. Offer distance education programs or grant degrees or certificates in connection with the program.

Once your institutional application form is complete, please submit the form, your accreditation approval letter, and other supporting documents in one PDF file to Please have your president or chief academic officer sign the application form (any campus official can initial the verification boxes).  The application will be reviewed within 60 days of submittal and, if in proper form, forwarded to DLAB for review.

If the DLAB approves your application, your institution’s approval will be forwarded to the MSARA Executive Committee who will verify the approval and notify the National council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) of the institution’s participation. NC-SARA will then contact the institution directly to request payment by credit card or check for the fee required to participate in MSARA. There will be no additional DLAB or state fee beyond what SARA charges for participating in MSARA at this time. Upon payment, the institution will be authorized to offer distance learning (as defined in the SARA Standard Terms and Conditions) in any other state that is a member of SARA. For those states that have not joined SARA, you will have to continue to obtain state authorization for any distance education program that qualifies as “physical presence” per each state’s requirements. Be sure to do so if required.

Fee information and additional process information can be found here.

The NC-SARA fees to participate in SARA:

  • Under 2,500 enrolled FTE      = annual fee of $2,000
  • 2,500 – 9,999 enrolled FTE    = annual fee of $4,000
  • 10,000+ enrolled FTE              = annual fee of $6,000

Once an institution is formally approved, it will be listed as an “approved institution” on the DLAB webpage and can then begin to offer distance learning programs, as defined by state law, to those other states that are members of SARA without having to seek additional or separate authorization.

Please direct any questions, concerns, or comments to Rebecca Larson, executive vice president for external relations, at, or call at 608.204.5234.