Every state has the authority to regulate which postsecondary institutions offer education within its boundaries, including online programs and courses. The need to seek state authorization for online learning depends on a combination of each state’s laws and the activities that a course, program, or institution is conducting in that state.
UNC Charlotte participates in the national State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA, see additional information below) and is, therefore, authorized to offer online programs and courses in all its member states and territories. Currently, California is the only state that is not a member of SARA. However, UNC Charlotte is able to offer distance programs in California due to state regulatory exemptions.
STATE AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENTS (SARA)
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) are a group of agreements among member states, districts, and territories in the United States, which establish comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It simplifies the process of taking online courses offered by an institution based in another state. SARA is overseen by a national council (NC-SARA) and administered by four regional education compacts.
UNC Charlotte was approved to participate in NC-SARA on September 7, 2017, and renews this participation annually.
POTENTIAL CONSEQUENCES OF CHANGING STATE OF RESIDENCE
When you are taking courses online, where you live—the place from which you access academic resources, your state of residence—matters. UNC Charlotte must be authorized (or otherwise allowed) by your state to deliver your academic program to you. The paragraphs above explain where and how the University is authorized. Students who begin an online program while residing in a state in which UNC Charlotte is authorized to offer an online program need to be aware that moving to a state in which the University is not authorized to offer the program may have negative consequences. While the University attempts to obtain authorization everywhere its students live, moving to a state in which the University is not authorized could result in the loss of eligibility for certain forms of financial aid and/or in the inability to complete the academic program.
UNC Charlotte is not currently authorized to offer any of its online programs outside of the United States.