Mississippi Public Universities
State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

On November 2, 2015, the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) approved Mississippi as a member state to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), effective January 1, 2016. The Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (MCCA) has been designated the state portal agency for SARA.

What is SARA?
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is an agreement among member states, districts, and U.S. territories that establishes comparable nation-wide standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. The reciprocity allows participating Mississippi colleges and universities to offer distance programs and courses to residents of member states without seeking state-by-state approval, and is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a National Council (NC-SARA), and is administered by four regional education compacts.

States and institutions participating in SARA
NC-SARA maintains a list of states and institutions participating in SARA.

How can a Mississippi institution join SARA?
Mississippi institutions seeking authorization to participate in SARA will apply directly to the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (MCCA) utilizing the application form below and must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • be authorized to operate in Mississippi as an in-state institution
  • be accredited as a degree-granting institution of higher education by an accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE)
  • if not a public institution, document a composite score of at least 1.5 out of 3.0 on the USDE financial stability scale.

Institutions not satisfying the above conditions are ineligible to apply to MCCA for SARA membership.

Application and Approval Form for Institutional Participation in SARA: Download Here
(Note: Please disregard page 8 of the application.) The application must be completed in its original form and with required signature of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). Items 1-13 may be initialed by the CEO, CAO, or the principal SARA contact. Alterations or substitutions will not be accepted.

Renewal Application for Institution Participation in SARA: Download Here

Mississippi-SARA (MS-SARA) Supplemental Information Form: Click Here

Submit the SARA application, the MS-SARA supplemental information form, and documents (including the institution's continuity of operations document/plan, and the institution's student complaint process) to Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation, Attn: MS-SARA, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211.

Fees
A state fee that corresponds to 25% of the NC-SARA fee should accompany the application to cover administrative costs. The check should be made payable to the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation and mailed along with the application packet to 3825 Ridgewood Road, Jackson, MS 39211.

Once MCCA approves an institution, MCCA will notify SREB, NC-SARA, and the institution. NC-SARA will then send a notification to the institution with a registration/payment. The required annual fee paid to NC-SARA is based on an institution's total full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment as shown in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and is assessed as follows:

  • $2,000/year for institutions with fewer than 2,500 FTE students
  • $4,000/year for institutions between 2,500-9,999 FTE students
  • $6,000/year for institutions with 10,000 or more FTE students

Institutions approved to participate in SARA must renew applications annually and pay an MCCA annual fee and an NC-SARA annual fee.

Resources
National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA)

Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)

State Fee Schedule
Student complaint form