Skip to main content

State Authorizations for Distance Education

State Authorization of Distance Education and Professional Licensure Considerations

National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements


In collaboration with campus-wide partners, Georgia Southern University actively monitors the status of federal and state regulations pertaining to the delivery of distance education. Every U.S. state has enacted laws and regulations governing activities by educational providers in their jurisdiction, and each state has its own standards of when an educational provider has crossed a statutory threshold into regulation.

An educational institution’s eligibility to provide federal financial aid is tied to compliance with the distance education laws in each jurisdiction where educational activities are subject to state regulation. Accordingly, Georgia Southern works with campus partners and with state agencies where authorization is required to ensure compliance with relevant distance education regulations. Inquiries about distance education regulations at Georgia Southern University should be submitted to the Office of Adult and Online Learning ( Please also consider visiting the website maintained by Georgia Southern’s Internal Audit, Risk, & Compliance for more information regarding compliance programs administered across the university community.

SARA Georgia and Other State Entities

Georgia Southern University is a participating institution in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) administered by GA-SARA. The Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission is the designated the portal agency for SARA – the entity responsible for coordinating SARA activities in Georgia. The Georgia Portal Agency contact information is as follows:

Magda Rivers, Division Director
Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission (GNPEC)
2082 East Exchange Place, Suite 220
Tucker, GA 30084

Through its SARA designation, GS is authorized or not subject to approval to offer distance education in every state and Puerto Rico. GS periodically reviews the SARA regulations regarding authorization to offer distance education; however, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to be aware of the specific circumstances in their state of residence while participating in distance education.

As a SARA participant, GS may engage in the following activities:

  • Enroll online students from SARA member states, subject to program-specific state authorization permissions.
  • Allow current Georgia Southern students to complete experiential learning placements in SARA member states, subject to certain limitations.
  • Permit current Georgia Southern students to engage in independent research or field study in SARA member states.
  • Arrange Georgia Southern-sponsored field trips in SARA member states.
  • Offer short courses and seminars in SARA member states, subject to the SARA parameters for short courses listed in the SARA Manual.

SARA is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state, thereby increasing educational opportunity and access. It protects students in other states by providing a process by which out-of-state distance learning students can have their complaints about substantive programmatic or institutional issues addressed.

Under SARA Policies and Standards, the following complaint procedures apply to students who reside in SARA states:

  1. Students should first direct their initial complaint through Georgia Southern University’s Complaint PortalNote: Student grade appeals and/or student conduct violations “are governed entirely by institutional policy and the laws of the SARA institution’s home state.” (State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements Policies and Standards).
  2. Students who wish to appeal a Georgia Southern resolution of a complaint may direct an appeal (except for complaints about grades or student conduct violations), within two years of the incident about which the complaint is made, to the Georgia Portal Agency by reviewing the GA-SARA Student Complaint Rules and submitting a GNPEC Student Complaint Form. The resolution of the complaint by the Georgia Portal Agency is final.
  3. California is not a member of SARA and does not currently regulate distance education offered through public institutions. If students in the state of California wish to file a complaint, please visit the State of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs.
  4. If you are an out-of-state student and have a complaint that you feel has not been resolved through these grievance procedures, you may file a complaint with the state in which you reside. In compliance with Federal Department of Education regulations, please visit the Student Complaint Information by State and Agency website.

Experiential Learning Placements & Reporting

Georgia Southern’s participation in SARA permits students to complete Experiential Learning Placements in states other than Georgia, subject to certain limitations. Such placements include internships, externships, clinicals, practicums, clerkships, student teaching, rotations, and other on-the-ground supervised learning / field experiences. The Office of Adult and Online Learning is responsible for communicating with each department each semester in order to obtain an accurate state-by-state count for Georgia Southern’s national reporting obligations.

Professional Licensure

Georgia Southern University has not made a determination that its curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure or certification in states outside of Georgia.

Federal regulations require Georgia Southern University to disclose whether its licensure-related degree programs meet U.S. jurisdictions’ (states and territories) educational requirements for licensure (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)).

A jurisdiction’s professional licensing boards often require applicants for licensure to meet multiple requirements, including specific educational requirements. An institution’s program might meet all the educational requirements in one jurisdiction, but not another (for example, an applicant might need to complete an additional class).

Please refer to the list below to determine if Georgia Southern University online programs in which you have an interest meet the educational requirements specified by the associated licensing board in your jurisdiction.

Program Licensure Information by College

Waters College of Health Professions

College of Education

Parker College of Business

College of Behavior and Social Sciences

Last updated: 3/1/2024