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State Authorization

Shelton State has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.Shelton State Community College is a SARA-approved institution through the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), and a member in good standing with the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).


The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a voluntary agreement among its member states and U.S. territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs.  Distance education, for the purpose of SARA, is defined as instruction offered by any means where the student and faculty member are in separate physical locations.  It includes,  but is not limited to, online, virtual, and correspondence courses or programs.


NOTE:  For purposes of SARA, distance education also includes a limited number of group activities conducted for short periods on the ground in states other than Pennsylvania, including supervised field experiences for students such as field trips, practica, student teaching, clinicals, and internships.


SARA is intended to make it easier for students to take distance education courses and/or programs offered by postsecondary institutions that are based in a state other than the state where a student is physically located.  The student’s physical location is determined by where the student participates in the distance education activity, regardless of whether or not it is the student’s legal state of residence.  Such cases may include military assignments, temporary employment relocation, incarceration, etc.


SARA policy is intended to be consistent with federal law and is therefore subject to change based on federal rulemaking.  For more information on SARA and the policies and procedures set forth by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), please visit


Non-SARA States

California is the only state that does not currently participate in NC-SARA. Shelton State Community College is an out-of-state public institution with no physical presence in California and is not under the purview of the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education. Bureau approval for Shelton State Community College to offer its online programs to residents of California, therefore, is not required. Shelton State Community College is in compliance with California regulations concerning postsecondary distance education.


Non-SARA Territories

The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has no regulations, policies, or laws that restrict US institutions from providing distance education to citizens of FSM.


The Republic of the Marshall Islands has no regulations or rules regarding the authorization of distance education programs.


Student Complaints

Student complaints against an institution operating under NC-SARA go first through the institution’s own procedures. Out-of-State students who file complaints or appeals should follow procedures outlined in the “Shelton State Community College Catalog and Student Handbook.” If institutional procedures have been completed and the situation is not resolved, then the student may proceed to the State Portal Entity to complete a written complaint.