Our organizations have a shared goal of ensuring that higher education students are protected from predatory schools and have access to high quality education that does not leave them with unmanageable debt, no matter whether they enroll in brick-and-mortar programs or in online education. As colleges across the country transition to remote learning, the role of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is of increasing important.
Reciprocity agreements can be important tools in streamlining oversight and promoting quality educational opportunity, but only so far as the specific terms of the agreement are sufficiently robust. In the case of NC-SARA, its terms represent a net increase in the regulation of distance education in some states, but they also undermine safeguards and consumer protections in others. Some of our organizations have previously offered recommendations for how NC-SARA could be strengthened to facilitate the provision of quality online educational opportunities across state lines while supporting robust oversight structures to ensure consumer protection.