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State Authorization & Distance Education

Consistent with federal and state regulations, institutions that offer any out-of-state activities related to credit-bearing courses such as online courses, field experiences (e.g., internships for credit, practicums), and recruiting or marketing of programs are mandated to follow the other state’s laws and to obtain any necessary authorization to operate in that jurisdiction prior to conducting the activity.

To assist in the management of these requirements, the University of Virginia participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).  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. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.”  In instances where an activity is not covered by SARA, UVA must seek authorization or exemption from the state where the curriculum is accessed.  UVA works with regulatory agencies in each state and the U.S. Territories to seek authorization, exemption, or permission to offer degree or certificate programs and courses to residents outside Virginia who wish to enroll in UVA distance learning education opportunities.

All guidance provided on this site assumes that UVA’s presence in other states is on-line or specific to a field experience.  Establishing an administrative or instructional site (i.e., physical presence) outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia carries significant and distinct review and approval requirements. For additional information on institutional requirements, please contact to discuss requirements.