State Authorization & Distance Learning
As an institution that participates in federal financial aid programs under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Michigan State University is required to comply with regulations regarding distance education. These regulations require institutions of higher education to obtain approval from the states in which they provide postsecondary education programs. The regulations allow authorization to come directly from a state or through a "state authorization reciprocity agreement."
MSU participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which is an agreement among states that establishes national standards for the interstate offering of postsecondary distance-education courses and programs. Through SARA, MSU may provide distance education to residents of any other SARA member state without seeking authorization from each SARA member state. All states other than California (as an accredited public institution, MSU is exempt from approval by the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education) participate in SARA. Courses and programs incorporating a "supervised field experience" are considered distance education. Under SARA a "supervised field experience" means a student learning experience under the oversight of a supervisor, mentor, faculty member or other qualified professional, located in the host state, who has a direct or indirect reporting responsibility to the institution where the student is enrolled, whether or not credit is granted. Examples include practicums, student teaching or internships.