OHSU, through the State of Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC), is a participant in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Oregon is currently one of 49 states which have joined the council. California is the only state which is not a member of NC-SARA. A complete listing of participating states and institutions can be found on the NC-SARA website.
States join NC-SARA. Institutions within states need to apply for approval from their state governmental portal agency. The decision to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is left up to the specific institution and not all institutions in each participating state are members of SARA. SARA institutions must be accredited by an accrediting body "recognized" by the U.S. Department of Education and whose scope of authority, as specified by the Department, includes distance education. OHSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
SARA establishes comparable national standards for the interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. The goal of SARA is to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. All participating institutions must agree to operate under the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education developed by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC).
Distance education and online courses
Participation in SARA allows accepted out-of-state students to take on-line courses from other SARA states. Students from states that are not SARA members are not eligible for Title IV funding and not able to take on-line courses unless OHSU is granted approval to operate or determined to be exempt from the student's home state. Currently California is the only state not to join SARA but California has granted state institutions exempt status.
The state of California is now accepting complaints from residents regarding public and non-profit institutions through the state's Department of Consumer Affairs. A link to California's complaint process can be found below at Complaint Process by following the link and selecting California.
Institutions in non-SARA States or non-participating institutions must seek approval from HECC to send students to Oregon to participate in clinical or residency experiences.
Clinical experiences and internships are also addressed in the SARA participation. SARA member institutions can accept students from other SARA member institutions. Under the Unified State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (3.4.3):
Experiential learning opportunities, such as a clinical, practicum, residency, or internship, provided that:
- The institution has already obtained all the necessary professional and licensure approvals necessary (if any) to conduct the learning opportunity in the state, and
- Only 10 students in the same academic program from each institution are physically present simultaneously at a single field placement site unless a higher number is approved by the host state's portal agency.
NC-SARA and the four regional compacts that administer SARA have an expectation, set forth in the reciprocity agreement, that any institution that offers courses or programs potentially leading to professional licensure must keep all students informed as to whether such offerings actually meet state licensing requirements. Having regional and specialized accreditation, OHSU's educational programs have the academic rigor to prepare students for licensure exams. For specific state licensure qualifications, because the requirements have the potential to change frequently, students should inquire with that state's appropriate agency.
Some professional organizations provide information regarding licensure on a state-by-state basis:
OHSU is required by statute to cover its students with liability insurance. OHSU does not require its students to carry their own liability insurance and OHSU can provide proof of liability for out of state rotations. However, there are a few jurisdictions that we may look at with more scrutiny based on historic practices of high jury verdicts or being unfavorable to defendants.
These locations currently are:
- New York
- Cook County, Illinois
- Philadelphia, PA
These locations change frequently so please check with Risk Management (503-494-7189) if you are considering sending a student to one of these regions.
If an online student has a complaint against the institution, as a SARA participant, the SARA complaint process should be followed. A student has the right to file a complaint with:
- The Institution delivering the educational content (OHSU's complaint process - Policy 02-20-045)
- If a student is dissatisfied with the OHSU outcome, an appeal may be made to the State Entity of the Institution delivering the educational content (HECC). File a complaint - read more
- A student may appeal to their home state consumer protection agency – find a state consumer protection agency on USA.gov.
NC-SARA does not accept grade appeals or conduct complaints.