Illinois is ninth state approved for participation in Midwestern-State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement
Late this afternoon Illinois was approved by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) as the ninth state to join the Midwestern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA). Illinois joins Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Ohio. Nationally, Illinois is the 28th state to join the agreement.
SARA is a nationwide initiative of states that will make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The effort is funded by a $3 million grant from Lumina Foundation, a $200,000 grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and fees paid by institutions.
“Illinois’ adoption of the SARA process to approve quality distance learning opportunities for Illinois students who desire to use distance education to achieve their college degrees is an important step. SARA not only serves students by ensuring quality courses, but also helps Illinois colleges and universities to provide access to useful online courses to students around the nation,” said James Applegate, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. “Expanding delivery of college degrees is a priority as Illinois strives to increase the number of Illinoisans with college credentials and degrees to 60% by 2025.”
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) will serve as the state “portal” agency and as the single point of contact for all Illinois institutions participating in SARA. The Illinois Community College Board will determine eligibility for Illinois’ community colleges. All public universities and independent institutions will be determined eligible by IBHE. Institutional participation applications will be accepted by IBHE immediately. Additional information about SARA is available on IBHE’s website at www.ibhe.org.
“Illinois is the largest state, to date, to join SARA,” said Larry Isaak, MHEC president. “We are very pleased that Illinois institutions will now be able to participate in SARA and more efficiently offer their programs to other states’ citizens, and as well that Illinois citizens will expand their access to broader higher education opportunities.”
MHEC Director of Communications and Marketing