Any degree-granting institution based in the United States, holding proper authorization from Congress, a U.S. state or a federally recognized Indian tribe and holding accreditation from an accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education -- whose scope of recognition as specified by the U.S. Department of Education, include distance education -- is eligible to apply to its home state to participate in SARA if that state is a SARA member. To be eligible for operation under SARA, distance education must originate inside the United States or a U.S. territory. Ownership of an institution located outside the United States or its territories by a U.S. institution does not qualify the nondomestic institution to operate under SARA.
Fees for an institution to participate in SARA potentially consist of two parts. The first is a required SARA fee paid to the National Council for SARA.This annual fee is based on an institution’s total full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment as shown in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and is assessed as follows:
- $2,000/year for institutions with fewer than 2,500 FTE students
- $4,000/year for institutions between 2,500-9,999 FTE students
- $6,000/year for institutions with 10,000 or more FTE students
In addition, states may choose to charge fees to their in-state institutions that want to participate in SARA. View chart of established state fees for in-state institutions.