WCC Joins Distance Education Oversight Organization

August 09, 2021

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) has granted participant status to Wayne Community College.

NC-SARA is a nonprofit organization that works to expand students’ access to educational opportunities and ensure more efficient, consistent, and effective regulation of distance education programs.

WCC has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

The “SARA” part of the name is an agreement among states, districts, and territories that establishes national standards for interstate distance education.

Assuring that students are well-served in a rapidly-changing education landscape and increasing the quality and value of higher education credentials earned through distance learning programs are listed as “critical” components of its mission. NC-SARA achieves those goals by establishing distance education standards and setting minimum standards and policies for its participating schools.

NC-SARA-approved institutions are able to offer their distance education programs to students in other states and territories without going through those states’ and territories’ authorization procedures and paying their fees.

“State authorization allows Wayne Community College to offer online courses and programs to students who live outside of North Carolina. It reduces the number of applications and individual state authorizations the college needed to seek for Wayne Community College students located in other states,” explained WCC Interim President Patty Pfeiffer.

“At this time, there should be no adverse consequences of a student relocating to one of the other 48 participating states and being able to finish their course work at Wayne Community College. This will be very beneficial for the military students we serve,” Pfeiffer said.

By joining, WCC committed to requirements designed to ensure that the courses and programs offered through NC-SARA provide high-quality learning opportunities and that the college ensures appropriate consumer protections for students.

The organization provides a process for member states to investigate and resolve student concerns, complaints, and grievances related to dishonest or fraudulent activity by participating institutions.

There are 2,276 institutions in the United States that participate in NC-SARA. Ninety-one are North Carolina colleges and universities, including 42 of the state’s 58 community colleges.

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is a voluntary, interstate reciprocal approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Recognizing the growing demand for distance education opportunities, higher education stakeholders – including state regulators and education leaders, accreditors, the U.S. Department of Education, and institutions – joined together in 2013 to establish the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which streamline regulations around distance education programs. The initiative is administered by the country’s four regional higher education compacts (MHEC, NEBHE, SREB and WICHE) and coordinated by NC-SARA. The 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands and nearly 2,300 institutions that choose to participate agree to operate under common standards and procedures, providing a more uniform and less costly regulatory environment for institutions, more focused oversight responsibilities for states, and better resolution of student complaints. Learn more at www.nc-sara.org.

About WCC
Wayne Community College is a public, learning-centered institution with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro, N.C. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, the college serves more than 10,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry, and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 165 college credit programs. WCC’s mission is to meet the educational, training, and cultural needs of the communities it serves.

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