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SARA North Carolina will operate on a rolling admission cycle. This means that an institution will be able to apply at any point throughout the year.

Application Process

Membership and participation in SARA is voluntary. States join and become members of SARA while institutions apply and participate in SARA. North Carolina, as a SARA member state, is authorized to invite all North Carolina domiciled, accredited, degree-granting institutions offering distance education courses to seek approval from SARA North Carolina. The institutional application process starts with the submission of the application. Institutions applying to operate under SARA must submit this application and the Agreement for Institutional Participation in SARA North Carolina to the SARA North Carolina Portal Entity (SPE) .

If your institution is interested in joining SARA your institution's Chief Executive Officer or Chief Academic Officer must initial each item on the application, indicating agreement with the conditions and terms of participation. Do not initial the right side of the application - these are the boxes the Portal uses to signify its approval of the application. In addition, the following documents are required with the application:

Item 1. Legal Domicile:

Before submitting the application, please review the NC SARA Policy on legal domicile: "Legal Domicile" of an institution, for purposes of SARA eligibility, is defined as the state in which the institution's principal campus holds its institutional accreditation and, if applicable, it's federal OPEID number. If the OPEID number is assigned to a location that is in a different state than the principal accredited campus, the affected SARA Regional Compacts shall determine which state is the Legal Domicile for purposes of SARA.

To establish that your institution's principal campus or central administrative unit is domiciled in North Carolina and is authorized to operate in North Carolina, please provide:
  • For public institutions, a copy of the naming statute or code (where the institution is specifically named). For constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina, a copy of N.C. Gen. Stat. 116-4 will satisfy this item. For the public community colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, a copy of 1A SBCCC 300.3 will satisfy this item.
  • For private institutions, a letter of license approval from the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina (if applicable), a copy of the naming statute (where the institution is specifically named), or a copy of the institution's articles of incorporation.
Item 2. Accreditation:

As evidence of your institution's status as a U.S. degree-granting institution that is accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, please provide:
  • For institutions that are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a Grant of Accreditation from the SACSCOC, any public disclosure notices (PDN), if applicable and any current communications regarding pending actions;
  • For institutions accredited by a national accrediting agency, a certificate and approval letter with stipulations or requirements, if applicable.
Item 3. Financial Responsibility Index Score:

For private institutions only, please provide the following item:
  • Your institution's financial responsibility index score from the U.S. Department of Education, if applicable.
Item 4. Fees:

All institutions applying to SARA North Carolina must submit a check along with their application. For more information about the fees, please click here.

When the application has been signed by the appropriate party, and all required documentation has been prepared, please submit the application, via fax or U.S. Postal Mail, to:

c/o SARA North Carolina
P.O. Box 14103
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709
(919) 248-6667, fax

Upon receipt of the application, SARA NC staff will review the application and supporting documents and contact the institution for clarification or additional documentation, if warranted.

If there are issues of noncompliance, SPE staff will provide details and recommendations for resolving those issues to the submitting institution. If the institution complies with the recommendations and no other items of non-compliance exist, SPE staff will recommend to the SEAA executive director, that the institution be authorized to participate in SARA North Carolina.

In the event, the submitting institution disagrees with the recommendations provided by SARA NC, staff will solicit a sector representative from the SARA NC Advisory Council to liaise with the institution.

After the sector representative consults with the institution and if the issue of non-compliance remains outstanding, the Advisory Council will convene, review the entire application and provide a recommendation to approve or deny the institution's application to SARA North Carolina.

Considering the recommendation from the Advisory Council, the SARA NC Director will make the final decision in consultation with the SEAA executive director regarding the institution's application to participate in SARA.

SARA NC will provide written notice to each institution of the outcome of its application.