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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)

American University became a member of SARA on November 14, 2016. As a member of SARA, the university can deliver distance education programs to residents of member states.

In states where SARA does not apply, we have worked directly with the state to ensure compliance.

To learn more about SARA, please visit:

American University abides by the policies and standards required by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements described below:

  1. The principal campus or central administrative unit remains domiciled in a state or district that has joined the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) initiative and is authorized to operate in that state. * Only distance education content originating in the United States or a U.S. territory is eligible to be offered under SARA.
  2. The Institution retains its accreditation by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.
  3. If non-public, the institution shall maintain a financial responsibility index score of 1.5 or above; and in the case of a score between 1.0 and 1.49, the portal entity has affirmed that sufficient documentation has been provided to support continued institutional participation in SARA.
  4. The institution agrees to abide by the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education and current NC-SARA Manual.
  5. The institution agrees to maintain responsibility for the actions of any third-party providers used by the institution to engage in operations under SARA.
  6. The institution agrees to notify its home state’s portal entity of any negative changes to its accreditation status.
  7. The institution agrees to provide data necessary to monitor SARA activities, including annual reporting of distance education enrollments by state, in accordance with the NC-SARA Data Sharing Agreement.
  8. The institution agrees to work with its home state’s portal entity to resolve any complaints arising from its students in SARA states, and to abide by decisions of that entity.
  9. The institution applies to its home state’s portal entity for renewal over the signature of the institution’s CEO or chief academic officer.
  10. Agree to notify in writing all students in a course or program that customarily leads to professional licensure, or which a student could reasonably believe leads to such licensure, whether or not the course or program meets requirements for licensure in the state where the student resides. If an institution cannot determine through its contact with relevant licensing entities whether the course or program meets licensure requirements in the student’s state of residence, the institution may meet this SARA requirement by informing the student in writing and providing the student the contact information for the appropriate state licensing board(s). An e-mail dedicated solely to this purpose and sent to the student’s best known e-mail address meets this requirement. The institution should use other means to notify the student if needed.
  11. The institution agrees, in cases where the institution cannot fully deliver the instruction for which a student has contracted, to provide a reasonable alternative for delivering the instruction or reasonable financial compensation for the education he or she did not receive.
  12. The institution agrees to pay to the state any state fees for SARA participation required by the home state for administering SARA.
  13. The institution agrees to pay its annual SARA participation fee to the National Council for SARA (NC-SARA). This single annual fee replaces any fees that the institution would ordinarily pay to other SARA member states.
  14. Agree to abide by conditions of provisional approval, if necessary.

American University abides by the policies and standards described in the SARA Manual.

Tuition Refund Policies

American University follows the guidance provided by SARA regarding tuition refund policies.  The SARA manual contains the following language regarding requirements for state participation in SARA:

“The state has eliminated, for purposes of SARA, fees, requirements for a refund policy unique to that state, requirements for a set curriculum for general education requirements, a mandatory number of hours for a degree or certificate, and other such requirements for out-of-state institutions that do not have physical presence in their borders and are participating in the interstate reciprocity agreement.”  (Section 5.1.5) 

Per guidance from SARA, American University applies the tuition refund policies of its home state to students located in other SARA states. For students located in non-SARA states, American University follows any relevant tuition refund policies of those states. 

Students who are enrolled in the university's online degree programs should refer to their specific program academic calendar to determine the applicable tuition refund schedule. 

State Authorization

American University’s Online Programs are currently authorized to operate, exempt, or not subject to approval in:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming