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TU joins council to simplify process of offering online programs across state lines

Thomas University was recently approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Being a member of SARA allows TU to offer its online programs to students in any of the other SARA member states.

SARA began in January 2014, and its guidelines follow federal and state guidelines for distance education courses and programs offered across state lines. Membership in SARA is voluntary for states. Colleges and universities within each state may voluntarily participate in SARA, but they are not required to do so.

“NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements) establishes national standards for interstate distance education courses and programs for post-secondary education,” said Kristy Wainright, Director of International Programs and Compliance. “This agreement was created in an effort to provide appropriate and effective oversight of interstate distance education.”

As a Georgia institution, TU is part of the Southern Regional Education Board of SARA, which is headquartered in Atlanta. The Southern Regional Education Board recently approved TU as a member of SARA. Forty-eight states in the U.S. are members of SARA. In order to join SARA, TU had to prove financial stability, be accredited by a regional accrediting body, demonstrate that it follows the policies of the U.S. Department of Education, and pay the annual enrollment fee.

Being a member of SARA enables TU to provide its online programs to a geographically broader market while reducing the need to monitor and track the requirements of other states’ regulations where TU’s programs are offered. Rather than paying fees and following guidelines to offer online programs in individual states, TU can now work directly with SARA thereby reducing costs associated with providing online programs outside Georgia.

“By being an approved institution, this allows Thomas University to deliver online instruction (courses and programs) to residents of other approved NC-SARA states without having to apply for approval in each individual state,” Wainright said. “This approval is especially important to Thomas University as we are working diligently to expand our offerings to active duty military men and women.”

Students in member states can enroll in programs offered by SARA-approved institutions in any other SARA member states. This enhances the quality of online education and reduces costs students might have to pay for taking an online program across state lines.

In addition to many combination online and in-person programs (called hybrid programs), Thomas University currently offers the following degree programs completely online: 

  • Associate of Science in Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Studies
  • Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Nursing-Master of Business Administration (joint degree)
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