Indiana leads other states in a nationwide enterprise to ease distance learning.


A major initiative to ease the regulatory burdens of online learning across state lines found its first ally this week as the state of Indiana joined the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA).

SARA is a nationwide attempt at making distance education courses more accessible to students living in different states.

The SARA agreements are being overseen by four regional higher education regulating bodies: the New England Board of Higher Education, the Southern Regional Education Board, the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, which approved Indiana joining the initiative on Feb. 14.

Indiana is the first state to join NC-SARA, but others are expected to soon follow, including North Dakota and Nebraska. A $2.3 million grant from the Lumina Foundation is funding the effort.

“Indiana has enthusiastically supported the establishment of SARA from its earliest discussions and has been actively engaged in implementation of the concept,” said Ken Sauer, senior associate commissioner for research and academic affairs at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, in an announcement.