Multi-State Reciprocity in Postsecondary Approval and Regulation


In September, 2010 higher education officers of sixteen states, and observers from several national organizations and the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors of higher education, met to comment on the Presidents’ Forum task force report Aligning State Approval and Regional Accreditation for Online Postsecondary Institutions: A National Strategy (PDF). The report defined critical policy issues that could significantly reduce state barriers that have tended to inhibit the ability of students to find appropriate access to degree opportunities and to complete progress toward a degree goal.

Project Goals 
As a result of that meeting, and with subsequent Lumina Foundation for Education support, the Forum initiated the Multi-State Reciprocity in Postsecondary Approval and Regulation project to create a common template for the substance and processes of state approval, and, with the assistance of the Council for State Governments (CSG), to draft and educate policy makers about the benefits of model compact legislation that might support increased reciprocity and efficiencies among the states. This two-year project will:

  • Address key policy goals by exploring the potential of a voluntary, interstate agreement (compact) to help ensure greater student access to accredited online degree programs while ensuring high quality and consumer protection.
  • Develop rigorous, but common processes and standards through enhanced reciprocity among the states in order to simultaneously streamline the approval processes for institutions that seek to offer degree programs across political boundaries, while enabling states to operate essential regulatory functions with greater consistency and efficiency.

Current Status of the Lumina Project: April, 2013 Update

The Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education continues to advance this project and has prepared a preliminary reportAdvancing Access through Regulatory Reform: Findings, Principles, and Recommendations for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

View and download the report as a PDF

Additional Documents of Interest

Press Release: New Interstate Reciprocity System for Universities and Colleges Unveiled
Bringing Coherence to the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education - Op-Ed by Richard W. Riley
FAQ About the Commission and its Work