State Authorization Compliance

Academic Affairs State Authorization and SARA Compliance



Accreditation:


East Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  SACSCOC is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.   SACSCOC is located at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA  30033  (404) 679-4500.

East Carolina University delivers online education programs and courses throughout the United States and Internationally.  All programs and courses have been approved by The University of North Carolina System. The System is located at 910 Raleigh Road, P. O. Box 2688, Chapel Hill, NC  27514  (919) 962-1000.

In addition to SACSCOC, individual academic programs may be accredited by specialized accrediting bodies.  A comprehensive list of ECU’s accrediting organizations can be found in the Undergraduate Catalog and in the Graduate Catalog.


State Authorization Compliance:


State authorization allows East Carolina University to offer educational opportunities to students nationwide. Our team is dedicated to researching regulations and seeking and maintaining approvals, so you can participate in programs offered at East Carolina University wherever you are.

State authorization allows East Carolina University to offer education to students located outside North Carolina. Each state has unique authorization requirements, so ECU must review each state’s laws and rules to ensure that the university complies.

Requiring authorization of distance education programs also ensures that students are protected as consumers. Authorization laws help ensure that a student is not investing in a program that is not legitimate, or a program that does not lead to the license or credential that the student was expecting.

Federal and State Regulations on ‘State Authorization’ of Distance Education

Because authorization is an evolving area, please check this site again for the latest statement from ECU.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)


East Carolina University has taken steps to protect its students and operations through nationwide compliance: by participation in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA); obtaining authorization, approval, exemptions and waivers; or confirming that East Carolina University can operate without such authorization because the state’s laws do not pertain to a public institution, to an accredited institution, or to ECU’s activities in that state.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a national initiative to provide more access to online courses while maintaining compliance standards with state regulatory agencies.

As of November 15, 2016, East Carolina University is approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Institutions that are members of SARA are authorized to provide online education to students from all SARA member states. States and institutions that choose to become members of SARA operate under a set of policies and standards overseen by the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements and administered by four regional higher education compacts. For more information about the SARA initiative and the progress of state and institutional membership, please visit NC-SARA.

Current authorized SARA member states include 49-member states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Professional Licensure:  Important Note for Students:  If you are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license, please be aware that ECU may or may not be able to confirm whether a particular program meets requirement for professional licensure outside the State of North Carolina.  ECU highly recommends that you contact the academic program for assistance with professional licensure questions and enrollment options.  SARA does not provide reciprocity for state professional licensing requirements.  Academic programs and individual graduates must meet standards set by that state’s licensure requirements in order to be eligible for a license.  Please explore this link to learn about the appropriate licensing or certification organizations and their requirements.


Student Complaint Contact Information


Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Integrity Rules, East Carolina University must provide state agency  contact information for filing complaints to its out-of-state distance education students or prospective students.

If a student located in a State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) state has a complaint about East Carolina University, complaints must first go through ECU’s standard procedure for resolution of student grievances. ECU’s Dean of Students office is located at 125 Umstead Hall on ECU’s main campus.  The office may be reach by phone (252) 328-9297 or DOS email.

If a complaint cannot be resolved after exhausting East Carolina University’s procedure described above, the student may file a complaint with the following agencies:

  • North Carolina Post-Secondary Education Complaints, c/o Student Complaints, The University of North Carolina System, 910 Raleigh Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2688, Telephone (919) 962-4550.  You may also email the office, or visit the website The UNC System:  NC Post-Secondary Education Student Complaints and complete the Student Complaint Form.
  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033, Telephone (404) 679-4500. Visit the Complaints Against Institutions: Information Sheet and Form website to inform SACSCOC of the complaint.
  • Complaints about East Carolina University may also be filed with the student’s home state by referring to the following list of state complaint agencies.
  • Students not residing in North Carolina and enrolled in a North Carolina institution that operates under SARA North Carolina may submit complaints to the organization listed below only after completing the complaint process established by the institution attended by the student. The SARA portal entity in the state where the student is located will be notified that the complaint was received and may assist as needed. Resolution of the complaint by the SARA portal entity in the institution’s home state is final.

     

    SARA North Carolina–North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (SARA-NC)
    P.O. Box 14103, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 T: (855) SARA-1-NC (727-2162)
    T: (919) 549-8614 ext. 4660.  You may reach SARA-NC by email.  Please visit the SARA-NC Student Complaint Process and complete the SARA-NC Student Complaint Form.

Examples of types of student complaints that may be brought to a SARA portal entity include, but are not limited to, complaints regarding accuracy of job placement data, tuition or fee information, accreditation, whether a program meets licensure requirements, or course transfer information. SARA does not allow grade or student conduct appeals.

  • To file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Department of Justice, please visit the State Attorney General’s webpage and complete the Complaint Form. North Carolina residents may call (877) 596-7226.  Outside of North Carolina, please call (919) 716-6000.  En Espanol (919) 716-0058.  If you choose to mail a complaint, please use the following address:  Consumer Protection Division, Attorney General’s Office, Mail Service Center 9001, Raleigh, NC  27699-9001.
  • Please visit Institutional Disclosures and Student Complaint Information for information on ECU’s required SARA disclosures and state-by-state student complaint processes.

Professional Licensure Disclosures


Institutional and Professional Licensure Disclosures for Enrolled and Prospective Students

All ECU academic programs  that may lead to licensure prepare students to sit for licensure in North Carolina. In order to comply with NC-SARA and the U.S. Department of Education regulations regarding distance education and professional licensure ECU is required to make the following disclosure with respect to professional licensure outside the state of North Carolina:

If you are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license, please be aware that ECU may or may not be able to confirm whether a particular program meets requirement for professional licensure outside the State of North Carolina.  ECU highly recommends that you contact the academic program for assistance with professional licensure questions and enrollment options.  SARA does not provide reciprocity for state professional licensing requirements.  Academic programs and individual graduates must meet standards set by that state’s licensure requirements in order to be eligible for a license.  Please explore the Professional Licensures Boards to learn about the appropriate licensing or certification organizations and their requirements.

Relocation Policy


Please be aware that students who relocate while enrolled at the East Carolina University may become ineligible for title IV funding or potentially be unable to complete their studies if they are moving to a country or state where ECU does not meet licensure or certification requirements. Prospective students should contact their admissions advisor to discuss how relocation could alter their eligibility, while current students should contact their program coordinator if they are considering relocating during their course of study.

International Students: International students are advised to understand and be apprised of the rules, regulations, and requirements related to online distance education programs in their country of residence, particularly:

  • If the country will recognize an online degree;
  • Whether the program meets licensure or certification requirements in the country; and
  • If the country charges any additional taxes, withholding or fees associated with online distance education programs.

International students considering an academic program that leads to a professional license should first confirm with the appropriate professional licensing board in their country of residence or the country where they intend to work as to whether an online degree awarded from East Carolina University will be recognized when seeking licensure or certification.


Experiential Learning Inventory (ELI)


ECU uses a web-based application to create, track and manage all internships and other experiential learning activities of students. This application is ELI, the Experiential Learning Inventory.  ELI simplifies and standardizes the creation of an experiential learning activity record, provides up-to-date emergency contact information and provides reporting capabilities to meet program, unit, and university needs and requirements.

To learn more about how ELI can enhance your program, please contact Charlene Lee.


About Us:


Our state authorization team leads the university’s institutional compliance activities, including obtaining managing all necessary approvals to operate in every state, territory, and country; as well as managing the State authorization Compliance Agreement (SARA). The team also focuses on the interrelated activities of tracking internship/experiential learning activities and of professional licensure authorization. In all of these efforts we have developed partnerships with programs and administrative offices throughout the university. We work with advocates around the country to improve the quality and accessibility of programs from state to state and to ensure the best opportunity to our students.

Charlene Lee 


State Authorization Compliance Specialist & SARA Coordinator
(252) 737-1268
leech@ecu.edu

Dr. Elmer Poe 


Coordinator – Office of State Authorization
(252) 737-1268
poee@ecu.edu