South Dakota State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SD-SARA)
The South Dakota Board of Regents, on behalf of the State of South Dakota, has entered into an agreement to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). South Dakota’s agreement is through the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), which is one of the four regional education compacts who administer SARA.
SDBOR has been designed by the state as the portal agency for SD-SARA and will administer SARA within South Dakota. SDBOR’s responsibilities as portal agency include: accepting, reviewing, and submitting applications from South Dakota institutions wishing to participate in SARA, reviewing compliance, serving as liaison with SARA administrators from other states, and accepting and investigating student complaints.
NC-SARA establishes a state-level reciprocity process that supports the nation in its efforts to increase the educational attainment of its people by making state authorization more efficient, effective, and uniform. Membership in NC-SARA is voluntary for both states and institutions. Once a state becomes a member of NC-SARA, all degree-granting post-secondary institutions from all sectors (public colleges & universities; independent institutions, both non-profit and for-profit) accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education are eligible to participate in SARA. Institutions that participate in SARA are authorized in all states who are Members of NC-SARA. Membership is voluntary for both states and institutions.
SARA Complaint Procedures
The complaint procedures for SD-SARA can be found in Section 7 of SDBOR SARA Policy 1:29. Complaints must first be processed through the institution’s own procedures for resolution of complaints. The SARA administrator will verify that all complaints have been received and processed by the institution, and will not consider complaints that have not gone through the institutional complaint process. Complainants who processed their complaints through institutional complaint procedures but remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the institutional process may request that the SARA administrator review the institutional resolution of the complaint.
Complaints to the SARA administrator must specify:
• The basis for believing that the institutional action is inconsistent with the accreditation or SARA requirements,
• The harm caused to the complainant by virtue of the inconsistency, and
• The corrective action that the complainant seeks.
• If the complainant alleges that institutional documents were misleading, the request should contain the portions of the catalog, letters or email exchanged between the complainant and the institution, and should identify with specificity statements that the complainant found to be misleading and what the complainant understood the statements to mean.