In February 2014, the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) approved Indiana as the first state to join the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). Indiana lawmakers passed legislation in 2013 that paved the way for participation in SARA. The bill called on the Commission for Higher Education to develop procedures for authorizing out-of-state public and nonprofit degree granting institutions to offer instructional or educational services or training in Indiana. Further, the bill allows the board for proprietary education to join interstate reciprocity agreements and to authorize an out-of-state institution to operate in Indiana if the institution and the state in which the institution’s principal campus is located are members of the interstate reciprocity agreement.
SARA is a nationwide initiative of states seeking to make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines, as well as making it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The four regional higher education interstate compacts—MHEC, the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)—are administering and working with states on implementing the SARA agreements.