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State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

The U.S. Department of Education requires higher education institutions to be authorized to provide post-secondary educational instruction in their states. Many of these state laws and regulations also apply to online, distance, and correspondence educational instruction offered in that state.

Massachusetts Bay Community College is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories of the United States. It establishes national standards for the interstate offering of distance education courses and programs. It simplifies the process of taking online classes at an institution of higher education based in another state. The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) is one of four regional education compacts and is the compact that administers SARA for institutions located in Massachusetts. A national council (NC-SARA) oversees SARA and the regional compacts.

Massachusetts Bay Community College (MBCC) was approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to participate in SARA, and became a SARA institution in 2019. At this time, only California is not a member state. If you reside in California and are interested in taking an online class at MBCC, please contact Admissions by email

Complaint Procedure

MBCC is required to provide current and prospective online learning students with contact information for filing complaints. Students who desire to resolve a grievance should follow the College’s Student Grievance Procedure as outlined in the Massachusetts Community College System Student Code of Conduct. Reports can be submitted through the Student Complaint Form.

For other complaints, please click on the relevant link below for more information, or email

For Massachusetts Residents and Online Students in Non-SARA Member States and Territories

Online students may file a complaint following procedures made available by MassBay Community College, located on this webpage. As well, the student may file a complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) by using the general complaint form at any time. The DHE general complaint form should be used by students who are located in:

  • Massachusetts
  • Non-SARA Member States or Territories (e.g., California, Guam, etc.)

For Online Students Located in SARA Member States and Territories

Consult the SARA Member States and Territories Directory

After the student has exhausted the complaint procedures made available by MassBay Community College, located on this webpage, if the complaint has not been resolved, the student may file a complaint with the DHE by using the SARA complaint form. The DHE SARA complaint form should be used by students who are located in SARA member states and territories. This includes all students who are located in SARA member states and territories for the purposes of completing out-of-state learning placements, such as internships, practica, clinical experiences, etc. in SARA member states and territories outside Massachusetts.

Additional information from the DHE’s SARA complaint website is below:

The SARA complaint process is as follows:

  1. Students must first attempt to resolve their complaint using internal administrative procedures offered by the SARA institution.
  2. After all administrative remedies have been exhausted with the MA-SARA institution, the student may submit a SARA Complaint via the URL below.
  3. The Department shall send a copy of the complaint to the institution that is the subject of the complaint;
  4. Within 30 days of the date that the Department sends a copy of the complaint to the institution, the institution must provide a written response to the student and the Department.

More information about DHE’s complaint processes can be found Mass. Dept. of Education Complaint Policy and Process.

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Questions about online courses?

Academic Advising Office

Wellesley Hills & Framingham


For more information, please contact:

Bernadette Sibuma, Ed.D.

Director of Online Learning