State Authorization for Students

What is State Authorization?

State Authorization allows The Ohio State University to legally offer educational activities, including on-ground experiences like internships and clinicals, outside Ohio. Authorization requirements for out-of-state activities vary by state and program. At Ohio State, we have a team dedicated to researching state regulations, seeking and maintaining program approvals, and communicating program approvals. 


The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a national initiative to increase access to distance education courses and programs while maintaining compliance standards with state regulatory agencies. Institutions participating in SARA can offer educational opportunities in all 49 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico without seeking separate approvals. 

Ohio State was approved as an institutional SARA participant in 2015. Participation expands educational opportunities for students nationwide and reduces the cost to offer Ohio State programs nationally. 

SARA establishes national standards for offering interstate education, but additional approvals may be required for programs that lead to professional licensure or programs placing more that 10 students at a field experience site in a SARA state.  

To learn more about SARA, visit

Student Resources

National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) Information

Colorado Internships - Workers' Compensation Insurance Requirements

Colorado law requires unpaid student interns to be covered by workers' compensation insurance. Specifically, Colorado Revised Statute 8-40-302 states:

(7) (b) If the student placed in an on-the-job training program does not receive any pay or remuneration from the employer, the educational institution sponsoring the student in the cooperative education or student internship program shall insure the student through the institution's workers' compensation and liability insurance or enter into negotiations with the employer for the purpose of arriving at a reasonable level of compensation to the employer for the employer's expense of providing workers' compensation and liability insurance while such student is participating in on-the-job training with said employer. This paragraph (b) shall not apply to a student teacher participating in a program authorized pursuant to article 62 of title 22, C.R.S.

(c) As used in this subsection (7), "cooperative education or student internship program" means a program sponsored by an educational institution in which a student is taught through a coordinated combination of specialized in-the-school instruction provided through an educational institution by qualified teachers and on-the-job training provided through a local business, agency, or organization or any governmental agency in cooperation with the educational institution.

Prior to beginning an internship or field experience at a Colorado placement facility, students should work with their college internship coordinator to ensure that worker's compensation requirements are met. 

The Ohio State University is not able to add students to its institutional workers' compensation policy. It is the responsibility of the college to ensure that a student has the necessary coverage before placing a student in Colorado. 




The Ohio State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Higher Learning Commission is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Students may submit a complaint about an HLC-accredited institution using the HLC complaint process.

The Ohio State University is authorized to offer out-of-state educational activities in all 50 states. 


SARA Authorization

Ohio State participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which allows Ohio State to offer courses and programs in all 49 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Non-SARA States

Ohio State also may offer courses or programs to students located in California, which has not joined SARA:

California: The California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education does not regulate out-of-state public institutions. Therefore, Bureau approval for Ohio State to offer educational activities in California is no required.

Student Complaint Information

Ohio State Complaint Process

Students enrolled in an Ohio State course who have a complaint about a course or experience should follow Ohio State's complaint, grievance, and appeal procedures.

SARA State Complaint Process

Students enrolled in a course that takes place outside of Ohio in a SARA member state must first follow Ohio State's procedures for the resolution of complaints. If a student is not satisfied with the outcome of that process, a complaint involving allegations of dishonest or fraudulent activity, including the provision of false or misleading information, may be brought to the Ohio SARA portal entity. 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 Ohio SARA portal entity is final.

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 professional licensing requirements, or course transfer information. Grade appeals and student conduct appeals are not allowed under SARA.

Non-SARA State Complaints

Students participating in a course that takes place in a non-SARA state may file a complaint with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, or may file a complaint in the state where the student is located:

International Students

If you are an international student interested in enrolling in an online program, please note:

A country may or may not regulate distance education provided to students in its jurisdiction and may or may not require foreign higher education institutions to comply with distance education regulations. At this time, The Ohio State University cannot guarantee that a program meets curriculum requirements in your country. 

International students interested in enrolling in Ohio State's online degree programs should contact the program to verify eligibility.

International students who are living in Ohio should contact the Office of International Affairs before enrolling in online courses or programs.


Frequently Asked Questions

State Authorization 

Q: Doesn't state authorization only apply to online programs? 
State authorization applies to all for-credit out-of-state educational activities, including online courses or programs, and out-of-state field experiences such as internships, clinicals, and practicums.  

Q: Why does it matter?
In order to offer educational opportunities to students outside Ohio, Ohio State must comply with state and federal authorization laws. In 2020, a federal rule will require an institution to be authorized in every state where a student resides in order for the institution to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. 

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


Q: What is SARA?
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, also known as SARA, establishes uniform standards for distance education for all participating states and institutions. Ohio State joined SARA in 2015, which means Ohio State can offer distance education, including field experiences, in all 49 member states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

Q: Does SARA cover professional licensing board authorizations in other states? 
SARA does not cover professional licensing board authorizations or approvals. If your program leads to licensure, authorization may be required from the licensing board in another state before you participate in a field experience in that state. 

Out-of-State FIeld Experiences

Q: Can I complete a field experience in a state other than Ohio? 

A: Yes, Ohio State is authorized to place students in field experiences in all 50 states. There are limitations on the number of students that can be placed at a placement facility at one time in SARA states, and there are additional requirements in Colorado (see below).

Your college will need to be informed of the state where you are completing a field experience. 

Q: Can I complete a field experience in Colorado? 
 Yes, but prior to beginning a field experience at a Colorado placement facility, you should work with your internship coordinator to ensure that worker's compensation insurance requirements are met. 

The Colorado Workers' Compensation Act requires student interns to be covered by workers' compensation insurance. Ohio State is not able to add students to its institutional workers' compensation policy. 

Out-of-State Professional Licensure 

Q: After completing a program that leads to licensure in Ohio, can I seek professional licensure in another state? 
A: Professional licensure laws and regulations vary from state to state. If you are planning to seek a professional license or certificate in a state other than Ohio, it is highly recommended that you contact the appropriate state licensing agency to seek guidance regarding licensure or certification requirements.  

An Ohio State program that leads to licensure or certification in Ohio may not meet licensure requirements in another state. 

International Students 

Q: I live outside the United States. Can I enroll in an Ohio State online program? 

A: Ohio State works to provide global access to its online programs. While the State Authorization Team carefully tracks issues related to international authorization, we advise students to understand regulations and requirements related to online programs in their country of residence. This includes whether the country will recognize an online degree, if there are additional withholding taxes (in addition to tuition) in your country, and whether the program meets any license or certification requirements in your country.

Visit Ohio State Online for more information about Ohio State's online programs, and contact a program to verify eligibility. 

Q: I am an international student enrolled in a traditional program in Ohio. Can I enroll in online courses, or switch to a 100% online program while living in Ohio? 

A: There are restrictions on the number of online credit hours that an international student may count toward a full course of study each semester. The Office of International Affairs can answer specific questions related to international students who are completing courses while living in the United States. 


Authorization Map

Find out where Ohio State is approved to offer out- of-state educational activities.

Meets or exceeds state standards and is authorized to legally offer distance education through approval or exemption by the state regulatory agency, or through participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).
Limited Authorization
Please contact the State Authorization Team for more information about the limited authorization status in this state.
Pursuing Authorization

Contact Us

Please email the State Authorization Team with any questions related to authorization for courses that take place outside Ohio.