State Authorization for Students

What is State Authorization?

State authorization refers to federal, state and professional licensing board regulations that impact educational activities offered across state lines and programs that lead to professional licensure or certification. Compliance with these regulations ensures that an Ohio State degree will be recognized, Ohio State students will be eligible to sit for licensure in states other than Ohio, and Ohio State students have access to state licensure information. 

Authorization requirements vary by state and program and may impact university operations. At Ohio State, we have a team dedicated to researching regulations, seeking and maintaining compliance, and communicating changes in authorization status. 


The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is a national initiative that increases student access to distance education courses and programs while maintaining compliance with state regulations. 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 individual approval in each state. 

Ohio State was approved as a SARA institution in 2015. Participation expands educational opportunities for Ohio State students, decreases institutional risk, and reduces costs associated with offering Ohio State programs nationally. 

To learn more about SARA, visit

Student Resources

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

Colorado On-ground Field Experiences - 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.

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

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




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. 


SARA Authorization

Ohio State participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which allows the university to offer most online and on-ground educational activities in 49 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

Non-SARA States

California does not participate in SARA. 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 not 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.

Higher Learning Commission Complaint Process

Students may submit a complaint about an HLC-accredited institution using the HLC complaint process.

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 or professional licensure requirements in your country. 

International students interested in enrolling in an Ohio State online degree or certificate program 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 regulations apply to all for-credit out-of-state educational activities. That includes online courses and out-of-state field experiences, such as internships and clinicals.  

Licensure program disclosures are required for all licensure programs, regardless of whether the program is offered on-campus or online. 

Q: Why does it matter?
In order to offer educational opportunities to students outside Ohio, Ohio State must comply with state, federal, and professional licensing board regulations. Federal regulations require an institution to be authorized in every state where a student is located in order to participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. 

Requiring authorization of distance education programs also protects students as consumers. Authorization ensures that a student is not investing in a program that is not legitimate or a program that does not lead to the license or certification the student was expecting. 


Q: What is SARA?
The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, also known as SARA, established a uniform standard for distance education for all participating states and institutions. An institution participating in SARA must be authorized only in its home state in order to offer educational activities in all 49 SARA member states. 

Ohio State joined SARA in 2015, which means Ohio State can offer many educational activities in 49 SARA member states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico

Q: Does SARA cover professional licensing board authorizations in other states? 
SARA does not cover professional licensing board authorizations. If your program leads to licensure or is offered post-license, authorization may be required from the state professional licensing board before you begin online coursework or a field experience, such as a clinical or internship, in that state. 

Out-of-State FIeld Experiences

Q: What is a field experience? 
A field experience is a learning experience in which a student applies previously learned theories or skills under the oversight of a supervisor or mentor. Examples include practica, student teaching, clinical placements, or internships. 

Q: Can I complete an on-ground field experience in a state other than Ohio? 
Yes, Ohio State is authorized to place students in field experiences in all 50 states if your program is not in a licensed field. If your program is in a licensed field, like nursing or teaching, approval may be required from the professional licensure board in the state where the field experience takes place. 

There are some limitations on the number of students that can be placed at a placement facility in SARA states, and Colorado has additional requirements (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 facility, you should work with your internship coordinator to ensure that Colorado 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 professional licensure or certification 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 educational requirements for licensure 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, students should 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 educational requirements for licensure or certification in your country.

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

Q: I am an international student enrolled in an on-campus 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 coursework while living in the United States. 


Authorization Map

Ohio State can offer most educational activities in all 50 states, but additional authorization may be required for activities in a licensed field, such as nursing or teaching. Check with your program’s internship or clinical coordinator prior to beginning an internship or field experience in another state.

Meets state standards to offer distance education through approval or exemption by the state regulatory agency
Limited Authorization
Please contact Ohio State Online for more information about the limited authorization status in this state