Important Note: Must be reviewed by all out-of-state residents.

State and federal law requires colleges and universities to be authorized to offer online degree programs in states other than their own. The Sage Colleges has been pursuing this approval on a systematic basis, however this is a long and often complicated process.

On the federal front the requirement has been postponed due to legal challenges, but the state requirements remain. Every state has their own requirements which vary in intensity and cost to the institution. These requirements are often determined based on whether the institution maintains a physical presence in said state which ultimately determines whether the college or university must register within that state. The Sage Colleges does not have a physical presence in most states and therefore would not need to register. In some states however, a program requiring a clinical, internship or practicum must seek registration within that state. This means The Sage Colleges must seek registration in a state with the physical presence requirement. It is possible that Sage will ultimately choose not to seek approval in every state due to the difficulty and cost of registering. In that case, Sage would not be able to accept students from those states.

This is a national concern involving all colleges and universities that offer online courses. As a result, The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) was established. This is an agreement among member states to work with national standards for distance education programs. New York State is not currently a member so institutions located in New York are not eligible to participate in SARA until the state becomes a member.

UPDATE: As of 7/2015, the New York State Department of Education approved legislation for the state to join the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). This legislation has been passed and signed by the Governor. Soon, The Sage Colleges will be a participating SARA school, making much of the prior state authorizations obsolete. SARA agreements only apply to those states that have joined SARA.

How does the state authorization requirement impact Sage students and potential students today?

If a degree program is 100% online (i.e. no offices, classrooms, or employees are located in the state and the institution is not incorporated in the state) then licensure is either not required, or a simple explanation of the degree programs is required. However, it must be determined if each of the degree programs offered has one or more of the following, as required by the curriculum:

  • A student teaching component,
  • A practicum or clinical,
  • An internship/externship, or
  • A field experience.

If the answer is “yes” to one or more of the above categories, more than likely, a physical presence has been triggered and licensure would be required. The hiring of adjunct online faculty does not constitute a physical presence.

Additionally, criteria are the same for each of the field experiences listed above. In order to determine if a physical presence has been established, we must evaluate the field experience (regardless of its name/title) to see if it contains one or more of the following criteria:

  • Is the field experience required by the curriculum?
  • Is course credit granted at the completion of the course?
  • Is there significant interaction with the general public by the student?

If the answer is “yes” to one or more of the above questions, a physical presence has been triggered and licensure is required in most cases.

A full list of currently approved and unapproved states is located here (pre-SARA). Please pay close attention to those programs that do and do not have practicum/clinical requirements as oftentimes authorizations differ.

Sage Point of Contact
School of Professional and Continuing Education
518-292-1774
spcedean@sage.edu