State Authorization

Winona State University offers online courses and programs to a wide array of learners, across the region and our nation, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

WSU is a member of NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements), which means we share a reciprocity agreement with all states who are part of the NC-SARA group.

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs.

It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. SARA is overseen by a National Council and administered by four regional education compacts.

To find out if you live in a state that has joined this consortium, view the NC-SARA map. If you don’t see your state listed as NC-SARA approved, fear not. More states are coming on board quickly, and soon we anticipate that most states will be participating.

Winona State University has been approved by the State of Minnesota to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.

Pursuant to the United States Department of Education’s Program Integrity Rule, institutions providing online education are required to provide all prospective and current students contact information of the state agency or agencies that handle complaints against postsecondary education institutions offering distance learning within that state.

We encourage you to seek resolution to any concerns by discussing them informally with a staff member at the University. If a complaint cannot be handled informally, WSU students are encouraged to use our University’s complaint process, outlined in the Student Handbook.

If a complaint cannot be resolved at the University level, you may contact the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. If you reside in another state, you may contact your local state agency for further information.

Before enrolling in an online educational program that leads to professional licensure, a student should be assured that the program meets the requirements for the particular occupation in the state in which the student resides or intends to practice. To help identify the requirements for each state and the District of Columbia, our NC-SARA organization has provided resources and contact information for the five most common programs leading to professional licensure:

  • Counseling
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Social Work
  • Teacher Education
To access this contact information or to find out more about professional licensure and program accreditation, please visit the NC-SARA Professional Licensure site.