State Authorizations

What is State Authorization and what does it apply to?

On October 29, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released the following new regulation for higher education institutions as "§ 600.9(c) State authorization:

"If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request."

In general, the federal regulations relating to State Authorization relate to any activities that the University pursue that touch outside of our state borders. This relates to Online Learning initiatives and programs, recruitment and promotion, internships and practicums, and to a number of other variables. The UAH Director of Institutional Research & Assessment Dr. Suzanne Simpson is available to answer additional questions relating to this regulation.

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Accreditation:

UAH is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor's master's, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation of UAH.

Several UAH programs are accredited by their respective accrediting agencies. Academic programs in chemistry are accredited by the American Chemical Society. Eight undergraduate engineering programs (aerospace engineering option in mechanical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, industrial and systems, optical, and mechanical) are accredited by the ABET, Inc. Both undergraduate and graduate programs in nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Computer science holds accreditation from the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. All programs, both undergraduate and graduate, in the College of Administrative Science are accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business-The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. In addition, the University of Alabama in Huntsville is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Teacher education programs are approved by the Alabama State Board of Education, according to standards of the National Association of the State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), for the issuance of appropriate professional certificates for service in public schools, and the Department of Education at The University of Alabama in Huntsville is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

What does UAH have to do to become compliant with requirements in the different states in order to offer our programs to students, and what may I be expected to do?

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What is the SARA compact? The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary online 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. SARA Overview and Update.

The state of Alabama is a member of the SARA compact. Here is a list of states in the southeast region and throughout the U.S. that have made progress towards becoming members of SARA. Alabama is a member of NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements) and UAH is an approved SARA institution. For students, the SARA initiative seeks to provide greater access to academic programs, lead to better resolution of student complaints, increase the quality of distance education, and increase opportunities for student clinicals, practicums, and internships outside of Alabama. For more information about UAH and SARA, email us at State Authorization. Click here to see if your state is a member of NC-SARA. See also, state of Alabama approved SARA institutions.

What is the timeline for approval in each state?

UAH is operating under an effort to show significant progress, or "good faith" effort, towards compliance and towards requesting approval in states in which we are currently operating. Each state agency operates differently and has individual time lines and renewal expectations.

Additional Resources Relating to State Authorization

Out-of-State Student Grievance Procedure

(Currently being reviewed under SARA standards-check back often for updates)

  • The University of Alabama in Huntsville strives to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair and amicable manner. Students with concerns regarding courses and grades should reach out to their faculty members first, and follow the procedures noted in the UAH Student Handbook for resolving complaints.
  • Students residing outside of the State of Alabama while attending UAH through electronically delivered classes who would like to resolve a grievance should follow the procedures noted in the UAH Student Handbook. The Provost's office is the appropriate point of contact if your grievance has been unsuccessfully resolved at the faculty and departmental level. If your complaint is non-academic, refer to the student handbook section 6.13 (grievance procedures), you may contact the Dean of Students office to discuss it further. If an issue cannot be resolved internally on the UAH campus, you may file a complaint with your State Portal contact.