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.


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?

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.

At the present time under the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, students residing in the below member states are allowed to take courses and/or 100% online programs at UAH.  Hybrid programs are also available if the student chooses to pursue those programs. 

  10. IDAHO
  13. IOWA
  14. KANSAS
  17. MAINE
  25. NEVADA
  29. NEW YORK
  32. OHIO
  34. OREGON
  40. TEXAS
  41. UTAH

*Please note that Alabama is also a SARA state.

**For experiential learning in SARA states students are allowed to participate in internships/practicums/clinicals dependent upon course requirements and also dependent upon professional licensure requirements.  Please talk to your department about professional licensure state requirements.  However, if a group of students are placed at the same location for the internship/practicum in the same program, the department is only allowed to have no more than 10 students at each site per program.  A program is defined as (e.g., M.S.N. Nursing, B.S.N. Nursing).  These two programs could have up to 20 students for a summer internship under SARA regulations at a clinical site in a state other than Alabama. If you have further questions about experiential learning, please contact Dr. Suzanne Simpson for more information for SARA States to find out more information on physical presence triggers.
Non-SARA States that students pursuing 100% online degrees and/or courses ONLY are allowed to reside in the following states:

*If you wish to participate in experiential learning in a Non-SARA state, please contact Dr. Suzanne Simpson for more information on physical presence triggers.

What is the timeline for approval?

UAH is operating under an effort to show significant progress, or "good faith" effort towards compliance.   Due to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement we are able to provide 100% online courses and programs to students residing in states within the SARA agreement.  We are also able to provide the same to those Non-SARA states listed above.  UAH is also making "good faith" effort toward compliance with on the ground international programs and distance education programs in Territories and Canadian Provinces.

International Residents:
  • India (Please contact Dr. David Berkowitz, Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies for more information.)
Territories and Canadian Provinces:
  • American Samoa: 100% online courses and programs only students
  • Republic of Palau: 100% online courses and programs only students
  • Currently being reviewed under SARA standards-check back often for updates
    • Puerto Rico
    • U.S. Virgin Island
    • Federated States of Micronesia
    • Guam
    • North Mariana Islands
    • Republic of the Marshall Islands
    • Canadian Provinces
Military Bases
  • If you are military personnel and would like to enroll in one of our degree programs that are 100% online you can do so through the SARA agreement.  All military personnel and their dependents qualify to take courses and or start a program while deployed.  If you are a civilian on a military base and wish to take courses online through UAH in another SARA or non-SARA state, or overseas, this agreement does not apply.  The SARA agreement for military bases is for active military personnel only.
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 for resolving Academic Complaints. Students with other concerns should follow the appropriate procedures below, depending on the type of complaint.

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 same procedures as on-campus students. The Provost's office is the appropriate point of contact if you need assistance in this. If an issue cannot be resolved internally on the UAH campus, you may file a complaint with your State Portal contact.

Types of Complaints:
  • Academic Appeals: are found in section 5.20  (page 63 of PDF) of the student handbook for detailed procedures. These procedures are based on the full Academic Appeals policy published on the institutional policy website. These procedures are also summarized in the Undergraduate Catalog you can find information on Academic Warning, Probation, and Dismissal, Academic Appeals and in the Graduate Catalog under Academic Responsibilities-Academic Appeals.
  • Student Conduct Complaints: If your complaint is non-academic, refer to the student handbook section 6.13 (grievance procedures) or you may contact the Dean of Students office to discuss it further.
  • Title IX Discrimination/Grievance Procedure: If your complaint is non-academic and in reference to Title IX discrimination, refer to the student handbook section 7.3 (page 114). Also see the dedicated Title IX website for more information and sexual misconduct policy overview and reporting.

UAH students go through the Dean of Students office to submit complaints directly related to students issues and types of misconduct.  In addition to the policy and procedures in the Student Handbook, the processes and steps are also provided on the Dean of Students website under Student Code of Conduct

TYPES OF Complaints in Educational Programs:

In addition to the above mentioned internal complaint policies and procedures, a student may file a complaint alleging a violation of one or more of the following three categories:

  1. Alleged complaint violation in consumer protection laws:
  • Includes, but not limited to false information to students. See information under the state portal contacts above.
   2. Alleged complaint violation of state law relating to licensure of postsecondary institutions.
  • The university must authorize and provide contact information about professional licensures at postsecondary institutions in Alabama and other U.S. states and territories to students. At present time, please see College and Departments (list of professional licensures). See Professional licensure section above for contact information and check back often for updates.
   3. Alleged complaints related to the quality of education or state or accreditation requirements:
  • UAH is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award certificates, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees.  The university’s status with its regional accrediting agency is available here.
  • Academic programs at UAH have been accredited by special agencies.  Those are listed here.
Courses/Activities Taking Place Outside of Alabama:
  • Any student residing outside of Alabama and enrolled in online courses and programs should click here  for information on filing one or more of these three types of complaints. 
  • Those students residing inside or outside the state of Alabama and enrolled in supervised field experience that takes place outside of Alabama (e.g., student teaching, clinical) click here  for information to file a complaint on one or more on the three types of complaints detailed on this page.
  • 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.
Contact Information for Complaints with Accrediting Agencies:
  • The University of Alabama in Huntsville expects that the student filing the complaint follow the internal compliant procedure process prior to seeking a resolution from the University’s accreditation body.  If a student is not satisfied with the complaint resolution AND if the complaint relates to non-compliance with one of the accreditation standards, the student can file a complaint with SACSCOC as described below. The University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award certificates, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. For information on accreditation status, contact:
                 The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
                 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097

                 (404) 679.4500;

  • Complete the Commission's Complaint Form (contained in the following document): Complaint Procedures Against the Commission or Its Accredited Institutions
  • Please read the document carefully before submitting a complaint:
    • The complaint policy only addresses significant, documented, alleged non-compliance with the SACSCOC accreditation standards, policies or procedures.
    • Complainants are expected to have attempted to resolve the issue through the institution's complaint processes before filing a complaint with SACSCOC.
    • The SACSCOC complaint process is not intended to be used to involve the Commission in disputes between individuals and member institutions or to cause the Commission to interpose itself as a reviewing authority in individual matters; nor does the policy allow the Commission to seek redress on an individual's behalf.
    • The primary purpose of the SACSCOC complaint procedure is to acquire valuable information regarding an accredited institution's possible non-compliance with accreditation standards, policies and procedures rather than to resolve individual disputes.
    • Complaints must be tied to specific standard numbers from The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement
  •  Provided is a link to all UAH University Policies and Procedures.