State Authorization (SARA) and Student Complaints

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA)

“State authorization” refers to the requirement under the Higher Education Act that institutions be authorized in the state in which they are located as a condition to granting degrees and eligibility to participate in Title IV student assistance programs. BYU has been approved by the State of Utah to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA). SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Participation in SARA allows BYU Independent Study to offer distance education courses to students in the 47 SARA states and the District of Columbia. A list of SARA states is provided at the NC-SARA website. The few states that do not currently participate in SARA (California, Florida and Massachusetts) do not regulate distance education by out-of-state institutions if the out-of-state institution’s activities within the state do not constitute “physical presence”. Because BYU does not have a physical presence in those states, it is not subject to any authorization requirements and may provide online distance education courses to students residing in those states. As a result, BYU Independent Study is able to offer online courses to students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Student Complaints

Complaints from Students in SARA States

The Policies and Standards for distance education imposed by SARA on its member institutions can be found at the online SARA Manual. Complaints regarding distance education offered by BYU under the terms of SARA should be filed directly with BYU Independent Study on our Feedback page. If the complaint is not resolved to the student’s satisfaction after completing BYU Independent Study’s complaint process, the student may file a complaint with the Utah System of Higher Education, Utah’s SARA portal agency. The student may also file a complaint with their state’s enforcement authority. A list of enforcement authorities by state is also provided on the BYU Compliance website (login required).

Complaints from Students in Non-SARA States

Students from states that do not participate in SARA (California, Florida and Massachusetts) should direct all complaints related to distance education to BYU Independent Study on our Feedback page. The student may also file a complaint with their state’s enforcement authority. A list of enforcement authorities by state is provided on the BYU Compliance website (login required).

Complaints of False or Deceptive Practices

Students who have complaints relating to fraud, false advertising, or other deceptive practices may file a complaint with: Utah Division of Consumer Protection, 160 East 300 East, 2nd Floor, Salt Lake City, UT 84111, Telephone: 801-530-6601, Toll-free in Utah at 1-800-721-SAFE or the Complaints page of their website.

Complaints Related to Accreditation

Students who wish to file a complaint with the accreditation organization for the university may contact the following:

Dr. Sandra E. Elman, President
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 
8060 165th Ave. NE, Suite 100
Redmond, Washington 98052

Ph: 425-558-4224
Fax: 425-376-0596

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities provides some additional information on the Complaint Process page of its website.

EhticsPoint

BYU utilizes EthicsPoint as a campus-wide compliance hotline. The purpose of this compliance hotline is to provide an anonymous way to report instances of suspected noncompliance or to obtain information about compliance issues. Students are encouraged to use EthicsPoint to submit reports of noncompliance with institution policy or procedure, or with federal, state, or local laws or regulations