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Regulatory Reciprocity Gets a $2.3-Million Boost

The Lumina Foundation has awarded a $2.3-million grant to a partnership of organizations hoping to create a single set of standards that states can use to regulate colleges—and especially their online offerings.

The effort, led by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, is intended to establish “a quality-assurance process that’s unbound by state lines” and that will help students and institutions trust degrees and online programs from colleges in other states, according to the commission’s president, David A. Longanecker, who is a former assistant secretary for postsecondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Known as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement, or SARA, the project is intended to replace the existing 50-state patchwork of often-mismatched regulations with a system that will, in addition to protecting students, reduce costs for institutions seeking to operate in more than one state and “increase the quality, comparability, and effectiveness of regulatory oversight,” according to Wiche’s announcement.

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