State authorization is a legal and regulatory term for a college’s compliance with individual statutes, regulations, and rules in each state in which it operates, has a physical presence, or engages in educational services, programs, or activities. Physical presence can mean anything from enrolling a student from another state in an online program to recruiting students at fairs or conferences. State authorization is different from institutional or programmatic accreditation, or approval from professional licensing boards, but our office assists programs and departments with this area of compliance as well. We work directly with university stakeholders to gain the necessary approvals to engage in educational activities outside of Utah, our home state. A list of our current state approval or formal exemption status and Consumer Complaint Process can be found within the Institutional Catalog (opens new window).
Western Governors University formally became a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements ("NC-SARA" or "SARA") on October 14, 2016, allowing WGU to operate in a number of states based on its approval in the State of Utah. For additional information on NC-SARA please refer to their website: http://nc-sara.org (opens new window). The Utah System of Higher Education ("USHE") is WGU's portal agency for NC-SARA purposes, and that agency handles complaints from applicants and students about WGU arising in states where the university operates pursuant to NC-SARA.
Students who have a complaint about WGU should first file a complaint with the institution. If WGU does not resolve the issue, a complaint may be filed with USHE at www.higheredutah.org/sara (opens new window), however USHE will only consider complaints that were previously unresolved by WGU and may refer a complaint to an agency in another state for investigation.