What is State Authorization?

There are regulations pertaining to post-secondary online instruction. These laws and regulations apply to online, distance, and correspondence educational instruction offered to permanent state residents.

Kentucky is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and Northern Kentucky University is an approved SARA institution. SARA allows institutions to offer distance education courses and programs to other SARA participating institutions and ensures adherence to national standards for postsecondary distance education. We work through the SARA process and with states to ensure that when authorization or licensure of online programs is necessary, required approvals are secured.

It is the student’s responsibility to understand the current status or special requirements related to the authorization of distance education in their state of residence.  For more information about SARA, please visit http://www.nc-sara.org/.

To determine if the online program you are interested in, is available to you based on your residency, please visit: NKU State Authorization table

Requirements and restrictions change frequently, so check back often for the status of offerings in your state.

Table Key:

  • √ - NKU currently authorized to offer programs
  • X: NKU not currently authorized to offer programs


  • NKU will make the final determination of whether or not it can offer its online program to students based on their residency at the time of application as regulations may change.
  • If a student’s residency changes during his or her enrollment in an online program, depending on the requirements of the new state of resident, the student may not be able to continue the program.
  • In addition to distance education authorization, certain programs may require authorization from a state’s licensing boards. Depending on the state, programs in nursing, education, social work, counseling, allied health professions, and veterinary medicine may require approval from separate licensing boards. Please consult with the appropriate licensing board in your state to determine if requirements exist.
  • For purposes of state licensure, residency means “where an individual will be physically living/located at the time of enrollment”


Professional Licensure

If considering an academic program that leads to a professional licensure (example: Education or Nursing), it is recommended students first contact the appropriate licensing agency in their home state prior to starting a program outside their state of residency.  It is the student’s responsibility to contact the appropriate licensing entity in the student’s home state to confirm whether a NKU program will meet the requirements for licensure in that state.  Although a program may be available in your resident state, there may be additional obligations required by the institution and NKU has the right to determine if program will be available in state of residence. 


Distance Education Student Grievance Policy/Procedure

NKU is required to provide all current and prospective out-of-state students with the contact information of the state agency that handles complaints against institutions of higher education within that state. Enrolled students are encouraged to utilize NKU’s internal complaint and review policies.

Click here for state-specific information: Student complaint information by State and Agency

For information on complaint procedures in the state of Texas, visit these sites:

Notice Regarding State Authorization

Northern Kentucky University recognizes that states have the authority to regulate colleges and universities offering education within that state’s boundaries, which includes regulation of distance learning and online education. NKU is making good faith efforts to comply with the regulations in states where it serves students.

Out-of-state students are advised to check with their post-secondary governing board with specific questions about NKU’s authority to provide specific degree programs. Out-of-state students considering programs that require subsequent licensure by the state of residence (i.e. nursing or education) may also check with the state licensure office.

Click here for state-specific information: State Authorization Directory



This institution is authorized by:

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education/
The Indiana Board for Proprietary Education
101 West Ohio Street, Suite 670
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1984
317.464.4400 Ext. 138
317.464.4400 Ext. 141



NKU is exempt from authorization under AS 14.48 and 20 AAC 17 because the program is online or distance delivered and does not have a physical presence in the state.



Licensed in Nevada by CPE