State Authorization for Distance Education
All U.S. states require post-secondary educational institutions to be legally authorized to provide post-secondary educational instruction in their states. MSU wants to provide distance education programs and courses to students in all states and territories. To facilitate this endeavor for out-of-state students, MSU participates in “the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance 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.” Mississippi is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB).
The state of Mississippi became a member of SARA on January 1, 2016. Mississippi State University received approval from the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (MCCA) to participate in SARA on July 27, 2016. MCCA is recognized by SREB as the State Portal Entity for Mississippi.
Colleges or universities in a SARA state only need their home state authorization to offer distance education to any other SARA member state. Not every state has joined SARA, but most have. A current list of member states can be found here.
State authorization rules are subject to change. Please check back to this site for more information concerning MSU and authorization of states for distance education courses.
SARA approval does not extend to programs that lead to professional licensure. If you live outside the state of Mississippi and are considering a program that leads to licensure, then you should contact the appropriate licensing board in your home state before you apply to MSU. While every attempt is made to stay abreast of the laws in each state, it is the student’s responsibility to contact the appropriate licensing board in his or her home state to confirm whether or not the MSU program will meet the state’s licensure requirements.
Distance Education Complaint Process for MSU's Out-of-State Students
If you have a complaint about a distance education program offered at MSU, concerning allegations of dishonest or fraudulent activity, including the provision of false or misleading information, you will need to contact the Dean of Students Office to file the complaint. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation (MCCA) will investigate and attempt to resolve the allegations.
Complaints regarding student grades or student conduct violations are governed entirely by MSU policy. MSU students with an academic concern are encouraged to contact MSU's Dean of Students.
You can also further your complaint with the appropriate agency in the state where you reside. Please click on your state for the contact form.
Mississippi State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctorate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at:Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097
or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation of Mississippi State University.