State Authorization

State Authorization for Distance Education

Adams State University must be authorized, exempted from authorization, or not under the jurisdiction of regulation in any state where students live and take online courses or participate in experiential learning activities (e.g., internships, clinical experiences, and field experiences) outside of Colorado.


Adams State can accept and enroll in our online programs, students living in a state that is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement. (Please read below under “State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.”) As of June 1, 2019, 49 states (all but California), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are members of SARA.

Please note that the university uses SARA as its primary authority to offer programs to students outside of Colorado. Additionally, Adams State programs, including online programs, leading to professional licensure (e.g. Nursing, Teacher Education, and Counselor Education) may only accept students living in certain states. Prospective and current students participating in any online or experiential learning activity outside of Colorado should contact us before making a commitment to the activity. Please check with a program advisor to determine whether that program is offered in your state.

Currently we cannot accept students living in Texas in our MA in School Counseling program. See the requirements for Professional Licensure for restrictions on programs in Nursing, Teacher Education and Counselor Education.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement

In April 2014 the State of Colorado joined the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Adams State University was approved as a participating institution by the state shortly thereafter. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.

Participating in SARA allows the university to offer online education and certain experiential learning activities to students living in 49 states (all but California), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

For specific questions please contact:

Mark Manzanares, Ph.D.
Head of Adams State Online
Professor Counselor Education

Professional Licensure

Prospective and currently enrolled students interested in courses, programs, certificates, or degrees that lead to professional licensure must understand their state licensing board’s requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, visit: Professional Licensure.

Complaint Resolution Procedures

Online and distance education students should try to address their concerns with the instructor or faculty member first. If matters cannot be resolved the student should address their concerns with the department chair that oversees the faculty member and academic discipline. Efforts to resolve complaints in this manner are considered ‘Informal Complaints’. If issues cannot be resolved at this level students may file a complaint by Adam State’s complaint process: Student Complaints. Students are expected to exhaust all opportunities for resolution at the institutional level before filing a complaint with the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Students who are residents in other states, and who are pursuing degrees through distance education (online or correspondence programs) may choose to register a complaint with the higher education authority in their state. The student is expected to exhaust all opportunities for resolution at the institutional level before filing a complaint with their state of residency. Links to the state higher education authority in each state can be found on the complaints page: Student Complaints.

For more information on why, visit: State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).

Institutional Statement of Export Control Commitment and Support

Adams State University’s driving purpose is to provide equitable access to education for all. We promote successful and engaged lives by caring for, connecting with, and challenging our students, campus, and community. As Colorado’s premier Hispanic Serving Institution, Adams State University draws on its rural location in the San Luis Valley, to serve and empower all students, especially those from historically underserved populations. Online learning is a great option if you have a demanding work schedule and personal schedule. Adams State University through our Adams State Online option offers the programs and flexibility you need to meet your educational and career goals. Our online courses are generally excluded from federal export control regulations.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against sanctioned and embargoed parties and countries, pursuant to 50 U.S.C. §1702. OFAC guidance provides that Adams State University courses are providing a service, which is generally not authorized, and requires a specific authorization for students in certain countries. That list of countries is available online at U.S. Department of the Treasury.

All students from all countries are encouraged to apply to Adams State. If you see your country on the OFAC sanctioned list, please contact Carissa Watts, Principal Designated School Official.