WMU’s State Authorization Status

The United States Department of Education regulation 34 C.F.R.§ 600.9(c) requires each state to apply for and receive authorization to provide online/distance education courses in other states. The authorization requirements, as well the application processes, vary on a state-by-state basis. WMU's Extended University Programs department works with faculty and staff members across all colleges and departments within Western Michigan University who have or may establish programs regarding existing and future applications in a concentrated effort to comply with this regulation.

Western Michigan University is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).  As such, we adhere to an established common set of standards for offering post-secondary distance education among member states, districts and territories. Participation in SARA is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state. While we do monitor the laws in each state, authorization of distance education is a dynamic environment and prospective students should check this site often for updates. For more information about SARA, please visit http://www.nc-sara.org/.​

It is the student’s responsibility to understand current circumstances or special requirements in their state of residence.

100 Percent Online and Distance Education Programs

Western Michigan University is currently authorized, licensed, registered, exempt or not subject to approval to offer 100 percent online, distance education courses or programs in all states.

Important note for prospective students

Professional licensure programs

If you are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license in your state, it is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in your home state before beginning the academic program located outside your state. It is the student's responsibility to contact the appropriate licensing board in their home state to confirm whether a WMU program will meet the requirements for licensure in that state.

Professional educator prep programs

Educator licensure and certification are regulated individually by State Departments of Education and no two are exactly alike. Students who seek admission to WMU’s online educator prep programs (Master of Arts in Science Education) should contact their home state’s Department of Education for applicable requirements, rules and regulations. Students are responsible for determining whether the online program will meet their home states’ requirements for certification, licensure, or otherwise advancing a student’s teaching or administrator credentials.

Placement programs

Details regarding placement programs that include face to face instructional activities that take place in another state such as: internships, externships, field experiences or clinical practicums are provided below. These types of instructional activities are authorized in other SARA member states as highlighted in blue on the map below1. For all states that are not currently members of SARA (not highlighted on the map), please inquire for more authorization details by emailing andrew.holmes@wmich.edu.

SARA states and institutions

Map showing SARA states

SARA states are colored in blue.
Map courtesy of nc-sara.org, which also provides a full list of SARA states and institutions.

1 Instructional activities are authorized and governed by the physical presence standard set forth by NC-SARA. More details can be found at nc-sara.org/about/physical-presence-standard

Student complaint process

Students taking classes online with Western Michigan University should attempt to resolve any issues or complaints with the University first.  If an issue or complaint is not resolved at the institutional level, you may choose to review and follow the appropriate state complaint process.