Apply or Renew

SARA Eligibility Criteria

The Arizona SARA council is excited about your interest in joining or renewing with SARA. Before applying, please review the SARA eligibility criteria:

  • An institution must be legally domiciled in Arizona;
  • and be a U.S. degree-granting institution that is accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education;
  • and private institutions must meet SARA’s financial responsibility index score criteria for SARA participation.

Full details on SARA eligibility requirements may be found in the NC SARA Manual.  

Arizona SARA Meeting Schedule

The AZ SARA Council reviews applications at its scheduled meetings four times a year. Upcoming meeting dates and deadlines can found on the About Page

Application Documents and Submission Check Sheet

SARA Initial Application

SARA Renewal Application

Submission Documents Check Sheet

Submission: Follow the submission instructions. Download the check sheet to help prepare the application.

Initial Applicant: Prior to submission, reach out to Lanna Dueck at to discuss your intent. The SARA application, supporting documents and AZ SARA fees are due to the Executive Director by the submission deadline that corresponds to the Council meeting date that the institution is planning for its submission.

SARA State Change: Please note that currently participating SARA institutions from non-Arizona states relocating legal domicile to Arizona must apply with AZ SARA as an Initial Applicant, meet all initial application criteria including fees and the Arizona SARA required bond, and be reviewed at one of the scheduled meetings. Prior to submission, reach out to Lanna Dueck at to discuss your intent. 

Renewal Applicant: Ninety days before the renewal process is to be finalized, NC SARA sends a notification email to the institution with the renewal application. AZ SARA also sends an email at this time with detailed instructions and specific renewal deadlines, including the Council meeting date at which the renewal will be reviewed. 

Review Process

Executive Director Review: The application and supporting documents are first reviewed by the AZ SARA Executive Director and prepared for review by the AZ SARA Council. The Director will reach out if additional documents and or clarification is needed as part of the review.

Council Review: The application is then reviewed by the AZ SARA Council at the Council’s next scheduled meeting. The institutional contact, and any other applicable personnel, is invited to attend the Council meeting. Attendance is encouraged to provide an opportunity for the institution to respond to any questions posed by the Council.

Outcome: The Executive Director notifies the institution, NC-SARA, and W-SARA within five business days of the Council Review outcome (Approved, Provisionlly Approved or Denied with rationale). 

Annual Fees

Fees are due to both the AZ SARA Council and the NC SARA Council. Initial and renewal fees are the same and are payed annually. 

AZ SARA Council: AZ SARA Fees Page

    • AZ SARA fees are due to the AZ SARA Council at the time the application is submitted.
    • AZ SARA only accepts checks so please prepare in advance.
    • Visit our fees page for detailed instructions.

NC SARA CouncilNC SARA Fees Page:

    • Are paid AFTER the institution’s application has been approved by AZ SARA.
    • Are paid directly to NC SARA.
    • Upon approval, NC SARA will automatically send the institution an invoice with the option to pay by credit card or check.
    • DO NOT send NC SARA fees to AZ SARA.
    • DO NOT send NC SARA fees to NC SARA prior to AZ SARA approval as they will be returned.
    • Official initial participation and renewal begin when NC SARA receives payment. 
    • Visit the NC SARA Institutional Fees page for detailed information. 


READ CAREFULLY: A complete application includes PDF files of the below documents. Applications are submitted via email to

DO NOT mail the application or supporting documents. 

Public Institutions: Six Documents: If you do not have six documents to submit, recheck the check sheet. Please make one (1) pdf of each of the below for a total of 6 separate documents to submit.  Please ensure the files are not password protected.

1. Initial or Renewal Application

2. State Approval

3. Accreditation Documentation

4. Complaint Process

5. Fee Payment

6. Narrative Overview/Update

Private Institutions: Eight Documents: If you do not have eight documents to submit, recheck the check sheet. Please make one (1) pdf of each of the below for a total of 8 separate documents to submit. Please ensure the files are not password protected.

1. Initial or Renewal Application

2. State Approval and Stipulations if Applicable

3. Accreditation Documentation

4. Financial Index Score

5. Complaint Process

6. Surety Bond 

7. Fee Payment

8. Narrative Overview/Update

Supporting Documents:

Application & Supporting Documents



Application (either Initial or Renewal)

Public and Private: Select the either the Initial OR Renewal Application. The institution’s President or Chief Academic Officer must sign and initial each item on the application, indicating agreement with the conditions and terms of membership. Do not initial the checkboxes on the right side of the application – these are for Council use.


Applications signed and initialed by any other than the President or Chief Academic Office will be returned.

Narrative Overview/Update

Initial Applicant: Provide a narrative overview of the institution including a brief history, current happenings and SARA related activity such as out-of-state initiatives and major programs offered out-of-state.

Renewal Applicant: Provide a brief narrative update on the institution since the institution’s initial application including SARA related activity and any major institutional changes relevant to SARA. Note: the above narrative is intended to provide the AZ SARA Council members with a better understanding of the institution, its history current state and SARA activity. It is not a criterion for approval or denial into the reciprocity agreement.

State Approval

Public: A copy of the naming statute.

Private: Approval documents (License and any Stipulations) from the State Board for Private Postsecondary Education and any notices and/or report outcomes with the Board.


Public and Private: Accreditation documentation including any notices and/or report outcomes with the accreditor/s. If HLC accredited, please include a current copy of your institution’s Statement of Affiliation Status (SAS).

Financial Index Score

Private Only:

Title IV Participating Institution: Score as provided in the financials detailed below. 

Non-Title IV Participating Institutions: A score must be provided by the institution using a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Submit the CPA calculated score and calculation sheet used to determine the score. Please have your CPA calculate the score using the institution's most recent audited financials and same formula required for Title IV participating institutions. Contact the Executive Director if further guidance is needed.


Private Only:

Score of 1.5 or Above: To verify your institution’s financial responsibility index score, provide the cover letter to your audited financials along with the page within the audited financials that shows your score.

Score between 1.49 to 1.0: If your institution’s score is below 1.5 but above 1.0, reach out to the Arizona SARA Executive Director immediately. Also, provide complete audited financials along with a written statement as to your institution’s financials stability.          NOTE: Scores below 1.5 are not guaranteed SARA participation.

Score below 1.0: This score is not eligible to participate in SARA. Reach out to the Arizona SARA Executive Director immediately.

Complaint Process

Public and Private: As part of the SARA approval requirements, your institution agreed to the SARA complaint disclosure process as documented in the NC SARA Policies (4. Consumer Protection). Please provide evidence as to compliance with this policy in the form of a pdf copy of your complaint policy with AZ SARA listed as an appeal body for SARA students.

Complaint Language Example: Distance Education students, who have completed the internal institutional grievance process and the applicable state grievance process, may appeal non-instructional complaints to the AZ SARA Council. For additional information on the complaint process, please visit the AZ SARA Complaint page.

Surety Bond

Private Only: 

Initial Applicant: Original copy of bond for the AZ SARA Council. Please ensure bonding requirements follow AZ SARA Guidelines

Renewal Applicant: Evidence of Surety Bond continuation. You can request this from your bonding company. Please ensure the bond amount has been adjusted if needed to meet the AZ SARA bond requirements.


Public and Private: Please scan the check and include as a pdf file in the application submission. Please visit the AZ SARA Feed/Bond section on our website to review your institution’s applicable fees and submission instructions.

NOTE: Mailed checks should only be sent to the Rio Salado College's Cashier's Office