The Arizona SARA council is excited about your interest in joining SARA. The Council is the SARA approval body for Arizona institutions as approved by W-SARA. 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. Additionally, private institutions must meet SARA’s financial responsibility index score criteria to participate in SARA. Further information on all eligibility requirements for SARA may be found in the NC SARA Policies and Standards.  Please become familiar with the eligibility requirements, policies and standards.

It is the AZ SARA Council’s desire that the initial application and renewal process be clear and smooth. To that end, please read the below instructions carefully. It is often helpful to review the application or renewal requirements with the Council’s Executive Director prior to submission. Please reach out to Lanna Dueck at with any questions.

Download SARA Initial Application

Download SARA Renewal Application

Review Process

Initial Applicant: The AZ SARA Council reviews applications at its scheduled meetings four times a year. Upcoming meeting dates can be located on the home page. 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.

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. The renewal application, supporting documents and the AZ SARA fees are due to AZ SARA thirty days after the ninety days’ renewal notification.

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.

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.

If approved, the Executive Director notifies the institution, NC-SARA, and W-SARA within five business days. Official participation in SARA does not begin until NC SARA receives participation fees.


Fees are due to both the AZ SARA Council and the NC SARA Council. Fees are the same for both the initial and renewal applications for both AZ SARA and NC SARA.

AZ SARA Council: 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 Council: NC SARA fees are paid AFTER the institution’s renewal has been approved by AZ SARA and are paid directly to NC SARA. NC SARA accepts checks or credit card. DO NOT send NC SARA fees to AZ SARA. DO NOT send NC SARA fees to NC SARA prior to approval as they will be returned.


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

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. Narrative Overview/Update

3. State Approval

4. Accreditation Documentation

5. Complaint Process

6. Fee Payment

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. Narrative Overview/Update

3. State Approval

4. Accreditation Documentation

5. Financial Index Score

6. Complaint Process

7. Surety Bond 

8. Fee Payment

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 Approval Letter) 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

Submission Documents Check-Sheet