Apply or Renew

Arizona SARA Online Application Portal

The SARA initial and renewal application is processed through the Council's online application portal and is reviewed at one of the Council's three annual meetings in either January, May or September. Meeting details can be found on the Meetings/Forum Page. 

Please carefully review the below material including the 'Application and Required Documents' section to become familiar with the process and what is required documentation for institutions. 


Before applying, please review the SARA eligibility criteria:

  1. Be a degree-granting Institution, awarding associate Degrees or higher; 
  2. Be physically located in a SARA Member State; 
  3. Hold proper Authorization from Congress, a U.S. State, territory or district, or a federally recognized Indian tribe to award Degrees; and 
  4. Hold accreditation as a single entity from an Accrediting Agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and whose scope of recognition, as specified by the U.S. Department of Education, includes Distance Education. (See
  5. If a non-public Institution, meet the institutional financial responsibility requirements for SARA participation set forth in Section 2.5(c and d) herein

Full details on SARA eligibility requirements may be found in the NC SARA Manual 3.1.b.  

Initial Applicants

All initial applicants follow the below outlined steps.

SARA State Change Note: Please note that all currently participating SARA institutions from non-Arizona states relocating legal domicile to Arizona must apply with Arizona 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 annual meetings.

Initial Applicant Steps:

  • Discovery Call: A call is scheduled with the Executive Director to go over the process, answer questions and set a Council Review Meeting date for either January, May or September. To set-up a Discovery call, please visit our Contact Page
  • Online Portal Account Set-Up: The institution is then invited to create an account within the AZ SARA's online application portal.
  • Application: An application is opened within the online portal and all required documentation is submitted along with Arizona SARA fee payment. 
  • Executive Director Review (ED): The ED reviews the submitted application and documents. Revisions are sent back to the institution until the application is considered ready for Council review. 
  • Council Review: The institution's application and documentation is reviewed by the Council at the appointed Council Review Meeting. Institutions are encouraged to attend their review meeting in-person when appropriate. Conference call is available.  
  • AZ SARA: If approved by the Council, the institution receives its formal Arizona SARA approval from the Executive Director. If delayed, or denied, the Executive Director will be in communication with the institution.  This typically occurs within five business days from the Council review meeting. 
  • NC SARA: Approved institutions pay NC SARA fees and are added to the AZ SARA and NC SARA website as a participating institutions. 
  • Timeline: Applicants have a minimum of 30 days from the time the application is opened to complete and submit the timeline. Once submitted, the review time takes approximately 60 days to align with the three annual Council meetings. This does not include the Discovery Call time with the Executive Director prior to the application opening.  

Renewal Applicants

NC SARA: 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: Prior to the above NC SARA renewal email, renewal institutions receive an email from AZ SARA indicating the application portal is open for renewal. Institutions may not access their renewal application until this email is sent as it is time. The email also contains detailed instructions and specific renewal deadlines, including the Council meeting date at which the renewal will be reviewed. 

Review Process and timeline: The above review process and basic timeline for Initial Applicants is mirrored for Renewal applicants with the exclusion of the Discovery Call. 

Application and Required Documents

The Initial and Renewal SARA applications may be viewed here for reference only. The Arizona SARA Council ONLY accepts applications through its online application portal. The below bulleted lists and downloadable 'Required Documents' PDF are provided as reference tools when compiling documents for submission within the online application portal. 

Public Institutions: Six Documents: Please make one (1) PDF of each of the below for a total of 6 separate documents to upload into the application portal. Please ensure the files are not password protected.

  1. Narrative Overview/Update
  2. State Approval
  3. Accreditation Documentation
  4. Complaint Process
  5. Fee Payment
  6. CAO/CEO Signature Page- this page is provided as a download in the online portal. First, download and have it signed by the CAO/CEO, then upload into the online portal. 

Private Institutions: Eight/Nine Documents: Please make one (1) PDF of each of the below for a total of 8/9 separate documents to upload into the application portal. Please ensure the files are not password protected.

  1. Narrative Overview/Update
  2. State Approval
  3. Stipulations (if applicable)
  4. Accreditation Documentation
  5. Financial Index Score
  6. Complaint Process
  7. Surety Bond 
  8. Fee Payment
  9. CAO/CEO Signature Page- this page is provided as a download in the online portal. First, download and have it signed by the CAO/CEO, then upload into the online portal. 

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 CouncilAZ 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.