Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation
Mississippi SARA Frequently Asked Questions

Is participation voluntary?
Yes, participation in SARA is voluntary for the state and for colleges and universities. However, in order for colleges and universities to participate, the state must first become a member.

Is there a deadline to submit an application to MCCA (Mississippi Commission on College Accreditation)?
MCCA will review applications received by February 29 at its March meeting. MCCA will review applications received by April 29 at its May meeting.

Can a college still charge out-of-state fees to students from SARA member states?
SARA does not become involved regarding the tuition and fees assessed to out-of-state students by member institutions. All institutions, whether participating in SARA or not, are responsible for providing accurate information about tuition, fees, and financial aid.

Is there a fee to participate in SARA?
Yes. MCCA will assess an annual fee based on 25% of the NC-SARA fee structure. Full payment of the fee is required prior to MCCA review of the SARA application.

MCCA will reassess fees periodically:

  • $500/year for institutions with fewer than 2,500 FTE students
  • $1,000/year for institutions between 2,500-9,999 FTE students
  • $1,500/year for institutions with 10,000 or more FTE students

The National Council-State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) assesses an annual fee for participation in SARA. This annual fee is based on an institution's total full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment as shown in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS):

  • $2,000/year for institutions with fewer than 2,500 FTE students
  • $4,000/year for institutions between 2,500-9,999 FTE students
  • $6,000/year for institutions with 10,000 or more FTE students

What are the eligibility requirements for in-state postsecondary education institutions?

  • Accreditation as a degree-granting institution of higher education by an accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE)
  • Authorization to operate in Mississippi as an in-state postsecondary education institution
  • If not a public institution, documentation of a composite score of at least 1.5 out of 3.0 on the USDE financial stability scale.

What document will MCCA consider as proof of authorization to operate in Mississippi as an in-state postsecondary education institution?
For academic degree-granting institutions: The letter that MCCA provides to authorized colleges and universities after its annual meeting in May will be sufficient for MS-SARA purposes.

For career/occupational schools: The Commission on Proprietary Schools and College Registration (CPSCR) provides a license certificate to career/occupational schools authorized by CPSCR to operate in the state.

What type of data are institutions required to provide to NC-SARA?
Institutions participating in SARA will annually report to NC-SARA the number of students enrolled in the institution via distance education delivered outside Mississippi, disaggregated by state, territory, or district in which the students reside. This data will be reported one month following the due date for institutions to make their fall enrollment reports to the federal government's Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). NC-SARA will provide each SARA institution a data-reporting manual and a data usage agreement to be signed by responsible parties of the SARA institution and NC-SARA. NC-SARA on its website will report those enrollments, by institution. Beginning in fall 2016, institutions participating in SARA will also be required to disaggregate enrollment data by broad program of study.

NC-SARA will not collect individually identifiable student data and will comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

What type of data are states required to provide to NC-SARA?
MCCA will submit quarterly reports to NC-SARA regarding the number and disposition of formal complaints that are not resolved at the institutional level.