State Authorization

What is State Authorization?

State authorization is a legal and regulatory term that refers to a university’s compliance with individual statutes, regulations, and rules in each state in which it operates, has a physical presence, or engages in educational services and programs. Institutions engaging in regulated activities outside of their home states are required to be in compliance with the regulations and laws of each state where the activities occur as well as with federal regulations. An institution may achieve compliance either through a state’s authorization process or through a reciprocity agreement.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA)

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) is an agreement among member states that establishes national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education and holds higher education institutions to the laws and regulations of each of the states in which students are located while completing distance education. Louisiana is a member state of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center at Shreveport is approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents to participate in NC-SARA and is authorized to engage in regulated activities in other member states. NC-SARA is commonly known as SARA. Currently, 49 states (all but California), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have joined NC-SARA.

Click here to learn more about NC-SARA.


LSU Health Shreveport is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees, Doctoral Degrees and First-Professional Degrees. Contact the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of LSU Health Sciences Center at Shreveport.

Complaint Resolution

Students are encouraged to first attempt internal resolution by following the institution’s complaint, grievance, and appeal procedures:

If internal resolution cannot be reached or if a student is dissatisfied with the outcome, a complaint may be filed with the Louisiana Board of Regents. This policy governs conduct or behavior on the part of any Louisiana-approved SARA institution or any of its agents, representatives or employees that constitutes:

  • Dishonest or fraudulent behavior, including giving false or misleading information to a student. Examples may include, but are not limited to:
  • Veracity of recruitment and marketing materials
    o Veracity of recruitment and marketing materials
    o Accuracy of job placement data
    o Accuracy of information about tuition, fees and financial aid
    o Complete and correct admission requirements for courses and programs
    o Accuracy of information about whether course work meets professional licensing requirements
  • Operating a course or program contrary to standard practices set forth in the Interregional Guidelines for the Evaluation of Distance Education Programs(Online Learning) in such a way that harms a student
  • Operation of distance education programs contrary to practices expected by institutional and, if applicable, programmatic accreditors.

This policy does not apply to complaints related to course grades, academic sanctions or discipline/conduct matters.

Professional Licensure

Pursuant to the Federal Program Integrity Rules (34 CFR (B)(VI)(668)(F) and NC-SARA (Rule 5.2), the following information is provided about programs leading to professional licensure:

  • Licensure is a state-specific determination made by state professional licensing boards based on state-determined criteria.
  • The rules applicable to a licensure application are the rules and regulations that are in place at the time the student applies for licensure.
  • When a student speaks to the state professional licensing board, the professional licensing board may require the student to inform them of whether or not the program leads to licensure in the state of Louisiana
  • Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center is working to determine whether or not programs in licensed professions lead to licensure in the states in which they have students and in state in which prospective students inquire about matriculating in said programs.

Professional Licensure Boards

  • Requirements for licensure vary from one profession to another and from state to state.
  • Each state has professional licensing boards in place to regulate the criteria that need to be met to qualify for licensure within a state.
  • Many careers require you to meet specific licensing, training as well as other requirements.
  • Additional education may be required, including but not limited to, state-specific content such as additional coursework or additional supervised field experience hours.
  • Boards may also require background checks.
  • Some boards require an individual to be a resident in order to obtain a license in certain professions.
  • Some states require that an individual obtain a drivers’ license in the state thereby confirming residency in the state prior to considering a licensure application.
  • Licensure requires are governed by the states, not by the Federal government, and the criteria for licensure vary significantly from state to state.
  • Rules in place at the time the individual applies for licensure determine what the licensing requirements apply. The Board determines how the rules and regulations in place are interpreted and applied at the time the licensure application is processed.

Clinical Practica and Field Experiences

Although LSUHSC-S will make reasonable efforts to place admitted students in clinical practicums, field experiences and internships, it will be up to the host facility to determine whether a student will be allowed to work at that facility. Students should further be aware that a criminal record may jeopardize licensure by the state certification body. Students may consult the certification body corresponding to their intended occupation for more details. Successful completion of a program of study at LSUHSC-S does not guarantee licensure, certification or employment in the relevant occupation.

Adverse Actions

As of January 1, 2021, no adverse actions related to our online degree programs have been initiated by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) or the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) against LSUHSC-S for the past five years.

Potential Consequences of Changing State of Residence

Should you relocate while taking a distance program, negative consequences may occur including, but not limited to, the loss of eligibility for certain forms of financial aid and/or in the inability to complete the academic program. Additionally, each state professional licensing board has distinct standards. Therefore, relocation may adversely affect your ability to become licensed.