State Authorization

State Authorization Compliance & Student Complaint Process

The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is required to comply with other states’ laws regarding the delivery of online programs and courses.

State authorization is a legal issue regarding an educational institution’s adherence to the requirements necessary to secure authorization to offer instruction and other educational endeavors outside of their home state. Every state has the authority to regulate which postsecondary institutions offer education within its boundaries, including online programs and courses. State authorization compliance is a federal regulatory program (Higher Education Act of 2008, Amended 2010) that requires all institutions of higher education, as a condition of receiving funding for federal financial aid, to be authorized in and by each state in which they offer educational activities. Educational activities include:

  • Advertising
  • Clinicals
  • Distance Education Programs
  • Externships
  • Faculty Located Outside North Carolina
  • Internships
  • Non-Classroom Experiences
  • Online Degrees & Courses
  • Practicums
  • Proctoring
  • Professional Licensure
  • Recruiting

Notice for Students Outside the State of North Carolina 

Admission of applicants located outside the state of North Carolina to an online degree or certificate program or individual online course offered by UNC Pembroke is dependent upon UNC Pembroke's ability to secure authorization from the applicant's state of location, if such authorization is required.

UNC Pembroke has been approved by the state of North Carolina to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. Institutions that are members of NC-SARA are authorized to provide online education to students from all NC-SARA member states. Forty-eight states (all except California and Massachusetts) currently participate in NC-SARA. NC-SARA operates under the authority of four regional education compacts: the Midwestern Higher Education Compact, the New England Board of Higher Education, the Southern Regional Board and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. North Carolina is one of 16 states in the Southern Regional Board compact..

Please visit NC-SARA for more information regarding state and institutional membership.

For general inquiries regarding state authorization, please contact: