Authorization Information

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is obligated to comply with federal and state law regarding the delivery of distance education. 

State Reciprocity

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has been approved by the state of Minnesota 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. As a SARA participant, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is authorized to offer distance education to persons residing in other SARA-member states and districts

SARA also covers certain educational activities that take place in other states, such as field or clinical experiences, practica, student teaching, and internships, as long as these experiences meet SARA criteria and do not trigger “physical presence” within a state. An overview of SARA’s physical presence standard and criteria for on-the-ground experiences can be found in the SARA Manual. 

Non-SARA States and Territories

An overview of Saint Mary’s ability to offer online programs and other activities in states and territories that are not members of SARA is below. 

  • California: Saint Mary’s may offer distance education programs to CA residents. Because Saint Mary’s does not meet the definition of physical presence in CA, field/clinical experiences, practica, student teaching, and internships are allowed.
  • Federated States of Micronesia: The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) has no regulations, policies, or laws that restrict US institutions providing distance education, including online courses, to citizens of FSM. 
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands: There are no regulations or rules in the Republic of the Marshall Islands regarding the authorization of distance education programs.

Information is currently unavailable for the following: American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau. This site will be updated as information becomes available. 

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Students considering an academic program as a pathway to professional licensure or certification in any field should be aware that:

  1. State reciprocity for distance education has no effect on professional licensing or certification requirements; and
  2. Only a very small number of Saint Mary’s distance education programs are designed to prepare students to meet state or professional licensing or certification requirements. Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota cannot confirm whether any of its programs will meet requirements for professional licensure or certification in your state if you live outside of Minnesota.
  3. It is your responsibility to contact the appropriate licensing agency in your state to determine requirements and ensure program compatibility prior to beginning any course of study.

The resources below may assist students with professional licensure or certification research. This list is not comprehensive and students are reminded that it is their responsibility to accurately research licensing or certification requirements for their state or profession.

Student Complaints

If you have a question, concern, or complaint about your online education experience, please consult Saint Mary’s complaint process. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the institutional process, you may bring your complaint to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education or to your own state higher education regulatory agency.  


The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is the state portal entity for SARA and is required to accept all out-of-state student complaints for Minnesota private schools and career colleges. Complaints may be made to: 

Betsy Talbot
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
Saint Paul, MN 55108


Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833
phone: 916-431-6959

Filing a Complaint - California

American Samoa Community College
Kathleen Kolhoff, Ph.D.
Vice President Academic and Student Affairs
University of Guam
Robert Underwood
President of the University of Guam
Northern Mariana Islands Postsecondary Education
Office of the NMC President
P.O. Box 501250
Saipan MP 96950
Palau Community College
Dr. Patrick U. Tellei
Palau Community College
Students may also report complaints to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota’s accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission (

Connect With Us

Robin Hemenway, Ph.D.

Director of Accreditation and Compliance

Martin DePorres Hall-TC Campus, MDP120

Campus Box: # 28

(612) 238-4542

Robin Hemenway Ph.D.