State Authorization

NC-SARA LogoHeidelberg University (HU) must comply with a state's educational activity regulations before activity can occur within that state. State regulations determine whether Heidelberg may offer placement in a course or program.  Regulated educational activities includes offering 100% online courses and programs to online and/or campus-based courses that include activities such as internships, externships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching, and clinical placements. 

HU participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). Ohio became a SARA state in March 2015. Heidelberg University became a SARA institution in March 2016. This allows students from NC-SARA approved states to enroll in:

  • Online degree programs, certificates, and endorsements that include internships, externships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching, and clinical placements, and
  • Campus-based courses with out-of-state internships, externships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching, and clinical placements. 

HU is not authorized to offer on-line programs or campus-based course activities in the state of California or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

Online Courses and Programs

HU online courses and programs are available to students in all SARA states. If the programs include internships, field experiences, student teaching, and/or clinical placements, please check with the Program Director if you reside or plan to be educated in California. The following programs include on-line courses, internships, field experiences, student teaching, and/or clinical placements:

Courses within campus-based programs with out-of-state student activities

HU campus-based programs that require or offer internships, externships, co-ops, field experiences, student teaching, or clinical placements as part of the program is available to students in all SARA states.

If you reside or plan to be educated in California, please check with the Program Director or career services to be sure that there is not a restriction in this non-SARA state. 

Professional Licensure Information

Heidelberg University (HU) programs leading to licensure and/or advanced practice certification/endorsement, whether delivered online or face-to-face, satisfy the academic requirements for those credentials set forth by the State of Ohio. Requirements for licensure and/or advanced practice certification/endorsement eligibility vary from one profession to another and from state to state.

If you are interested in a HU program that leads to professional licensure and/or have a license and seek advanced practice certification/endorsement, please check with the appropriate licensing body in the state where you intend to practice to verify that the desired program will meet the eligibility criteria for the credentials you seek. 

National sites containing state board directories are below.


National Licensing Body


National Association of State Boards of Accountancy

Athletic Training

National Athletic Trainers’ Association

Certified Financial Planner CFP Board

Counselor Education - Clinical Mental Health Counseling 

National Board of Certified Counselors


National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification


National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying


National Association of State Boards of Geology


National Council of State Boards of Nursing


Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards

Complaint Process

Heidelberg University (HU) is dedicated to providing the best possible student experience. When an issue is brought to our attention, HU will intervene in the matter to seek resolution. Most complaints can be resolved utilizing the internal processes available. 

Student rights and expectations are described in the Student Handbook. The Complaint Process is divided into an informal and formal process.

Programs may have their own student codes of conduct and complaint processes as defined by the academic college. Please check the university catalog

External Resources

If an issue cannot be resolved internally and you are residing in a SARA state pursuant to the SARA Complain Process , please contact the Ohio SARA State Portal Agency Ohio SARA State Portal Agency.  

 If you are a student in a program on the Heidelberg University campus, you may file a grievance with the Ohio Department of Higher Education.  Students may also contact our accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission Higher Learning Commission. 


  • Military Students using TA benefits and Military Dependents using MyCAA may contact the Military OneSource Postsecondary Education Complaint System
  • Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill recipients may contact the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Federal financial aid (e.g. Pell Grant) recipients may contact the Department of Education:
  • Private student loan recipients may contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Frequently Asked Questions

What is state authorization?

States may require out-of-state institutions to obtain authorization to offer postsecondary education in accordance with its laws and regulations. State regulations vary from minimal to very strict requirements. In the majority of states, the need to seek authorization depends on the specific combination of that state’s laws and the activities an institution is conducting in that state. Those activities derive from how the state defines “operating,” “physically located,” or “physical presence.”

What does it mean to “operate” in a state or to have a physical presence “trigger”?

Each state statute defines “operating,” “physically located,” or “physical presence” differently including, but not limited to:

  • Offering distance education
  • On-ground recruiting
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Test proctoring
  • Employing faculty in that state
  • Internships, externships, field experiences, and clinical practicums.

Heidelberg University must comply with all regulations and receive authorization from a state before allowing students to participate in any educational activities through the University.  While these regulations initially applied only to online education, it now applies to courses in campus-based programs that include internships, co-ops, student teaching, clinical placements, and/or field experiences occurring in states outside of Ohio.  Conducting state authorization analysis is necessary any time a student is engaging in educational activities outside of the State of Ohio.

States expect that institutions obtain approval before enrolling students, advertising, marketing, or performing other regulated activities in their state. The requirements as to which activities need authorization, the application processes, and the costs to comply vary greatly from state to state.

What is the state authorization reciprocity agreement (SARA)?

The State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) established uniform standards for physical presence. Ohio became a SARA state in March 2015, and Heidelberg University became a SARA institution in March 2016.  Through reciprocity, an institution authorized under SARA in its home state would be considered authorized in all other SARA states. Refer to National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements page for state-specific information.

What if Heidelberg University does not comply?

There are a range of possible penalties for noncompliance with state authorization laws and regulations. They include but are not limited to:

  • Cease and desist letters/orders from state regulators
  • Forced “teach-outs” where the state allows the student currently receiving education in their state to finish but does not allow any other students from the university to attend without authorization
  • Possible fines and institutional sanctions, e.g., institutional enrollment freezes
  • Lawsuits
  • Domino effect with accreditors
  • Damaged reputation!

Who is the contact for more information about state authorization?

Contact the Registrar at

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