Distance Education Authorization

Distance Education Authorization

The Interstate Distance Education Act, Sections 21-23B-1 through 21-23B-6 NMSA 1978 authorizes the New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) to adopt rules and regulations for the receipt of distance education by students in New Mexico and the provision of distance education by New Mexico participating post-secondary educational institutions to students located outside New Mexico. All institutions that are operating under the Act must apply for Distance Education Authorization (DEA) through NMHED, however there are some exemptions including institutions that participate in NC-SARA.

If your institutions’ home state is not New Mexico and it is not applying for NC-SARA membership or membership renewal, but would like to offer distance education programs in New Mexico, your institution must apply for New Mexico Distance Education Authorization. Please CLICK HERE to access the application information page.

If you have any questions about the Distance Education Authorization process please contact NMHED's Private-Post Secondary Schools Division at private.schools@hed.nm.gov or (505)476-8409.

The National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) is an agreement among member states, districts and territories that sets national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. NC-SARA allows students to benefit from educational services across state lines. NC-SARA centralizes the authorization process for each institution in a single state, referred to as the “home state.” By reducing the number of states in which an institution needs to apply for authorization, students benefit from expanded access to educational offerings and institutions benefit by reducing state authorization costs. New Mexico became a member on May 12, 2015 through the WICHE State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (W-SARA). Institutional membership in NC-SARA is voluntary and open to accredited, degree-granting institutions from all sectors of postsecondary education (private, proprietary and public).

In order to be eligible to participate in NC-SARA, an institution must:

1. Be a degree-granting institution, awarding associate degrees or higher;

2. Be physically located in a NC-SARA member state;

3. Hold proper authorization from Congress, a U.S. State, territory or district, or a federally recognized Indian tribe to award degrees; and

4. Hold accreditation as a single entity from an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) and whose scope of recognition, as specified by the USDOE, includes distance education. (See https://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg10.html)

5. If a non-public institution, meet the institutional financial responsibility requirements for NC-SARA participation set forth in Section 2.5(c and d) of the SARA Manual.

CLICK HERE to access the Application for Institutional Participation in NC-SARA.

New Mexico's application processing fee is $1,000.00. Please email Alicia.Armijo@hed.nm.gov to request an invoice for the fee.

Once complete the application packet should be emailed to Alicia.Armijo@hed.nm.gov for review.

CLICK HERE to access the Renewal Application for Institutional Participation in NC-SARA.

New Mexico's application processing fee is $1,000.00. Please email Alicia.Armijo@hed.nm.gov.us to request an invoice for the fee.

Once complete the application packet should be emailed to Alicia.Armijo@hed.nm.gov for review.

Where can I get more information about NC-SARA?

CLICK HERE to visit the NC-SARA Website

CLICK HERE to download the NC-SARA Manual


*5.99.1 NMAC is New Mexico's administrative code pertaining to distance education and includes provisions relating to NC-SARA.

NC-SARA State Portal Entity Contact:

Alicia Armijo
New Mexico SARA Coordinator
New Mexico Higher Education Department
2044 Galisteo Street, Suite 4
Santa Fe, NM  87505-2100

CONTACT US: If you require additional guidance on how to direct your question or are not able to locate the information you are looking for on the New Mexico Higher Education Department's website, please send us a message.