Reviewing Data Reports

NC-SARA Research & Data

NC-SARA’s research and data projects identify and analyze national, regional, state, and sector information and trends in interstate distance education. These reports, presentations, and data files can provide insights to help stakeholders answer a variety of questions, plan for important needs, and better understand the national landscape of interstate distance education.

Annual SARA Data Collection & Analysis

Collecting, reporting, and analyzing data about the interstate delivery of distance education are important parts of NC-SARA's mission. Data collection and reporting help measure the impact of SARA and track changes over time. SARA policy requires annual reporting by participating institutions of the following data: 

  • Distance Education Enrollment: These data help us understand which institutions are enrolling students exclusively at a distance and where those students are located.
  • Out-of-State Learning Placements (OOSLP): These data help us know how many students are participating in learning placements covered by SARA in other states, what programs of study are represented by learning placements, and in which states those placements occur. OOSLP reporting includes learning placements related to on-ground and distance learning programs.

Each year, NC-SARA publishes an Annual Data Report that summarizes the data and shares key insights into any emerging trends. Data dashboards and data files are also shared publicly so that researchers from other organizations may access the data collected by NC-SARA for their own analysis.

Student Complaints Data

As a critical element of transparency and student consumer protections, NC-SARA also collects and shares data on SARA-related student complaints from SARA-member states on a quarterly basis.              


NC-SARA conducts, partners with, and/or supports other organizations’ research on national topics of interest for member states and participating institutions. Because of the scope and reach of SARA, this research often illuminates trends in the distance education and state authorization fields nationally. Research topics include:

  • SARA-participating institutions’ distance education offerings and plans;
  • Distance education fees assessed by states;
  • Cost savings for institutions participating in SARA compared to seeking authorization in each state individually;
  • Comparisons of NC-SARA distance education enrollment data to IPEDS distance education enrollment reporting;
  • States' capacity to perform the work of SARA;
  • And more!


For questions specific to research or data collection at NC-SARA, please contact