The U.S. Department of Education requires higher education institutions to be authorized to provide post-secondary educational instruction in their states. Many of these state laws and regulations also apply to online, distance, and correspondence educational instruction offered in that state.
Massachusetts Bay Community College is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories of the United States. It establishes national standards for the interstate offering of distance education courses and programs. It simplifies the process of taking online classes at an institution of higher education based in another state. The New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) is one of four regional education compacts and is the compact that administers SARA for institutions located in Massachusetts. A national council (NC-SARA) oversees SARA and the regional compacts.
Massachusetts Bay Community College (MBCC) was approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to participate in SARA, and became a SARA institution in 2019. At this time, only California is not a member state. If you reside in California and are interested in taking an online class at MBCC, please contact Admissions by email
MBCC is required to provide current and prospective online learning students with contact information for filing complaints. Students who desire to resolve a grievance should follow the College’s Student Grievance Procedure as outlined in the Massachusetts Community College System Student Code of Conduct
For other complaints, please click on the relevant link below for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org:
In-State Student Appeals
If a MA student is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint resolution process, they may appeal to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE), using the DHE’s MA Student Complaint process
Out-of-State Student Appeals
If a student who resides outside of MA is not satisfied with the outcome of this process, they may appeal to the Massachusetts SARA portal agency Complaints involving allegations of fraud and false or misleading information may also be filed with the Massachusetts portal agency.
The SARA portal agency in the student’s state of residence will be notified of any complaint filed with the Massachusetts portal agency. The student’s home state may assist the Massachusetts portal agency as needed. The complaint resolution by the Massachusetts portal agency is final and cannot be appealed to another state or federal agency or to NC-SARA.