State Authorization Requirements & Complaint Resolution


Online and distance education is an important part of Goucher College's Robert S. Welch Center for Graduate and Professional Studies. The center offers ten master's degree programs, including eight programs offered in low-residency, distance learning formats.

State Authorization

On October 29, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) released "program integrity" regulations that focused on the need for institutions offering distance education programs to acquire authorization from any state in which they operate. As an institution that has students residing across the United States, Goucher College is required to obtain such authorization to operate based on the activities it conducts in those states.

In most states Goucher is authorized to operate through what is known as the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement or “SARA.” SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs. It is intended to make it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in another state.

The State of Maryland is a member of SARA, and Goucher participates in SARA and thereby has permission to operate in SARA states.

In the remaining “non-SARA” states, Goucher is exempt from requirements to obtain authorization. Those states include California, Massachusetts, and Florida. However, on-site internship placements are not currently available in Massachusetts.

Complaint Resolution

Goucher College makes every effort to resolve student complaints internally, using policies and procedures outlined by the College.

If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, you are encouraged to use Goucher’s Student Grievance Procedure. For information or questions about this procedure, contact Barbara Stob, General Counsel, at 410-337-6011 or Other policies and procedures may apply, depending on the nature of your complaint.

If your complaint is not resolved, you may file a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Higher Education, Maryland’s SARA “portal agency.” Information about how to file such a complaint can be found on MHEC’s website.

Goucher College Accreditation

Goucher College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Commission has authorized Goucher to offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, and post baccalaureate and professional graduate certificates. Click here for information about filing a complaint with MSCHE.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education
3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (267) 284-5000

For complaint resolution contacts by state for those states that are not members of SARA, you can find information here about filing consumer complaints in those states.

If you need additional assistance in locating state complaint procedures, please contact Barbara Stob, General Counsel at 410-337-6011 or

SREB Electronic Campus

Goucher College is a participating institution of the Southern Regional Education Board's (SREB) Electronic Campus.

Goucher has reviewed its eight online Master's Degree programs against SREB's Principles of Good Practice and the programs have been approved for inclusion in the Electronic Campus through Maryland's Higher Education Commission.