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State Authorization

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement

Northwestern University is an institutional participant in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). SARA is a voluntary agreement among member states and U.S. territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of distance-education courses and programs. SARA membership includes all states (and the District of Columbia), except California. Learn more about SARA.

Process for Resolving Complaints

Online students residing in a SARA state should attempt to resolve grievances through Northwestern's institutional process for filing a complaint. If a student is not satisfied with the outcome of Northwestern's process, the complaint (except for those involving grades or student conduct violations) may be brought to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. For more information regarding the complaint process for students residing in SARA states, please visit the SARA website.

Students may also file a complaint with Northwestern University's accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) by following the HLC complaint procedure

Individual State Licensure

District of Columbia

Northwestern is approved by the DC Higher Education Licensure Commission to offer the Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Journalism and the School of Education and Social Policy Summer Field Studies Program in D.C.

Pursuant to DC Official Code §38-1306(c)(4), complaints may be filed with the Higher Education Licensure Commission (HELC, Commission) against postsecondary educational institutions operating in the District of Columbia. Students who submit a complaint will not be subject to unfair action and/or treatment by any school official as a result of the initiation of a complaint.