The Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC) has adopted regulations that will require a surety bond for some colleges. Colleges that want to participate in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) will need a surety bond to do so.
What is SARA?
SARA is a program aimed at making it easier for college students to participate in distance education programs (usually online) that are offered by colleges in different states. SARA is a national program conducted through four regional commissions that administer the program. Their federal Wyoming’s regional commission is called the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). According to their website, SARA “centralize[s] the [degree] authorization process for each institution in a single state called the institution’s ‘home state.'” As a result, colleges only need to become authorized to issue degrees in their home state and can then offer distance education to any other SARA member state.
How do states and institutions join SARA?
States that wish to join SARA must submit an application. Institutions must apply separately; their home state’s membership in SARA does not automatically register colleges in the program. Application forms are available here. Institutions must be accredited and based in a SARA-member state.
Who needs a surety bond?
The WCCC’s regulations for SARA institutions can be found in Commission Rules Chapter 5. The Rules stipulate that colleges must have a plan in place in case of closure, which can include the purchase of surety bond, tuition assurance funds, or other protective practices. The WCCC requires colleges to obtain a surety bond or other plan to protect students. If the institution closes unexpectedly, the bond is in place to reimburse students for any unreceived services. Colleges should contact the WCCC to verify their correct bond amount, which will vary depending on enrollment and cost of tuition. The provisions are similar to those adopted in Oregon after several for-profit institutions closed unexpectedly.
Contact the WCCC to learn more about their new regulations, or SARA with questions about registering in the program. Then, contact the experts at SuretyBonds.com with your questions about getting bonded in Wyoming.