Everyone loves a compliment, which is why the team behind Florida State University’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) degree program is proud to have been lauded with impressive accolades. Ranked first in the state of Florida’s online MSW degree programs by U.S. News and World Report and within the top 25 “Best Values in Public Colleges” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Florida State University’s online MSW program is now also honored to share its participation in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) program. This article highlights the importance of this credential and what it means for Florida State University students entering the online MSW program.
The NC-SARA Credential in a Nutshell
NC-SARA was developed in 2013 by a team assembled from the United States Department of Education, accrediting organizations, and various state regulatory divisions as a means to streamline distance education courses across state lines. The goal of its creation was to ensure that all online postsecondary institutions meet the academic expectations of every state in which their student body resides by unifying these programs through a set of national standards or regulations. Accordingly, NC-SARA helps to facilitate online learning at the undergraduate and graduate levels regardless of state boundaries and to release students from the limitations that could arise from enrolling in an online program in another state that might have a different set of academic requirements.
Various states become members of SARA by joining one of the four regional compacts – the Midwestern Higher Education Compact; the New England Board of Higher Education; the Southern Regional Education Board; and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education – and currently all states except for California have chosen to become members of one of these regional groups. Once a state is added, then various academic institutions can apply to participate in the program, just as Florida State University has successfully done.
NC-SARA Benefit #1: Enhanced Access
One of the best benefits of the NC-SARA initiative is that it increases access to online educational degree programs. Online postsecondary programs, like traditional colleges and universities, vary in the degrees and credentials that they offer, which means that some online learners might need to enroll in a degree program across the country to continue on their desired career path. NC-SARA offers reassurance to these students that the program in which they enroll meets a core set of educational standards regardless of how distant the home scholastic institution might be so students no longer need to fear that crossing state lines might decrease the efficacy or authenticity of their degree program.
NC-SARA Benefit #2: Reduced Cost
Thanks to the breakdown of academic borders that NC-SARA provides, schools can save substantial sums that would traditionally be poured into institutional expenses. This savings can be passed along to students in the form of consistent, cost-effective tuition rates and stable fees associated with enrollment. Postsecondary expenses are one of the greatest concerns for today’s online undergraduate and graduate students, so it can be reassuring to these enrollees to know that a program has taken steps to keep those costs to a minimum despite rising expenses witnessed in academic programs elsewhere.
NC-SARA Benefit #3: Improved Quality
Participating in NC-SARA also means online programs such as Florida State University’s online MSW degree can reduce the time and resources spent monitoring other state’s requirements, which means they can have more time to focus on their own program’s quality. This can translate into potentially more resources and support for students and faculty, more enrichment opportunities, and more time to dedicate to program assessment and improvement. These benefits can all be passed on to the students, meaning graduates can have the opportunity to emerge with even more insights into their desired professional field.
NC-SARA Participation Makes FSU Limitless
As an NC-SARA participant, Florida State University’s online MSW degree program is more versatile than ever. Designed with the exceptional flexibility that distance learning offers, this MSW program offers a completely online curriculum to complement the busy schedules of emerging experts. The addition of the NC-SARA designation only furthers that flexibility as it ensures Florida State University’s compliance with national standards alongside their desires to keep their courses of study cost-effective and exceptionally inspirational. With Florida State University’s online MSW program’s NC-SARA participation, there is no stopping its MSW graduates from pursuing their ultimate career goals.