UW-River Falls approved to offer online degrees across state lines

October 6, 2016--The University of Wisconsin-River Falls has been approved to offer distance education courses and degrees across state lines under Wisconsin's participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The UW-River Falls application to participate in SARA was approved by the Wisconsin Distance Learning Authorization Board last month following the approval of Wisconsin's application to the National Council of SARA (NC-SARA).

"We are pleased that our application to participate in SARA was approved," said Faye Perkins, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at UW-River Falls. "As we grow the number of online academic courses and degrees, our ability to attract students from all over the country will be critical to our success."

SARA is a nationwide initiative of states to make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and institutions to participate in interstate distance education.

As an approved participant of SARA, UW-River Falls may actively share information about its online academic programs with prospective students in other states. UW-River Falls currently offers three degrees that are 100% online, according to Randy Zimmermann, director of  Outreach and Continuing Education (OCE) at UW-River Falls.

"Working collaboratively with the University of Wisconsin-Extension and other campus partners, we offer a bachelor of science in sustainable management and a bachelor of science and a master of science in health and wellness management," said Zimmermann. "An additional online degree, a bachelor of science in applied computer science, may begin in fall 2017."

As a participant in SARA, UW-River Falls is free to negotiate transfer agreements with out-of-state community and vocational colleges which only offer associate degrees but whose students want to continue their schooling. These articulation agreements ease the process of applying previously earned college credits toward a bachelor's degree. A transfer agreement with Elgin College in Elgin, Ill., for students interested in completing a bachelor's degree in sustainable management is currently under development, according to Angela Whitaker, OCE program manager.

"We were approached by a student from Elgin College and realized that their emphasis on sustainability fit well with our degree," said Whitaker. "Our agreement will streamline the process that their students will go through to transfer classes to complete their bachelor degree at UW-River Falls."

Additional information about SARA is available on the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements website at For more information on UWRF online degrees, visit or call OCE at 715-425-3256.


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