Distance Education Authorization

Bowdoin College is authorized to provide distance education for students located outside of the state of Maine, pursuant to the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), an agreement between all states (except California), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to abide by national standards for postsecondary distance education. Bowdoin has been a member of NC-SARA since 2020.

Complaints for Distance Education Students Residing in SARA Member States and Territories

SARA consumer protection standards require colleges to investigate and resolve allegations of dishonest or fraudulent activity by the distance education provider, including the provision of false or misleading information. Examples of types of student complaints that fit within the SARA domain include, but are not limited to, complaints regarding accuracy of job placement data, tuition or financial aid information, accreditation, or course transfer information. Appeals related to grades or student conduct are not within SARA’s purview.

If students have filed a complaint through the Bowdoin College mechanism and are not satisfied with the resolution, they may file a complaint through the State of Maine SARA process. The SARA complaint process follows the steps below:

  1. Student must exhaust the formal complaint process at Bowdoin College.
  2. Student submits a complaint form to the Maine SARA State Portal Entity within the Maine Department of Education, including documentation of their engagement with the institutional complaint process.
  3. The Maine Department of Education reviews the complaint and may request more information.
  4. The Maine Department of Education decides if the institutional resolution is acceptable or if further investigation is warranted before another resolution is reached.
  5. The student receives a final disposition letter from the Maine Department of Education.