State Authorization Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If a USF online program is not offered in the state where you are located, it is because USF does not have the required approval to offer that program, based on regulations in that state. As approvals and regulations are subject to change, it is a good idea to check with the program administrator or email inquires to

Prospective and current students should keep in mind that licensing and authorization requirements vary by state and that relocating during the course of a program to another state could impact whether they can continue in the program and/or meet the eligibility requirements of that state.

If you are considering relocating, please inform your program administrator and check the USF State Authorization and Professional Licensure Map (coming soon) and the USF Online Programs and State Authorization Status page for information on USF's state approvals and to see where USF is authorized to offer its online programs. 

As required, USF must seek state authorizations and approvals from professional licensure boards in states where it conducts any educational activities. This includes activities that, while part of an on-ground (or face-to-face) program in California, are to be conducted in a state outside of California.

If you are considering completing an internship/externship/practicum/clinical experience outside of California, please email  to check eligibility status, or if you have any questions.

It is highly recommended that you seek guidance from the appropriate licensing board in the state where you are located (or where you plan to practice) before beginning the academic program that leads to professional licensure or certification. In addition, you can view the Professional Licensure & Certification Disclosures Pages.

The U.S. Department of Education Federal Regulation on State Authorization 34 CFR 600.9 (c). ties an institution's compliance with State's regulations to its ability to receive Title IV funding. In order to offer financial aid to its students, USF seeks to remain in compliance with State's regulations.

Further, USF is committed to transparency, integrity and student success. Complying with this federal regulation aligns with the University’s mission to offer students the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. 

Regulations for distance education and educational activities vary in each state. Some states have strict requirements and others have no regulations at all. The University of San Francisco is working to evaluate and comply with each state’s regulations on an ongoing basis.

California is not a member of NC-SARA. For more information about NC-SARA, please visit

NC- SARA is an abbreviation for the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, commonly referred to as, "SARA." SARA is an agreement among states to provide uniform oversight of postsecondary distance education to participating institutions. California is not a member of SARA. This means California-based institutions such as USF must pursue state authorization outside of SARA, state-by-state. For more information about NC-SARA, please visit

Individual state regulations determine authorization requirements based on whether an institution has “physical presence” in the state. The definition of “physical presence” varies widely by state. To see which states where USF is authorized to offer its online programs, please refer to the USF State Authorization and Professional Licensure Map (coming soon) and the USF Online Programs and State Authorization Status page.

Common physical presence triggers are:

  • Local Address - the institution has a physical campus or location in the state.
  • Local Advertising - the institution puts an ad in a local newspaper, on a local radio program, or on a local television station.
  • Recruiting - an institution directly recruits students in the state, either continuously through recruiting agents or sporadically, such as at a college fair.
  • Faculty - the institution has faculty members in the state and enrolls students.
  • Externships - the institution permits a student to complete an on-ground component for course credit in a state. This term encompasses terms such as fieldwork, practicums, clinicals and internships. 

In accordance with WASC Senior College and University Commission guidelines, USF defines a program as "online" when greater than or equal to 50% of the class sessions are delivered online.

In Fall 2022, the Provost and the Council of Deans approved Definitions & Guidelines for Instructional Modalities  that were recommended by the Joint University Curriculum Committee (JUCC).

Do you have more questions?

Please email for questions regarding state authorization at the University of San Francisco.