Board of Higher Education holds meeting at Westfield State

WESTFIELD – The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education held a meeting in the Scanlon Hall banquet room at Westfield State University on Tuesday morning. It marked the first time in seven years that the board held a meeting at the Westfield State campus.

Highlighting the meeting, the board authorized the Commissioner of Higher Education, Carlos Santiago, to submit an application in order to be a part of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The agreement is focused on states across the nation, regulating the amount of online learning services that are offered by colleges and universities.

The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education held a meeting in the Scanlon Hall Banquet room on the Westfield State University campus on Tuesday morning. (Photo courtesy of Greg Fitzpatrick)

Board members were pleased with the unanimous decision made at the meeting. In a press release sent out by the Mass Department of Higher Education, Santiago expressed his pleasure.

“Massachusetts has a strong history when it comes to regulations and standards that benefit consumers, in this case, students, and we were willing to take our time in deliberating whether to join SARA rather than rush into an agreement that might shortchange them,” said Santiago. “Today’s vote paves the way for a series of important next steps, including the drafting of regulations and solicitation of public comment as we prepare to submit our application to join SARA in 2018.”

State Education Secretary James Peyser also made a statement about SARA.

“If Massachusetts’ application for SARA membership is approved, students in the Commonwealth will see a multitude of options in online education open up for them, and our state’s colleges and universities will find it less cumbersome and costly to offer online courses to students in other states,” said Peyser.

Throughout the meeting, the Board of Higher Education also heard reports from Presidents of state colleges and universities in Massachusetts, and from the Student Advisory Council.

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