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State Authorization

Notice for applicants from outside the State of North Carolina

Admission of applicants residing outside the state of North Carolina to an online degree or certificate program or individual online course offered by Western Carolina University is dependent upon WCU’s ability to secure authorization from the applicant’s state of residence, if such authorization is required. If you have any questions, please contact WCU Distance & Online Programs at 828.227.7397 or toll-free at 866.928.4723.


Western Carolina University has been approved  to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. 

Students from SARA member states may take online courses and programs from WCU. Students (on-campus or online) may conduct internships, clinicals and other field experiences in SARA states.

SARA states are indicated in blue on the map.



State Authorization by State, Complaint Contact Information and State Licensing Board

Authorization in Non SARA States/Territories:

California and CNMI (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  WCU’s online programs are authorized or exempt from authorization in these states. Internships and field experiences are permitted in these states/territories.

Special note concerning internships and field experiences in regulated professions in all states: Some state licensing boards may require specific licensure or approvals to conduct a clinical or field experience. It is up to the student or the student’s program to make this determination.

Professional Licensure Disclosure Statement

Programs at WCU that prepare students for professional licensure are designed to prepare a student to sit for applicable licensure in North Carolina. In order to comply with U.S. Department of Education regulations regarding distance education and professional licensure WCU is required to make the following disclosure with respect to professional licensure outside the state of North Carolina. Students should review the specific academic requirements for the program in which they are enrolling, including pre-qualifications for licensure. It is highly recommended that students communicate with the academic degree program or Program Director to best understand the professional licensure/certification questions and enrollment options prior to enrolling in the program. You can find contacts for each program on the Program Contacts list. You can get additional information by going to the University Licensure page.  You can also use the Licensure Dashboard to look up your specific program. Please note that the only distance programs that lead to licensure are the BS in Birth to Kindergarten,  MAT in Special Education,  MAT programs in STEM and TESOL, and the Masters in School Administration.

Student Complaints and Concerns

If you are participating in a Western Carolina University online program or course, and you have a complaint or concern about your experiences with WCU other than your final grade, you are encouraged to first contact the Program Director for the program or course. If your concerns are still unresolved, we encourage you to visit our Online Student Complaint Procedures page.

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