For Immediate Release: Monday, Nov. 17, 2014

Sen. Pearce's Legislation Leads to Missouri Joining
Interstate Effort to Expand Access to Online Education

JEFFERSON CITY—State Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, today announced Missouri is the latest state to join the Midwestern State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (M-SARA), an initiative spearheaded by the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC) to streamline online college courses and expand educational opportunities for students through interstate collaboration.  The decision was made at MHEC’s annual meeting in Milwaukee this year. Senator Pearce serves as one of five commissioners representing Missouri in the Compact.

During the 2014 legislative session, Sen. Pearce sponsored Senate Bill 699, legislation to allow the Coordinating Board of Higher Education to enter into agreements for interstate reciprocity regarding the delivery of post-secondary distance education. The bill was ultimately passed as a provision in another measure, paving the way for Missouri’s inclusion in the M-SARA.

“Missouri’s participation in SARA heralds a new era for higher education in Missouri,” said Sen. Pearce. “The Internet completely changed the landscape of post-secondary education. Online courses are more popular than ever, a trend that’s going to continue. As we move in that direction, it’s important we work with our own institutions and those in other states to ensure students receive quality instruction, regardless of whether it’s in the classroom or online, and that these educational opportunities are available to more people. SARA will allow us to do both those things. It’s an innovative step forward for our state.”

SARA is a nationwide effort to make distance education courses more accessible to students across state lines and make it easier for states to regulate and higher education institutions to participate in interstate distance education. The initiative is funded through educational grants and fees paid by participating institutions.

“This is such an exciting time at the Compact, with more states becoming a part of SARA,” said Mr. Larry Isaak, MHEC president. “We expect to receive more state applications by years end and the total number of states nationally to join the agreement is likely to be 20 by that time.”

MHEC is a not-for-profit regional organization assisting Midwestern states in advancing higher education through interstate cooperation and resource sharing. Missouri is one of 12 states in its compact.

For more information on MHEC and its efforts to improve and expand access to higher education, visit

To learn more about Sen. Pearce’s work on behalf of Missouri students, visit his official Senate website at