20 U.S.C. § 1099b - Recognition of accrediting agency or association

Cite as:20 U.S.C. § 1099b
Currency:Current through P.L. 116-65 (10/09/2019)
 
FREE EXCERPT

(a) Criteria required

No accrediting agency or association may be determined by the Secretary to be a reliable authority as to the quality of education or training offered for the purposes of this chapter or for other Federal purposes, unless the agency or association meets criteria established by the Secretary pursuant to this section. The Secretary shall, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, establish criteria for such determinations. Such criteria shall include an appropriate measure or measures of student achievement. Such criteria shall require that-

(1) the accrediting agency or association shall be a State, regional, or national agency or association and shall demonstrate the ability and the experience to operate as an accrediting agency or association within the State, region, or nationally, as appropriate;

(2) such agency or association-

(A)

(i) for the purpose of participation in programs under this chapter, has a voluntary membership of institutions of higher education and has as a principal purpose the accrediting of institutions of higher education; or

(ii) for the purpose of participation in other programs administered by the Department of Education or other Federal agencies, has a voluntary membership and has as its principal purpose the accrediting of institutions of higher education or programs;

(B) is a State agency approved by the Secretary for the purpose described in subparagraph (A); or

(C) is an agency or association that, for the purpose of determining eligibility for student assistance under this subchapter, conducts accreditation through (i) a voluntary membership organization of individuals participating in a profession, or (ii) an agency or association which has as its principal purpose the accreditation of programs within institutions, which institutions are accredited by another agency or association recognized by the Secretary;

(3) if such agency or association is an agency or association described in-

(A) subparagraph (A)(i) of paragraph (2), then such agency or association is separate and independent, both administratively and financially of any related, associated, or affiliated trade association or membership organization;

(B) subparagraph (B) of paragraph (2), then such agency or association has been recognized by the Secretary on or before October 1, 1991; or

(C) subparagraph (C) of paragraph (2) and such agency or association has been recognized by the Secretary on or before October 1, 1991, then the Secretary may waive the requirement that such agency or association is separate and independent, both administratively and financially of any related, associated, or affiliated trade association or membership organization upon a demonstration that the existing relationship has not served to compromise the independence of its accreditation process;

(4)

(A) such agency or association consistently applies and enforces standards that respect the stated mission of the institution of higher education, including religious missions, and that ensure that the courses or programs of instruction, training, or study offered by the institution of higher education, including distance education or correspondence courses or programs, are of sufficient quality to achieve, for the duration of the accreditation period, the stated objective for which the courses or the programs are offered; and

(B) if such agency or association has or seeks to include within its scope of recognition the evaluation of the quality of institutions or programs offering distance education or correspondence education, such agency or association shall, in addition to meeting the other requirements of this subpart, demonstrate to the Secretary that-

(i) the agency or association's standards effectively address the quality of an institution's distance education or correspondence education in the areas identified in paragraph (5), except that-

(I) the agency or association shall not be required to have separate standards, procedures, or policies for the evaluation of distance education or correspondence education institutions or programs in order to meet the requirements of this subparagraph; and

(II) in the case that the agency or association is recognized by the Secretary, the agency or association shall not be required to obtain the approval of the Secretary to expand its scope of accreditation to include distance education or correspondence education, provided that the agency or association notifies the Secretary in writing of the change in scope; and

(ii) the agency or association requires an institution that offers distance education or correspondence education to have processes through which the institution establishes that the student who registers in a distance education or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the program and receives the academic credit;

(5) the standards for accreditation of the agency or association assess the institution's-

(A) success with respect to student achievement in relation to the institution's mission, which may include different standards for different institutions or programs, as established by the institution, including, as appropriate, consideration of State licensing examinations, consideration of course completion, and job placement rates;

(B) curricula;

(C) faculty;

(D) facilities, equipment, and supplies;

(E) fiscal and administrative capacity as appropriate to the specified scale of operations;

(F) student support services;

(G) recruiting and admissions practices, academic calendars, catalogs, publications, grading and advertising;

(H) measures of program length and the objectives of the degrees or credentials offered;

(I) record of student complaints received by, or available to, the agency or association; and

(J) record of compliance with its program responsibilities under this subchapter based on the most recent student loan default rate data provided by the Secretary, the results of financial or compliance audits, program reviews, and such other information as the Secretary may provide to the agency or association;

except that subparagraphs (A), (H), and (J) shall not apply to agencies or associations described in paragraph (2)(A)(ii) of this subsection;

(6) such an agency or association shall establish and apply review procedures throughout the accrediting process, including evaluation and withdrawal proceedings, which comply with due process procedures that provide-

(A) for adequate written specification of-

(i) requirements, including clear standards for an institution of higher education or program to be accredited; and

(ii) identified deficiencies at the institution or program examined;

(B) for sufficient opportunity for a written response, by an institution or program, regarding any deficiencies identified by the agency or association to be considered by the agency or association-

(i) within a timeframe determined by the agency or association; and

(ii) prior to final action in the evaluation and withdrawal proceedings;

(C) upon the written request of an institution or program, for an opportunity for the institution or program to appeal any adverse action under this section, including denial, withdrawal, suspension, or termination of accreditation, taken against the institution or program, prior to such action becoming final at a hearing before an appeals panel that-

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP