Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We???ve made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the Help button on the bottom right of each page!

e-CFR data is current as of August 10, 2020

Title 34Subtitle BChapter VIPart 602 → Subpart C


Title 34: Education
PART 602—THE SECRETARY'S RECOGNITION OF ACCREDITING AGENCIES


Subpart C—The Recognition Process


Contents

Application and Review by Department Staff

§602.30   [Reserved]
§602.31   Agency applications and reports to be submitted to the Department.
§602.32   Procedures for submitting an application for recognition, renewal of recognition, expansion of scope, compliance reports, and increases in enrollment.
§602.33   Procedures for review of agencies during the period of recognition, including the review of monitoring reports.

Review by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity

§   Advisory Committee meetings.
§602.35   Responding to the Advisory Committee's recommendation.

Review and Decision by the Senior Department Official

§602.36   Senior Department official's decision.

Appeal Rights and Procedures

§602.37   Appealing the senior Department official's decision to the Secretary.
§602.38   Contesting the Secretary's final decision to deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition.
§602.39   Severability.

Source: 74 FR 55430, Oct. 27, 2009, unless otherwise noted.

return arrow Back to Top

Application and Review by Department Staff

return arrow Back to Top

§602.30   [Reserved]

return arrow Back to Top

§602.31   Agency applications and reports to be submitted to the Department.

(a) Applications for recognition or renewal of recognition. An accrediting agency seeking initial or continued recognition must submit a written application to the Secretary. Each accrediting agency must submit an application for continued recognition at least once every five years, or within a shorter time period specified in the final recognition decision, and, for an agency seeking renewal of recognition, 24 months prior to the date on which the current recognition expires. The application, to be submitted concurrently with information required by §602.32(a) and, if applicable, §602.32(b), must consist of—

(1) A statement of the agency's requested scope of recognition;

(2) Documentation that the agency complies with the criteria for recognition listed in subpart B of this part, including a copy of its policies and procedures manual and its accreditation standards; and

(3) Documentation of how an agency that includes or seeks to include distance education or correspondence courses in its scope of recognition applies its standards in evaluating programs and institutions it accredits that offer distance education or correspondence courses.

(b) Applications for expansions of scope. An agency seeking an expansion of scope by application must submit a written application to the Secretary. The application must—

(1) Specify the scope requested;

(2) Provide copies of any relevant standards, policies, or procedures developed and applied by the agency for its use in accrediting activities conducted within the expansion of scope proposed and documentation of the application of these standards, policies, or procedures; and

(3) Provide the materials required by §602.32(j) and, if applicable, §602.32(l).

(c) Compliance or monitoring reports. If an agency is required to submit a compliance or monitoring report, it must do so within 30 days following the end of the period for achieving compliance as specified in the decision of the senior Department official or Secretary, as applicable.

(d) Review following an increase in headcount enrollment. If an agency that has notified the Secretary in writing of its change in scope to include distance education or correspondence courses in accordance with §602.27(a)(4) reports an increase in headcount enrollment in accordance with §602.19(e) for an institution it accredits, or if the Department notifies the agency of such an increase at one of the agency's accredited institutions, the agency must, within 45 days of reporting the increase or receiving notice of the increase from the Department, as applicable, submit a report explaining—

(1) How the agency evaluates the capacity of the institutions or programs it accredits to accommodate significant growth in enrollment and to maintain education quality;

(2) The specific circumstances regarding the growth at the institution or program that triggered the review and the results of any evaluation conducted by the agency; and

(3) Any other information that the agency deems appropriate to demonstrate the effective application of the criteria for recognition or that the Department may require.

(e) Consent to sharing of information. By submitting an application for recognition, the agency authorizes Department staff throughout the application process and during any period of recognition—

(1) To observe its site visits to one or more of the institutions or programs it accredits or preaccredits, on an announced or unannounced basis;

(2) To visit locations where agency activities such as training, review and evaluation panel meetings, and decision meetings take place, on an announced or unannounced basis;

(3) To obtain copies of all documents the staff deems necessary to complete its review of the agency; and

(4) To gain access to agency records, personnel, and facilities.

(f) Public availability of agency records obtained by the Department.

(1) The Secretary's processing and decision-making on requests for public disclosure of agency materials reviewed under this part are governed by the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552; the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. 1905; the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a; the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. Appdx. 1; and all other applicable laws. In recognition proceedings, agencies must, before submission to the Department—

(i) Redact the names and any other personally identifiable information about individual students and any other individuals who are not agents of the agency or of an institution or program the agency is reviewing;

(ii) Redact the personal addresses, personal telephone numbers, personal email addresses, Social Security numbers, and any other personally identifiable information regarding individuals who are acting as agents of the agency or of an institution or program under review;

(iii) Designate all business information within agency submissions that the agency believes would be exempt from disclosure under exemption 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4). A blanket designation of all information contained within a submission, or of a category of documents, as meeting this exemption will not be considered a good faith effort and will be disregarded; and

(iv) Ensure documents submitted are only those required for Department review or as requested by Department officials.

(2) The agency may, but is not required to, redact the identities of institutions or programs that it believes are not essential to the Department's review of the agency and may identify any other material the agency believes would be exempt from public disclosure under FOIA, the factual basis for the request, and any legal basis the agency has identified for withholding the document from public disclosure.

(3) The Secretary processes FOIA requests in accordance with 34 CFR part 5 and makes all documents provided to the Advisory Committee available to the public.

(4) Upon request by Department staff, the agency must disclose to Department staff any specific material the agency has redacted that Department staff believes is needed to conduct the staff review. Department staff will make any arrangements needed to ensure that the materials are not made public if prohibited by law.

(g) Length of submissions. The Secretary may publish reasonable, uniform limits on the length of submissions described in this section.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[84 FR 58926, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

§602.32   Procedures for submitting an application for recognition, renewal of recognition, expansion of scope, compliance reports, and increases in enrollment.

(a) An agency preparing for renewing recognition will submit, 24 months prior to the date on which the current recognition expires, and in conjunction with the materials required by §602.31(a), a list of all institutions or programs that the agency plans to consider for an award of initial or renewed accreditation over the next year or, if none, over the succeeding year, as well as any institutions or programs currently subject to compliance report review or reporting requirements. An agency that does not anticipate a review of any institution or program for an initial award of accreditation or renewed accreditation in the 24 months prior to the date of recognition expiration may submit a list of institutions or programs it has reviewed for an initial award of accreditation or renewal of accreditation at any time since the prior award of recognition or leading up to the application for an initial award of recognition.

(b) An agency seeking initial recognition must follow the policies and procedures outlined in paragraph (a) of this section, but in addition must also submit—

(1) Letters of support for the agency from at least three accredited institutions or programs, three educators, and, if appropriate, three employers or practitioners, explaining the role for such an agency and the reasons for their support; and

(2) Letters from at least one program or institution that will rely on the agency as its link to a Federal program upon recognition of the agency or intends to seek multiple accreditation which will allow it in the future to designate the agency as its Federal link.

(c) Department staff publishes a notice of the agency's submission of an application in the Federal Register inviting the public to comment on the agency's compliance with the criteria for recognition and establishing a deadline for receipt of public comment.

(d) The Department staff analyzes the agency's application for initial or renewal of recognition, to determine whether the agency satisfies the criteria for recognition, taking into account all available relevant information concerning the compliance of the agency with those criteria and the agency's consistency in applying the criteria. The analysis of an application may include and, after January 1, 2021, will include—

(1)(i) Observations from site visits, on an announced or unannounced basis, to the agency or to a location where the agency conducts activities such as training, review and evaluation panel meetings, or decision meetings;

(ii) Observations from site visits, on an announced or unannounced basis, to one or more of the institutions or programs the agency accredits or preaccredits;

(iii) A file review at the agency of documents, at which time Department staff may retain copies of documents needed for inclusion in the administrative record;

(iv) Review of the public comments and other third-party information Department staff receives by the established deadline, the agency's responses to the third-party comments, as appropriate, and any other information Department staff obtains for purposes of evaluating the agency under this part; and

(v) Review of complaints or legal actions involving the agency; and

(2) Review of complaints or legal actions against an institution or program accredited or preaccredited by the agency, which may be considered but are not necessarily determinative of compliance.

(e) The Department may view as a negative factor when considering an application for initial, or expansion of scope of, recognition as proposed by an agency, among other factors, any evidence that the agency was part of a concerted effort to unnecessarily restrict the qualifications necessary for a student to sit for a licensure or certification examination or otherwise be eligible for entry into a profession.

(f) Department staff's evaluation of an agency may also include a review of information directly related to institutions or programs accredited or preaccredited by the agency relative to their compliance with the agency's standards, the effectiveness of the standards, and the agency's application of those standards, but must make all materials relied upon in the evaluation available to the agency for review and comment.

(g) If, at any point in its evaluation of an agency seeking initial recognition, Department staff determines that the agency fails to demonstrate compliance with the basic eligibility requirements in §§602.10 through 602.15, the staff—

(1) Returns the agency's application and provides the agency with an explanation of the deficiencies that caused staff to take that action; and

(2) Requires that the agency withdraw its application and instructs the agency that it may reapply when the agency is able to demonstrate compliance.

(h) Except with respect to an application that has been returned and is withdrawn under paragraph (g) of this section, when Department staff completes its evaluation of the agency, the staff may and, after July 1, 2021, will—

(1) Prepare a written draft analysis of the agency's application;

(2) Send to the agency the draft analysis including any identified areas of potential noncompliance and all third-party comments and complaints, if applicable, and any other materials the Department received by the established deadline or is including in its review;

(3) Invite the agency to provide a written response to the draft analysis and third-party comments or other material included in the review, specifying a deadline that provides at least 180 days for the agency's response;

(4) Review the response to the draft analysis the agency submits, if any, and prepares the written final analysis—

(i) Indicating that the agency is in full compliance, substantial compliance, or noncompliance with each of the criteria for recognition; and

(ii) Recommending that the senior Department official approve, renew with compliance reporting requirements due in 12 months, renew with compliance reporting requirements with a deadline in excess of 12 months based on a finding of good cause and extraordinary circumstances, approve with monitoring or other reporting requirements, or deny, limit, suspend, or terminate recognition; and

(5) Provide to the agency, no later than 30 days before the Advisory Committee meeting, the final staff analysis and any other available information provided to the Advisory Committee under §602.34(c).

(i) The agency may request that the Advisory Committee defer acting on an application at that Advisory Committee meeting if Department staff fails to provide the agency with the materials described, and within the timeframes provided, in paragraphs (g)(3) and (5) of this section. If the Department staff's failure to send the materials in accordance with the timeframe described in paragraph (g)(3) or (5) of this section is due to the failure of the agency to, by the deadline established by the Secretary, submit reports to the Department, other information the Secretary requested, or its response to the draft analysis, the agency forfeits its right to request a deferral of its application.

(j) An agency seeking an expansion of scope, either as part of the regular renewal of recognition process or during a period of recognition, must submit an application to the Secretary, separately or as part of the policies and procedures outlined in paragraph (a) of this section, that satisfies the requirements of §§602.12(b) and 602.31(b) and—

(1) States the reason for the expansion of scope request;

(2) Includes letters from at least three institutions or programs that would seek accreditation under one or more of the elements of the expansion of scope; and

(3) Explains how the agency must expand capacity to support the expansion of scope, if applicable, and, if necessary, how it will do so and how its budget will support that expansion of capacity.

(k) The Department may view as a negative factor when considering an application for initial or expansion of scope of recognition as proposed by an agency, among other factors, any evidence that the agency was part of a concerted effort to unnecessarily restrict the qualifications necessary for a student to sit for a licensure or certification examination or otherwise be eligible for entry into a profession.

(l) Department staff's evaluation of a compliance report includes review of public comments solicited by Department staff in the Federal Register received by the established deadline, the agency's responses to the third-party comments, as appropriate, other third-party information Department staff receives, and additional information described in paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, as appropriate.

(m) The Department will process an application for an expansion of scope, compliance report, or increase in enrollment report in accordance with paragraphs with paragraphs (c) through (h) of this section.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[84 FR 58927, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

§602.33   Procedures for review of agencies during the period of recognition, including the review of monitoring reports.

(a) Department staff may review the compliance of a recognized agency with the criteria for recognition at any time—

(1) Based on the submission of a monitoring report as directed by a decision by the senior Department official or Secretary; or

(2) Based on any information that, as determined by Department staff, appears credible and raises concerns relevant to the criteria for recognition.

(b) The review may include, but need not be limited to, any of the activities described in §602.32(d) and (f).

(c) If, in the course of the review, and after providing the agency the documentation concerning the inquiry and consulting with the agency, Department staff notes that one or more deficiencies may exist in the agency's compliance with the criteria for recognition or in the agency's effective application of those criteria, Department staff—

(1) Prepares a written draft analysis of the agency's compliance with the criteria of concern;

(2) Sends to the agency the draft analysis including any identified areas of noncompliance and all supporting documentation;

(3) Invites the agency to provide a written response to the draft analysis within 90 days; and

(4) Reviews any response provided by the agency, including any monitoring report submitted, and either—

(i) Concludes the review;

(ii) Continues monitoring of the agency's areas of deficiencies; or

(iii)(A) Notifies the agency, in the event that the agency's response or monitoring report does not satisfy the staff, that the draft analysis will be finalized for presentation to the Advisory Committee;

(B) Publishes a notice in the Federal Register with an invitation for the public to comment on the agency's compliance with the criteria in question and establishing a deadline for receipt of public comment;

(C) Provides the agency with a copy of all public comments received and invites a written response from the agency;

(D) Finalizes the staff analysis as necessary to reflect its review of any agency response and any public comment received;

(E) Provides to the agency, no later than 30 days before the Advisory Committee meeting, the final staff analysis and a recognition recommendation and any other information provided to the Advisory Committee under §602.34(c); and

(F) Submits the matter for review by the Advisory Committee in accordance with §602.34.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[84 FR 58928, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

Review by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity

return arrow Back to Top

§   Advisory Committee meetings.

(a) Department staff submits a proposed schedule to the Chairperson of the Advisory Committee based on anticipated completion of staff analyses.

(b) The Chairperson of the Advisory Committee establishes an agenda for the next meeting and, in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, presents it to the Designated Federal Official for approval.

(c) Before the Advisory Committee meeting, Department staff provides the Advisory Committee with—

(1) The agency's application for recognition, renewal of recognition, or expansion of scope when Advisory Committee review is required, or the agency's compliance report and supporting documentation submitted by the agency;

(2) The final Department staff analysis of the agency developed in accordance with §602.32 or §602.33, and any supporting documentation;

(3) The agency's response to the draft analysis;

(4) Any written third-party comments the Department received about the agency on or before the established deadline;

(5) Any agency response to third-party comments; and

(6) Any other information Department staff relied upon in developing its analysis.

(d) At least 30 days before the Advisory Committee meeting, the Department publishes a notice of the meeting in the Federal Register inviting interested parties to make oral presentations before the Advisory Committee.

(e) The Advisory Committee considers the materials provided under paragraph (c) of this section in a public meeting and invites Department staff, the agency, and other interested parties to make oral presentations during the meeting. A transcript is made of all Advisory Committee meetings.

(f) The written motion adopted by the Advisory Committee regarding each agency's recognition will be made available during the Advisory Committee meeting. The Department will provide each agency, upon request, with a copy of the motion on recognition at the meeting. Each agency that was reviewed will be sent an electronic copy of the motion relative to that agency as soon as practicable after the meeting.

(g) After each meeting of the Advisory Committee, the Advisory Committee forwards to the senior Department official its recommendation with respect to each agency, which may include, but is not limited to—

(1)(i) For an agency that is fully compliant, approve initial or renewed recognition;

(ii) Continue recognition with a required compliance report to be submitted to the Department within 12 months from the decision of the senior Department official;

(iii) In conjunction with a finding of exceptional circumstances and good cause, continue recognition for a specified period in excess of 12 months pending submission of a compliance report;

(iv) In the case of substantial compliance, grant initial recognition or renewed recognition and recommend a monitoring report with a set deadline to be reviewed by Department staff to ensure that corrective action is taken, and full compliance is achieved or maintained (or for action by staff under §602.33 if it is not); or

(v) Deny, limit, suspend, or terminate recognition;

(2) Grant or deny a request for expansion of scope; or

(3) Revise or affirm the scope of the agency.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[84 FR 58929, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

§602.35   Responding to the Advisory Committee's recommendation.

(a) Within ten business days following the Advisory Committee meeting, the agency and Department staff may submit written comments to the senior Department official on the Advisory Committee's recommendation. The agency must simultaneously submit a copy of its written comments, if any, to Department staff. Department staff must simultaneously submit a copy of its written comments, if any, to the agency.

(b) Comments must be limited to—

(1) Any Advisory Committee recommendation that the agency or Department staff believes is not supported by the record;

(2) Any incomplete Advisory Committee recommendation based on the agency's application; and

(3) The inclusion of any recommendation or draft proposed decision for the senior Department official's consideration.

(c)(1) Neither the Department staff nor the agency may submit additional documentationwith its comments unless the Advisory Committee's recognition recommendation proposes finding the agency noncompliant with, or ineffective in its application of, a criterion or criteria for recognition not identified in the final Department staff analysis provided to the Advisory Committee.

(2) Within ten business days of receipt by the Department staff of an agency's comments or new evidence, if applicable, or of receipt by the agency of the Department staff's comments, Department staff, the agency, or both, as applicable, may submit a response to the senior Department official. Simultaneously with submission, the agency must provide a copy of any response to the Department staff. Simultaneously with submission, Department staff must provide a copy of any response to the agency. No additional comments or new documentation may be submitted after the responses described in this paragraph are submitted.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[74 FR 55430, Oct. 27, 2009, as amended at 84 FR 58929, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

Review and Decision by the Senior Department Official

return arrow Back to Top

§602.36   Senior Department official's decision.

(a) The senior Department official makes a decision regarding recognition of an agency based on the record compiled under §§602.32, 602.33, 602.34, and 602.35 including, as applicable, the following:

(1) The materials provided to the Advisory Committee under §602.34(c).

(2) The transcript of the Advisory Committee meeting.

(3) The recommendation of the Advisory Committee.

(4) Written comments and responses submitted under §602.35.

(5) New documentation submitted in accordance with §602.35(c)(1).

(6) A communication from the Secretary referring an issue to the senior Department official's consideration under §602.37(e).

(b) In the event that statutory authority or appropriations for the Advisory Committee ends, or there are fewer duly appointed Advisory Committee members than needed to constitute a quorum, and under extraordinary circumstances when there are serious concerns about an agency's compliance with subpart B of this part that require prompt attention, the senior Department official may make a decision on an application for renewal of recognition or compliance report on the record compiled under §602.32 or §602.33 after providing the agency with an opportunity to respond to the final staff analysis. Any decision made by the senior Department official under this paragraph from the Advisory Committee may be appealed to the Secretary as provided in §602.37.

(c) Following consideration of an agency's recognition under this section, the senior Department official issues a recognition decision.

(d) Except with respect to decisions made under paragraph (f) or (g) of this section and matters referred to the senior Department official under §602.37(e) or (f), the senior Department official notifies the agency in writing of the senior Department official's decision regarding the agency's recognition within 90 days of the Advisory Committee meeting or conclusion of the review under paragraph (b) of this section.

(e) The senior Department official's decision may include, but is not limited to, approving for recognition; approving with a monitoring report; denying, limiting, suspending, or terminating recognition following the procedures in paragraph (g) of this section; granting or denying an application for an expansion of scope; revising or affirming the scope of the agency; or continuing recognition pending submission and review of a compliance report under §§602.32 and 602.34 and review of the report by the senior Department official under this section.

(1)(i) The senior Department official approves recognition if the agency has demonstrated compliance or substantial compliance with the criteria for recognition listed in subpart B of this part. The senior Department official may determine that the agency has demonstrated compliance or substantial compliance with the criteria for recognition if the agency has a compliant policy or procedure in place but has not had the opportunity to apply such policy or procedure.

(ii) If the senior Department official approves recognition, the recognition decision defines the scope of recognition and the recognition period. The recognition period does not exceed five years, including any time during which recognition was continued to permit submission and review of a compliance report.

(iii) If the scope of recognition is less than that requested by the agency, the senior Department official explains the reasons for continuing or approving a lesser scope.

(2)(i) Except as provided in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, if the agency fails to comply with the criteria for recognition listed in subpart B of this part, the senior Department official denies, limits, suspends, or terminates recognition.

(ii) If the senior Department official denies, limits, suspends, or terminates recognition, the senior Department official specifies the reasons for this decision, including all criteria the agency fails to meet and all criteria the agency has failed to apply effectively.

(3)(i) If the senior Department official concludes an agency is noncompliant, the senior Department official may continue the agency's recognition, pending submission of a compliance report that will be subject to review in the recognition process, provided that—

(A) The senior Department official concludes that the agency will demonstrate compliance with, and effective application of, the criteria for recognition within 12 months from the date of the senior Department official's decision; or

(B) The senior Department official identifies a deadline more than 12 months from the date of the decision by which the senior Department official concludes the agency will demonstrate full compliance with, and effective application of, the criteria for recognition, and also identifies exceptional circumstances and good cause for allowing the agency more than 12 months to achieve compliance and effective application.

(ii) In the case of a compliance report ordered under paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section, the senior Department official specifies the criteria the compliance report must address, and the time period for achieving compliance and effective application of the criteria. The compliance report documenting compliance and effective application of criteria is due not later than 30 days after the end of the period specified in the senior Department official's decision.

(iii) If the record includes a compliance report required under paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section, and the senior Department official determines that an agency has not complied with the criteria for recognition, or has not effectively applied those criteria, during the time period specified by the senior Department official in accordance with paragraph (e)(3)(i) of this section, the senior Department official denies, limits, suspends, or terminates recognition, except, in extraordinary circumstances, upon a showing of good cause for an extension of time as determined by the senior Department official and detailed in the senior Department official's decision. If the senior Department official determines good cause for an extension has been shown, the senior Department official specifies the length of the extension and what the agency must do during it to merit a renewal of recognition.

(f) If the senior Department official determines that the agency is substantially compliant, or is fully compliant but has concerns about the agency maintaining compliance, the senior Department official may approve the agency's recognition or renewal of recognition and require periodic monitoring reports that are to be reviewed and approved by Department staff.

(g) If the senior Department official determines, based on the record, that a decision to deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition may be warranted based on a finding that the agency is noncompliant with one or more criteria for recognition, or if the agency does not hold institutions or programs accountable for complying with one or more of the agency's standards or criteria for accreditation that were not identified earlier in the proceedings as an area of noncompliance, the senior Department official provides—

(1) The agency with an opportunity to submit a written response addressing the finding; and

(2) The staff with an opportunity to present its analysis in writing.

(h) If relevant and material information pertaining to an agency's compliance with recognition criteria, but not contained in the record, comes to the senior Department official's attention while a decision regarding the agency's recognition is pending before the senior Department official, and if the senior Department official concludes the recognition decision should not be made without consideration of the information, the senior Department official either—

(1)(i) Does not make a decision regarding recognition of the agency; and

(ii) Refers the matter to Department staff for review and analysis under §602.32 or §602.33, as appropriate, and consideration by the Advisory Committee under §602.34; or

(2)(i) Provides the information to the agency and Department staff;

(ii) Permits the agency to respond to the senior Department official and the Department staff in writing, and to include additional documentation relevant to the issue, and specifies a deadline;

(iii) Provides Department staff with an opportunity to respond in writing to the agency's submission under paragraph (h)(2)(ii) of this section, specifying a deadline; and

(iv) Issues a recognition decision based on the record described in paragraph (a) of this section, as supplemented by the information provided under this paragraph (h).

(i) No agency may submit information to the senior Department official, or ask others to submit information on its behalf, for purposes of invoking paragraph (h) of this section. Before invoking paragraph (h) of this section, the senior Department official will take into account whether the information, if submitted by a third party, could have been submitted in accordance with §602.32(a) or §602.33(e)(2).

(j) If the senior Department official does not reach a final decision to approve, deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition before the expiration of its recognition period, the senior Department official automatically extends the recognition period until a final decision is reached.

(k) Unless appealed in accordance with §602.37, the senior Department official's decision is the final decision of the Secretary.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[84 FR 58929, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

Appeal Rights and Procedures

return arrow Back to Top

§602.37   Appealing the senior Department official's decision to the Secretary.

(a) The agency may appeal the senior Department official's decision to the Secretary. Such appeal stays the decision of the senior Department official until final disposition of the appeal. If an agency wishes to appeal, the agency must—

(1) Notify the Secretary and the senior Department official in writing of its intent to appeal the decision of the senior Department official, no later than 10 business days after receipt of the decision;

(2) Submit its appeal to the Secretary in writing no later than 30 days after receipt of the decision; and

(3) Provide the senior Department official with a copy of the appeal at the same time it submits the appeal to the Secretary.

(b) The senior Department official may file a written response to the appeal. To do so, the senior Department official must—

(1) Submit a response to the Secretary no later than 30 days after receipt of a copy of the appeal; and

(2) Provide the agency with a copy of the senior Department official's response at the same time it is submitted to the Secretary.

(c) Once the agency's appeal and the senior Department official's response, if any, have been provided, no additional written comments may be submitted by either party.

(d) Neither the agency nor the senior Department official may include in its submission any new documentation it did not submit previously in the proceeding.

(e) On appeal, the Secretary makes a recognition decision, as described in §602.36(e). If the decision requires a compliance report, the report is due within 30 days after the end of the period specified in the Secretary's decision. The Secretary renders a final decision after taking into account the senior Department official's decision, the agency's written submissions on appeal, the senior Department official's response to the appeal, if any, and the entire record before the senior Department official. The Secretary notifies the agency in writing of the Secretary's decision regarding the agency's recognition.

(f) The Secretary may determine, based on the record, that a decision to deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition may be warranted based on a finding that the agency is noncompliant with, or ineffective in its application with respect to, a criterion or criteria for recognition not identified as an area of noncompliance earlier in the proceedings. In that case, the Secretary, without further consideration of the appeal, refers the matter to the senior Department official for consideration of the issue under §602.36(g). After the senior Department official makes a decision, the agency may, if desired, appeal that decision to the Secretary.

(g) If relevant and material information pertaining to an agency's compliance with recognition criteria, but not contained in the record, comes to the Secretary's attention while a decision regarding the agency's recognition is pending before the Secretary, and if the Secretary concludes the recognition decision should not be made without consideration of the information, the Secretary either—

(1)(i) Does not make a decision regarding recognition of the agency; and

(ii) Refers the matter to Department staff for review and analysis under §602.32 or §602.33, as appropriate; review by the Advisory Committee under §602.34; and consideration by the senior Department official under §602.36; or

(2)(i) Provides the information to the agency and the senior Department official;

(ii) Permits the agency to respond to the Secretary and the senior Department official in writing, and to include additional documentation relevant to the issue, and specifies a deadline;

(iii) Provides the senior Department official with an opportunity to respond in writing to the agency's submission under paragraph (g)(2)(ii) of this section, specifying a deadline; and

(iv) Issues a recognition decision based on all the materials described in paragraphs (e) and (g) of this section.

(h) No agency may submit information to the Secretary, or ask others to submit information on its behalf, for purposes of invoking paragraph (g) of this section. Before invoking paragraph (g) of this section, the Secretary will take into account whether the information, if submitted by a third party, could have been submitted in accordance with §602.32(a) or §602.33(c).

(i) If the Secretary does not reach a final decision on appeal to approve, deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition before the expiration of its recognition period, the Secretary automatically extends the recognition period until a final decision is reached.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[84 FR 58931, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

§602.38   Contesting the Secretary's final decision to deny, limit, suspend, or terminate an agency's recognition.

An agency may contest the Secretary's decision under this part in the Federal courts as a final decision in accordance with applicable Federal law. Unless otherwise directed by the court, a decision of the Secretary to deny, limit, suspend, or terminate the agency's recognition is not stayed during an appeal in the Federal courts.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

return arrow Back to Top

§602.39   Severability.

If any provision of this subpart or its application to any person, act, or practice is held invalid, the remainder of the subpart or the application of its provisions to any person, act, or practice shall not be affected thereby.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1099b)

[84 FR, Nov. 1, 2019]

return arrow Back to Top

Need assistance?