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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 15, 2019

Title 34Subtitle BChapter VIPart 602Subpart B → Subject Group


Title 34: Education
PART 602—THE SECRETARY'S RECOGNITION OF ACCREDITING AGENCIES
Subpart B—The Criteria for Recognition


Organizational and Administrative Requirements

§602.14   Purpose and organization.

Link to an amendment published at 84 FR 58918, Nov. 1, 2019.

(a) The Secretary recognizes only the following four categories of agencies:

The Secretary recognizes  .  .  .that  .  .  .
(1) An accrediting agency(i) Has a voluntary membership of institutions of higher education;
   (ii) Has as a principal purpose the accrediting of institutions of higher education and that accreditation is a required element in enabling those institutions to participate in HEA programs; and
   (iii) Satisfies the “separate and independent” requirements in paragraph (b) of this section.
(2) An accrediting agency(i) Has a voluntary membership; and
   (ii) Has as its principal purpose the accrediting of higher education programs, or higher education programs and institutions of higher education, and that accreditation is a required element in enabling those entities to participate in non-HEA Federal programs.
(3) An accrediting agencyfor purposes of determining eligibility for Title IV, HEA programs—
   (i) Either has a voluntary membership of individuals participating in a profession or has as its principal purpose the accrediting of programs within institutions that are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency; and
   (ii) Either satisfies the “separate and independent” requirements in paragraph (b) of this section or obtains a waiver of those requirements under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section.
(4) A State agency(i) Has as a principal purpose the accrediting of institutions of higher education, higher education programs, or both; and
   (ii) The Secretary listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency on or before October 1, 1991 and has recognized continuously since that date.

(b) For purposes of this section, the term separate and independent means that—

(1) The members of the agency's decision-making body—who decide the accreditation or preaccreditation status of institutions or programs, establish the agency's accreditation policies, or both—are not elected or selected by the board or chief executive officer of any related, associated, or affiliated trade association or membership organization;

(2) At least one member of the agency's decision-making body is a representative of the public, and at least one-seventh of that body consists of representatives of the public;

(3) The agency has established and implemented guide lines for each member of the decision-making body to avoid conflicts of interest in making decisions;

(4) The agency's dues are paid separately from any dues paid to any related, associated, or affiliated trade association or membership organization; and

(5) The agency develops and determines its own budget, with no review by or consultation with any other entity or organization.

(c) The Secretary considers that any joint use of personnel, services, equipment, or facilities by an agency and a related, associated, or affiliated trade association or membership organization does not violate the “separate and independent” requirements in paragraph (b) of this section if—

(1) The agency pays the fair market value for its proportionate share of the joint use; and

(2) The joint use does not compromise the independence and confidentiality of the accreditation process.

(d) For purposes of paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the Secretary may waive the “separate and independent” requirements in paragraph (b) of this section if the agency demonstrates that—

(1) The Secretary listed the agency as a nationally recognized agency on or before October 1, 1991 and has recognized it continuously since that date;

(2) The related, associated, or affiliated trade association or membership organization plays no role in making or ratifying either the accrediting or policy decisions of the agency;

(3) The agency has sufficient budgetary and administrative autonomy to carry out its accrediting functions independently; and

(4) The agency provides to the related, associated, or affiliated trade association or membership organization only information it makes available to the public.

(e) An agency seeking a waiver of the “separate and independent” requirements under paragraph (d) of this section must apply for the waiver each time the agency seeks recognition or continued recognition.

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

§602.15   Administrative and fiscal responsibilities.

Link to an amendment published at 84 FR 58919, Nov. 1, 2019.

The agency must have the administrative and fiscal capability to carry out its accreditation activities in light of its requested scope of recognition. The agency meets this requirement if the agency demonstrates that—

(a) The agency has—

(1) Adequate administrative staff and financial resources to carry out its accrediting responsibilities;

(2) Competent and knowledgeable individuals, qualified by education and experience in their own right and trained by the agency on their responsibilities, as appropriate for their roles, regarding the agency's standards, policies, and procedures, to conduct its on-site evaluations, apply or establish its policies, and make its accrediting and preaccrediting decisions, including, if applicable to the agency's scope, their responsibilities regarding distance education and correspondence education;

(3) Academic and administrative personnel on its evaluation, policy, and decision-making bodies, if the agency accredits institutions;

(4) Educators and practitioners on its evaluation, policy, and decision-making bodies, if the agency accredits programs or single-purpose institutions that prepare students for a specific profession;

(5) Representatives of the public on all decision-making bodies; and

(6) Clear and effective controls against conflicts of interest, or the appearance of conflicts of interest, by the agency's—

(i) Board members;

(ii) Commissioners;

(iii) Evaluation team members;

(iv) Consultants;

(v) Administrative staff; and

(vi) Other agency representatives; and

(b) The agency maintains complete and accurate records of—

(1) Its last full accreditation or preaccreditation review of each institution or program, including on-site evaluation team reports, the institution's or program's responses to on-site reports, periodic review reports, any reports of special reviews conducted by the agency between regular reviews, and a copy of the institution's or program's most recent self-study; and

(2) All decisions made throughout an institution's or program's affiliation with the agency regarding the accreditation and preaccreditation of any institution or program and substantive changes, including all correspondence that is significantly related to those decisions.

(Approved by the Office of Management and Budget under control number 1845-0003)

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

[64 FR 56617, Oct. 20, 1999, as amended at 74 FR 55426, Oct. 27, 2009]

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