A number of higher education institutions in HLC’s region award credit to students for academic work completed abroad in programs not operated by their home institutions. Students may take courses at overseas institutions not accredited by U.S. accreditors – though they may be accredited locally – or may participate in programs offered by independent providers that are not accredited. Students then often need to transfer that coursework to their home institutions in the United States to earn credit toward their major or degree. Such transfer is often facilitated by what is termed a “School of Record.”
A School of Record is an institution accredited in the United States that documents and awards credits for courses or programs taken by students at non-U.S. accredited institutions or through independent program providers who collaborate with U.S.-accredited institutions to transcript coursework taken abroad. The accredited institution which transcripts such coursework acts as a School of Record. As an example, if the University of ABC, a U.S.-accredited institution, transcripts and awards credits to students for courses or programs taken abroad via the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, a non-accredited program provider, the University of ABC acts as a School of Record.
(Most students who study abroad participate in programs operated by their home institutions, with credit allotted and transcripted by those institutions. HLC does not see such programs as applicable to the guidelines on School of Record.)
It is incumbent upon the School of Record to verify the academic integrity of these courses or programs to validate their quality before awarding credit. The guidelines are based upon HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices. They are intended to ensure academic integrity and transparency at institutions that act as Schools of Record in the transcription of coursework taken abroad by students.
They are also intended to ensure that institutions that act as Schools of Record have appropriately trained personnel for evaluating such courses or programs, do so in conformity with high academic standards, and have established processes for evaluation that are applied in a consistent fashion.