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Off-Campus Activities

New locations for institutions are established through HLC’s Substantive Change Process. Once approved and established, these locations are monitored through peer review visits and are subject to a decision-making process depending on the location type.

Definitions

Campus or Branch Campus (Same as the federal definition): The term branch campus is “a location of an institution that is geographically apart and independent of the main campus of the institution.” HLC considers a location of an institution to be independent of the main campus if the location:

  • Is permanent in nature;
  • Offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential;
  • Has its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization; and
  • Has its own budgetary and hiring authority.

A branch campus must have all four of these attributes.

Additional Location: A place, geographically separate from any main or branch campus, where instruction takes place and students can do one or more of the following:

  • Complete 50 percent or more of the courses leading to a degree program.
  • Complete 50 percent or more of the courses leading to a Title IV eligible certificate.
  • Complete a degree program that they began at another institution even if the degree completion program provides less than 50 percent of the courses leading to a degree program.

There is no base or threshold number of students or distance from the campus necessary for a facility to qualify as an additional location under this definition.

An additional location typically does not have a full range of administrative and student services staffed by the facilities personnel. Such services may be provided from the main campus or another campus.

A facility may provide access to instruction requiring students to be present at a physical location that receives interactive TV, video, or online teaching. It is considered an additional location when 50 percent or more of a distance delivery program is available through one or more of these modalities at that facility.

Note: The change must be reported the same to HLC and the U.S. Department of Education as either an additional location(s) or branch campus.

Types of Location Visits

Additional Location Confirmation Visit

HLC will conduct an on-site visit to each of the first three additional locations begun by an institution within six months of matriculation of students and the initiation of instruction at the additional location. The visit may be conducted by HLC peer reviewers and will confirmthe accuracy of the information provided to HLC concerning the quality and oversight of the education at the additional location when HLC originally approved it. Further monitoring of an institution’s additional locations through HLC’s established monitoring processes may be recommended. Such recommendations will be reviewed and acted upon by an HLC decision-making body.

Additional Location Confirmation Visit: Information for Institutions and Peer Reviewers

Campus Evaluation Visit

An on-site evaluation of campuses and branches must be conducted within six months of matriculation of students and initiation of instruction at the campus or branch. These visits are conducted after HLC has approved a new campus through the substantive change process, an initial review done typically by a Change Panel. If an institution is expanding into a previously approved campus from an active additional location with enrolled students and multiple degree programs, a campus evaluation visit may be conducted both to approve the campus and to assure its quality and its capacity to sustain that quality.

Campus Evaluation Visit: Information for Institutions and Peer Reviewers

Multi-location Visits

If an institution has three or more off-campus additional locations, HLC will conduct on-site visits of a representative sample of the additional locations in Years 3 and 8 for institutions in the Open or Standard Pathways and in Years 3 and 7 for institutions in the AQIP Pathway. The visit is made by HLC peer reviewers and will be to confirm the continuing effective oversight by the institution of its additional locations. Further monitoring of an institution’s additional locations through HLC’s established monitoring processes may be recommended.

Multi-location Visits: Information for Institutions and Peer Reviewers

Multi-location Visit Institutional Report Template

Multi-campus Visit

A multi-campus visit is included as part of the comprehensive evaluation for institutions with multiple branch campuses. Peer reviewers will visit a sampling of the institution’s branch campuses and inform the team conducting the comprehensive evaluation as to the quality of the branch campuses.

Reclassifying a Branch Campus as an Additional Location

If an institution decreases its operation at an approved branch campus to the point where it would be considered an additional location, the institution should contact HLC to change its location classification. To do so, the institution should submit a letter explaining why the location no longer meets the branch campus definition and confirming that it has all the elements of the additional location definition. The letter should also include the exact name and street address of the branch campus in question.

Submit this information as a single PDF file to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Please note: Once a branch campus has been reclassified as an additional location, the action cannot be reversed. In the event that the institution wishes to reclassify that location to a branch campus, it will have to reapply for the branch campus designation and host a campus evaluation visit upon approval.

 

Questions?

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