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Special Monitoring

Institutional Designations

Institutional designations are used to indicate when an institution is in financial distress or under governmental investigation. They allow allow HLC to respond quickly to developing situations at member institutions and to communicate to students and the public in a timely manner about situations that may affect an institution’s operations. 

Institutional Designations Procedure

Sanctions

Institutions may be placed on a sanction when HLC determines the institution does not meet, or is at risk of not meeting, the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements, or Assumed Practices. The institution may be placed on Notice or Probation. Institutions on sanction maintain their accredited status.

Notice

An institution is placed on Notice when it is at risk of not meeting one or more of the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements or Assumed Practices. All Institutions on Notice are placed on the Standard Pathway.

Institutions are placed on Notice for no more than two years. In that time, the institution submits a notice report providing evidence it is no longer at risk for failing to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements or Assumed Practices. The institution may host a Notice Visit to prove that the areas of concern have been improved.

If the institution is no longer at risk of failing to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements or Assumed Practices it is removed from Notice. If the institution is still at risk, or if the institution is no longer meeting the Criteria for Accreditation, another action may be taken.

Probation

An institution is placed on Probation when it no longer meets one or more of the Criteria for Accreditation, Assumed Practices or Federal Compliance Requirements. Institutions on Probation are removed from their pathway.

The probation period lasts two years. Institutions on probation undergo a comprehensive evaluation, including an Assurance Filing, Federal Compliance Filing and on-site visit, to offer HLC evidence that the areas of concern have been ameliorated.

If the institution has addressed the areas of concern and meets all of the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements and Assumed Practices, it is removed from Probation and placed on the Standard Pathway. If the institution still does not meet all of the requirements, HLC may take another action, including issuing a Show Cause order or withdrawing accreditation.

Show-Cause

Institutions are issued a Show-Cause Order when they are not meeting the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements or Assumed Practices to such an extent that HLC asks the institution to demonstrate why its accreditation should not be withdrawn. Institutions issued a Show-Cause Order are removed from their pathway.

Institutions on Show-Cause have no more than one year to demonstrate that they should maintain their accreditation. Institutions submit a Show-Cause Report that documents that they meet all of the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements and Assumed Practices.

If HLC determines the institution meets the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements and Assumed Practices, it may remove the institution from Show-Cause. An institution removed from Show-Cause may be subject to a period of Notice if it is at risk of not meeting the Criteria for Accreditation. If the institution has not proven that it should maintain its accreditation, HLC may withdraw accreditation.

Adverse Actions

Adverse actions of the Board of Trustees include decisions that:

  1. Withdraw or deny accreditation, unless the Board denies an early application for accreditation and continues candidate for accreditation status or extends it to a fifth year.
  2. Withdraw or deny candidacy.
  3. Move the institution from accredited to candidate status.

Withdrawal or Denial of Accreditation

An institution's accreditation may be denied or withdrawn if it does not meet one or more of the Criteria for Accreditation, Federal Compliance requirements, Assumed Practices or Obligations of Affiliation. Accreditation may also be withdrawn from an institution if it no longer operates as an educational institution or if its legal authorization to operate and grant degrees is terminated

A candidate institution may be denied accreditation if it is unable to meet all of the Criteria for Accreditation, Assumed Practices, Eligibility Requirements or Obligations of Affiliation, during its candidacy period.

Withdrawal or Denial of Candidacy

An institution may be denied candidacy, or its candidacy may be withdrawn, if it fails to meet one or more of the Eligibility Requirements, the Assumed Practices or Federal Compliance requirements, or the institution has not provided sufficient evidence that the Criteria for Accreditation can be met within the candidacy period.

Accredited to Candidate Status

An institution undergoing a change of control, structure or organization may be moved from accredited to candidate status. An institution may be moved to candidate status if HLC determines that the institution meets the Eligibility Requirements and Assumed Practices, but no longer meets all of the Criteria for Accreditation and Federal Compliance requirements.

Appeals of Adverse Actions

Per HLC policy, institutions may have the opportunity to appeal an adverse action by the Board. The grounds for an appeal are:

  1. The Board’s decision was arbitrary, capricious, or not supported by substantial evidence in the record on which the Board took action.
  2. The procedures used to reach the decision were contrary to HLC bylaws, policies, and practices, and that procedural error prejudiced the Board’s consideration.

The appeal is limited to only the evidence that was provided to the Board at the time of its decision. More information about the Appeals Procedure is available.

Public Disclosure

Institutions are obligated to disclose any sanctions, Show-Cause orders and adverse actions to the public. Once the institution has been notified of one of the above actions, the institution’s Statement of Accreditation Status on HLC’s website is updated to reflect the sanction.  

Voluntary Withdrawal of Application for Affiliation

An institution may withdraw its application for affiliation at any time before a decision on affiliation is made by HLC. The institution’s governing body must initiate the voluntary withdrawal.

Resignation of Affiliation

Candidate and accredited institutions may voluntarily resign their affiliation with HLC at any time. The institution’s governing board must initiate the resignation with a formal letter sent by the president of the institution. Institutions resigning their accreditation are still required to meet all Obligations of Affiliation until the resignation becomes effective.

Reapplication

Per HLC policy, institutions that withdraw their application for affiliation, resign their status or have their status denied or withdrawn by HLC must begin with the Eligibility Process if they wish to regain accreditation. Institutions denied candidacy must wait one year before reapplying. Institutions denied initial accreditation and institutions that have had their accreditation or application for candidacy withdrawn by HLC must wait two years before reapplying.

 

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