34 CFR § 602.14 - Purpose and organization.

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§ 602.14 Purpose and organization.

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

(1) A State agency that -

(i) Has as a principal purpose the accrediting of institutions of higher education, higher education programs, or both; and

(ii) Has been listed by the Secretary as a nationally recognized accrediting agency on or before October 1, 1991.

(2) An accrediting agency that -

(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 used to provide a link to Federal HEA programs in accordance with § 602.10; and

(iii) Satisfies the “separate and independent” requirements in paragraph (b) of this section.

(3) An accrediting agency that -

(i) Has a voluntary membership; and

(ii) Has as its principal purpose the accrediting of institutions of higher education or programs, and the accreditation it offers is used to provide a link to non-HEA Federal programs in accordance with § 602.10.

(4) An accrediting agency that, for purposes of determining eligibility for title IV, HEA programs -

(i)

(A) Has a voluntary membership of individuals participating in a profession; or

(B) Has as its principal purpose the accrediting of programs within institutions that are accredited by another nationally recognized accrediting agency; and

(ii) Satisfies the “separate and independent” requirements in paragraph (b) of this section or obtains a waiver of those requirements under paragraph (d) of this section.

(b) For purposes of this section, “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, professional organization, or membership organization and are not staff of the related, associated, or affiliated trade association, professional organization, 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 the body consists of representatives of the public;

(3) The agency has established and implemented guidelines for each member of the decision-making body including guidelines on avoiding 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)(4) 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;

(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)
[84 FR 58919, Nov. 1, 2019]

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