34 CFR § 602.23 - Operating procedures all agencies must have.

§ 602.23 Operating procedures all agencies must have.

(a) The agency must maintain and make available to the public written materials describing—

(1) Each type of accreditation and preaccreditation it grants;

(2) The procedures that institutions or programs must follow in applying for accreditation, preaccreditation, or substantive changes and the sequencing of those steps relative to any applications or decisions required by States or the Department relative to the agency's preaccreditation, accreditation, or substantive change decisions;

(3) The standards and procedures it uses to determine whether to grant, reaffirm, reinstate, restrict, deny, revoke, terminate, or take any other action related to each type of accreditation and preaccreditation that the agency grants;

(4) The institutions and programs that the agency currently accredits or preaccredits and, for each institution and program, the year the agency will next review or reconsider it for accreditation or preaccreditation; and

(5) A list of the names, academic and professional qualifications, and relevant employment and organizational affiliations of—

(i) The members of the agency's policy and decision-making bodies; and

(ii) The agency's principal administrative staff.

(b) In providing public notice that an institution or program subject to its jurisdiction is being considered for accreditation or preaccreditation, the agency must provide an opportunity for third-party comment concerning the institution's or program's qualifications for accreditation or preaccreditation. At the agency's discretion, third-party comment may be received either in writing or at a public hearing, or both.

(c) The accrediting agency must—

(1) Review in a timely, fair, and equitable manner any complaint it receives against an accredited institution or program that is related to the agency's standards or procedures. The agency may not complete its review and make a decision regarding a complaint unless, in accordance with published procedures, it ensures that the institution or program has sufficient opportunity to provide a response to the complaint;

(2) Take follow-up action, as necessary, including enforcement action, if necessary, based on the results of its review; and

(3) Review in a timely, fair, and equitable manner, and apply unbiased judgment to, any complaints against itself and take follow-up action, as appropriate, based on the results of its review.

(d) If an institution or program elects to make a public disclosure of its accreditation or preaccreditation status, the agency must ensure that the institution or program discloses that status accurately, including the specific academic or instructional programs covered by that status and the name and contact information for the agency.

(e) The accrediting agency must provide for the public correction of incorrect or misleading information an accredited or preaccredited institution or program releases about—

(1) The accreditation or preaccreditation status of the institution or program;

(2) The contents of reports of on-site reviews; and

(3) The agency's accrediting or preaccrediting actions with respect to the institution or program.


(1) If preaccreditation is offered—

(i) The agency's preaccreditation policies must limit the status to institutions or programs that the agency has determined are likely to succeed in obtaining accreditation;

(ii) The agency must require all preaccredited institutions to have a teach-out plan, which must ensure students completing the teach-out would meet curricular requirements for professional licensure or certification, if any, and which must include a list of academic programs offered by the institution and the names of other institutions that offer similar programs and that could potentially enter into a teach-out agreement with the institution;

(iii) An agency that denies accreditation to an institution it has preaccredited may maintain the institution's preaccreditation for currently enrolled students until the institution has had a reasonable time to complete the activities in its teach-out plan to assist students in transferring or completing their programs, but for no more than 120 days unless approved by the agency for good cause; and

(iv) The agency may not move an accredited institution or program from accredited to preaccredited status unless, following the loss of accreditation, the institution or program applies for initial accreditation and is awarded preaccreditation status under the new application. Institutions that participated in the title IV, HEA programs before the loss of accreditation are subject to the requirements of 34 CFR 600.11(c).

(2) All credits and degrees earned and issued by an institution or program holding preaccreditation from a nationally recognized agency are considered by the Secretary to be from an accredited institution or program.

(g) The agency may establish any additional operating procedures it deems appropriate. At the agency's discretion, these may include unannounced inspections.

(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 55428, Oct. 27, 2009; 84 FR 58923, Nov. 1, 2019]