38 CFR § 21.4253 - Accredited courses.
(a) General. A course may be approved as an accredited course if it meets one of the following requirements:
(1) The course has been accredited and approved by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association. “Candidate for accreditation” status is not a basis for approval of a course as accredited.
(2) Credit for such course is approved by the State department of education for credit toward a high school diploma.
(3) The course is conducted under the Act of February 23, 1917 (20 U.S.C. 11 et seq.).
(4) The course is accepted by the State department of education for credit for a teacher's certificate or teacher's degree.
(5) The course is approved by the State as meeting the requirement of regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under sections 1819(f)(2)(A)(i) and 1919(f)(2)(A)(i) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C.1395i–3(f)(2)(A)(i) and 1396r(f)(2)(A)(i)).
(b) Course objective. Any curriculum offered by an educational institution which is a member of one of the nationally recognized accrediting agencies or associations and which leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate will be accepted as an accredited course when approved as such by the State approving agency. Any curriculum accredited by one of the specialized nationally recognized accrediting agencies or associations and which leads to a degree, diploma, or certificate will also be accepted as an accredited course when approved as such by the State approving agency. Approval of the individual subjects, required or elective, which are designated as a part of a degree curriculum will not be necessary. Such approval may include noncredit subjects that are prescribed as a required part of the curriculum. The course objective may be educational (high school diploma or a standard college degree) or it may be vocational or professional (an occupation).
(c) Accrediting agencies. A nationally recognized accrediting agency or association is one that appears on the list published by the Secretary of Education as required by 38 U.S.C. 3675(a). The State approving agencies may use the accreditation of these accrediting agencies or associations for approval of the course specifically accredited and approved by the agency or association.
(d) School qualification. A school desiring to enroll veterans or eligible persons in accredited courses will make application for approval of such courses to the State approving agency. The State approving agency may approve the application of the school when the school and its accredited courses are found to have met the following criteria and additional reasonable criteria established by the State approving agency if the Secretary or designee, in consultation with the State approving agency, approves the additional criteria as necessary and equitable in its treatment of public, private, and proprietary for-profit educational institutions:
(1) The institution (other than an elementary or secondary school) has submitted to the State approving agency copies of its catalog or bulletin which are certified as true and correct in content and policy by an authorized representative, and the publication shall:
(i) State with specificity the requirements of the institution with respect to graduation;
(ii) Include institution policy and regulations relative to standards of progress required of the student by the institution (this policy will define the grading system of the institution, the minimum grades considered satisfactory, conditions for interruption for unsatisfactory grades or progress, a description of the probationary period, if any, allowed by the institution, conditions of reentrance for those students dismissed for unsatisfactory progress, and a statement regarding progress records kept by the institution and furnished the student);
(iii) Include institution policy and regulations relating to student conduct and conditions for dismissal for unsatisfactory conduct; and
(iv) Include any attendance standards of the institution if the institution has and enforces such standards.
(2) Adequate records are kept by the school to show the progress of each veteran or eligible person. The records must be sufficient to show continued pursuit at the rate for which enrolled and the progress being made. They must include final grade in each subject for each term, quarter, or semester; record of withdrawal from any subject to include the last date of attendance for a resident course; and record of reenrollment in subjects from which there was a withdrawal; and may include such records as attendance for resident courses, periodic grades and examination results.
(3) The school maintains a written record of previous education and training of the veteran or eligible person which clearly indicates that appropriate credit has been given by the school for previous education and training, with the training period shortened proportionately. The record must be cumulative in that the results of each enrollment period (term, quarter or semester) must be included so that it shows each subject undertaken and the final result, i.e., passed, failed, incomplete or withdrawn.
(4) The school enforces a policy relative to standards of conduct and progress required of the student. The school policy relative to standards of progress must be specific enough to determine the point in time when educational benefits should be discontinued, pursuant to 38 U.S.C. 3474 when the veteran or eligible person ceases to make satisfactory progress. The policy must include the grade or grade point average that will be maintained if the student is to graduate. For example, a 4-year college may require a 1.5 grade point average the first year, a 1.75 average at mid-year the second year, and a cumulative average of 2.0 thereafter on the basis of 4.0 for an A.
(5) If the school has a standard of attendance, it maintains records of attendance for veterans and eligible persons enrolled in resident courses which are adequate to show the student meets the school's standard of attendance.
(6) The accredited courses, the curriculum of which they form a part, and the instruction connected with those courses are consistent in quality, content, and length with similar courses in public educational institutions and other private educational institutions in the State with recognized accepted standards.
(7) There is in the educational institution offering the course adequate space, equipment, instructional material, and instructor personnel to provide training of good quality.
(8) The educational and experience qualifications of directors, and administrators of the educational institution offering the courses, and instructors teaching the courses for which approval is sought, are adequate.
(ii) For a course designed to prepare an individual for licensure to practice law in a State, the course is accredited by a specialized accrediting agency for programs of legal education or association recognized by the Secretary of Education under subpart 2 of part H of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1099b), from which recipients of law degrees from such accredited programs are eligible to sit for a bar examination in any State.
(iii) For a course designed to prepare an individual for employment pursuant to standards developed by a board or agency of a State in an occupation that requires approval, licensure, or certification, the course meets such standards.
(iv) An educational institution may apply, through their State approving agency of jurisdiction, to the Secretary or designee for a waiver of the requirements of this paragraph (d)(9). The State approving agency will forward an application for waiver, together with its recommendation for granting or denying the application, to the Secretary or designee. The Secretary or designee may grant a waiver upon a finding that all of the following criteria have been met:
(A) The educational institution is not accredited by an agency or association recognized by the Department of Education.
(B) The course did not meet the requirements of this paragraph (d)(9) at any time during the 2-year period preceding the date of the waiver.
(C) The waiver furthers the purposes of the educational assistance programs administered by VA or would further the education interests of individuals eligible for assistance under such programs.
(D) The educational institution does not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollments or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admission activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance, except for the recruitment of foreign students residing in foreign countries who are not eligible to receive Federal student assistance.
(10) Before requiring a school and its accredited courses to meet any additional criteria, the State approving agency must present a written proposal to the Secretary or designee justifying the need for the additional criteria and containing an attestation that the criteria will treat all schools equitably, regardless of whether they are public, private, or for-profit institutions. The Secretary or designee will determine whether the additional criteria are necessary and treat schools equitably based on the proposal and any additional information submitted. The Secretary or designee may change the determination at any time if, after implementation, it becomes apparent that the criteria are unnecessary or schools are treated inequitably under the criteria.
(i) The written proposal must contain a description of the need for the additional criteria and an explanation of how the imposition of the additional criteria would remedy the problem. The proposal must also contain a statement concerning whether State or Federal laws, regulations, or policies require the imposition of the additional criteria and an explanation of the consideration of any alternative means to achieve the same goal as the additional criteria.
(ii) The Secretary or designee may request such additional information from the State approving agency as the Secretary or designee deems appropriate before determining whether the criteria are necessary and treat schools equitably.
(e) College level. Under the provisions of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, any course at college level approved by the State approving agency as an accredited course will be accepted by the Department of Veterans Affairs as an accredited course when all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The college or university is accredited by a nationally recognized regional accrediting agency listed by the Secretary of Education or the course is accredited at the college level by a specialized accrediting agency or association recognized by the Secretary of Education; and
(2) The course has entrance requirements of not less than the requirements applicable to the college level program of the school; and
(f) Courses not leading to a standard college degree. Any course in a school approved by the State approving agency will be accepted as an accredited course when all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The course or the school offering such course is accredited by the appropriate accrediting agency; and
(2) The course offers training in the field for which the accrediting agency is recognized and at a level for which it is recognized; and
(3) The course leads to a high school diploma or a vocational objective.
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