Higher Learning Commission

Policy Title: Relations With Other Recognized Accrediting Agencies

Number: COMM.C.10.020

The Commission will base the grant or reaffirmation of accreditation on its own Criteria for Accreditation and processes and will evaluate the entire institution, but in granting or reaffirming status to an institution it will take into consideration actions, particularly but not exclusively adverse actions, sanctions, and show-cause orders, taken or issued by any recognized institutional, specialized or professional accrediting agency previously or currently associated with an institution.

Consideration for the Accreditation Decisions or Other Agencies. In determining whether an institution meets the Commission’s Eligibility Requirements, Criteria for Accreditation and Commission Requirements, the Commission will consider the reports, action letters and other information of other recognized institutional, specialized and professional accrediting agencies previously or currently associated with the institution, with specific attention to any adverse, probationary or show-cause actions. The Commission will expect that institutions will disclose such information in the Eligibility Process and place it in its Assurance File when seeking candidate or accredited status or when undergoing regular review by the Commission through any pathway. The Commission may request information directly from the recognized accrediting agency and place it in the Assurance File for review by an evaluation team for consideration in the accrediting action.

In considering a substantive change the Commission may request information from an institution regarding its specialized or professional accreditation or may request it directly from the accrediting agency and take it into account in the accrediting action.

If another recognized accrediting agency has denied or withdrawn affiliation or pre-accreditation or placed sanctions on the institution the Commission, through its decision-making processes and subject to the limitations in the Eligibility Requirements, will carefully weigh these matters in reaching its own decision to grant accredited or candidate for accreditation status. If it chooses to grant affiliation to such an institution, it will provide the Secretary of Education a written explanation within thirty (30) days of taking action of why the issues that led to the action by the other recognized accrediting agency did not preclude the Commission from reaching a decision to grant accreditation or candidacy or did not otherwise justify a different action.

Information Provided to Other Recognized Accrediting Agencies. If the Commission takes action to place an institution on notice or probation or withdraw or deny accreditation or candidate for accreditation status, or if the Commission places an institution on show-cause, the Commission will notify all recognized accreditors at the same time that it notifies the institution and the U.S. Department of Education but not later than thirty days after the action, and will include a Public Disclosure Notice that provides reasons for the Commission’s decision. If the action was denial or withdrawal of accredited or candidate for accreditation status that Public Disclosure will within sixty (60) days after the action becomes final include comments from the affected institution or information to indicate that the institution was provided an opportunity to comment but did not do so. The Commission will notify state higher education agencies of an action to reaffirm or grant accreditation or initial candidacy or approve a substantive change or the results of monitoring within thirty days of the action; it will notify the state higher education agency of a voluntary resignation by an institution of its accredited or candidate status within thirty days of receiving notification from the institution of the resignation.

If another recognized accreditor seeks written or other information about an institution that has accredited or candidate status with the Commission, or that has previously sought such status with the Commission, the Commission will forward that information to the other accreditor after receiving a written request.

Coordinated Visits with Other Recognized Accrediting Agencies. The Commission may conduct a coordinated visit with a specialized or professional accrediting agency recognized by the USDE or CHEA. Coordinated visits typically will be limited to no more than three participating agencies. While the teams of the participating agencies may coordinate some or many of their activities on campus, decision-making and the production of the team report will be done separately by each agency. A letter of agreement for each coordinated visit, signed by the Presidents of the participating agencies or their designees, will lay out the level of coordination and interaction allowed among agency representatives involved in the visit.


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Policy History

Last Revised: April 2013
First Adopted: January 1983, February 1986, June 2000
Revision History: February 1996, February 1998, June 2001, February 2008, June 2008, February 2009, June 2012, April 2013
Notes: Former policy number – 9.1

Policy Number Key

Section COMM: Commission Policies

Chapter C: Relationships with External Agencies

Part 10: General


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