Higher Learning Commission

Policy Title: Cooperative Review of Institutions Operating Across Regions

Number: COMM.C.10.010

To preserve the values and practices of peer review and regional accreditation, the Commission’s evaluation of affiliated institutions that deliver education at a physical site(s) in another region(s) within the U.S. or its territories will be undertaken with the participation of the host regional accrediting commission(s). This will include the joint (home/host) evaluation of the off-campus sites in a host region against the accreditation standards of that region.

Procedures for the evaluation of colleges and universities operating interregionally will honor these basic principles:

  1. The mission of the institution will be respected throughout the evaluation process.
  2. The design and implementation of the strategy fashioned to evaluate its host region’s instructional sites will be developed collaboratively by the participating regional commissions together with the affected institution.
  3. The home region’s evaluation processes will serve as the basis for the joint evaluations and the home region will take the leadership role in initiating and overseeing the process.
  4. The home region will be solely responsible for final accrediting actions, but will respond to issues brought to its attention by the host commission as identified through its involvement in the institutional review.
  5. Host commission participation in an interregional accrediting process shall not constitute accreditation of the institution by that commission.
  6. When an institution moves instructional activities into another region the commission in the home region will consult with the host region and institution in determining whether the new activities are subject to review under the interregional accrediting process.
  7. The host region retains the discretion to determine its involvement in the evaluation of institutions operating interregionally.

(In keeping with the agreement reached by the regional accrediting associations, the procedures for evaluating institutions operating at transregional sites will be revisited every three years.)

Process for Evaluating Institutions Operating Interregionally. As part of its review processes for each institution operating off-campus locations outside of the region, the Commission will determine which locations are to be visited. The Commission will then notify other regional accrediting commissions if a site review is scheduled in their region(s) as part of a substantive change or comprehensive review. For those locations to be visited in another region, the Commission will inform the host regional agency(ies) of such visit(s) and give the opportunity to include a representative on the visiting team to the sites within the host region. Such representatives will participate as members of the site team and will apply the Commission’s standards and processes. Findings from the separate site visits will be incorporated into the institutional report as determined by the Commission.

Recognition of Institutions Operating Interregionally. Accreditation or candidacy granted by the Commission applies to all educational activities of the institution. Unless a unit is designated as separately accreditable (see the Policy on Separately Accreditable Institutions), the Commission is responsible for reviewing educational activities offered by institutions it accredits, including those offered in other regions (host regions).

If the state of incorporation and central operations of an institution are located in a region of another U.S. regional accreditor, then the accreditation decisions of that regional accreditor (the home region) that are related to the educational activities of that institution will be recognized and accepted by the Commission, including those decisions related to the educational activities of the institution in the North Central region.


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Policy History

Last Revised: November 2012
First Adopted: January 1983, February 1986, June 2000
Revision History: February 1996, February 1998, June 2001, February 2008, June 2008, February 2009, June 2012
Notes: Policies combined in November 2012 – 3.13, 3.13(a), 3.13(b)

Policy Number Key

Section COMM: Commission Policies

Chapter C: Relationships with External Agencies

Part 10: General


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