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Expectations and Accountability in Regional Accreditation Ellie A. Fogarty, EdD – Vice President Debra G. Klinman, PhD – Vice President Middle States Commission on Higher Education 1
Overview • Expectations • National • Middle States • Accountability • Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 • Certification Statement • Resources for Additional Information Middle States Commission on Higher Education 2
National Context Accreditation developed and evolved to promote mission-centered, continuous quality improvement through peer evaluation. HEA 1965 (with subsequent re-authorizations, including 2008) named accreditors as gatekeepers for institutional access to federal funding. Various regulations have ensued. Today, while accreditors continue to focus on quality improvement, USDE sees the primary purpose of accreditation as safeguarding federal funds.
National Context • Increasing attention paid to higher education and accreditation • Concerns about rising costs and spending for Federal student aid • Mistrust about the peer review process • Occasional calls for “one-size-fits-all” metrics that do not respect unique missions Middle States Commission on Higher Education
What does the Commission expect of Teams & Chairs? • Respect for the Mission of the host institution • Collegiality and Integrity • Expertise and Preparation • Team reports based firmly on Middle States Standards • Evidence-based decisions • Professional judgment Middle States Commission on Higher Education
What can you expect from the Commission? • Team reports are read carefully and help MSCHE at the next levels of review • Committee on Evaluation Reports • Commission Meetings • Committee and Commission members work to ensure consistent application of Standards across institutions • MSCHE informs institution of final Commission action on reaccreditation Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Accountability • MSCHE values peer review that focuses on continuous improvement • Recognizes the importance to member institutions of Title IV funds and federal grants • Recognizes the need to assure the US Department of Education that member institutions are in compliance • MSCHE process for certification and verification of HEOA 2008 compliance Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Certification Statement Signed by CEO and Board Chair Attached to the executive summary of the Self-Study Report Affirms compliance with MSCHE Requirements of Affiliation Accreditation-relevant federal requirements Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Distance Education • Distance Education • Instruction delivered via technology • Regular student/faculty interaction • Correspondence Education • Instructional materials delivered, mail or email • Student initiated interaction as needed Middle States Commission on Higher Education 10
Student Identity Verification • HEOA 2008: Institutions must document how student identity is verified • Secure username and password • Proctored exams • New technologies • Protection of student privacy • Notification of student fees at registration • Peer reviewers evaluate compliance Middle States Commission on Higher Education 11 11
Transfer of Credit • Generally addressed under Standards 8 and 11 • HEOA 2008: Institutions must publicly document • Criteria for Transfer Decisions • List of Articulation Agreements • Peer reviewers evaluate compliance Middle States Commission on Higher Education 12 12
Credit Hours • Unit of measurement of academic work • Federal definition consistent with Carnegie Unit • HEOA 2008: Institutions must document that any “reasonable equivalencies” can be verified through student learning outcomes • Peer reviewers evaluate compliance Middle States Commission on Higher Education 13 13
Credit Hours • Policies and procedures for awarding credit hours • Consistent application of these policies and procedures • Does the institution's assignment of credit hours conform to commonly accepted practice in higher education? Middle States Commission on Higher Education 14 14
Title IV Cohort Default Rate • Percentage of students in a given fiscal year who cannot repay federal loans • Each year, US Department of Education calculates and publishes the average rate • Institutions must document where they stand in relation to averages • Typically the responsibility of the financial aid office or CFO • Peer reviewers evaluate compliance Middle States Commission on Higher Education 15 15
Additional Resources US Dept. of Education http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/policy.html http://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/hea08/index.html http://ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/attachments/GEN1106.pdf Official Cohort Default Rates for Schools http://www2.ed.gov/offices/OSFAP/defaultmanagement/cdr.html Middle States Commission on Higher Education http://www.msche.org/ Middle States Commission on Higher Education 16
Questions? Middle States Commission on Higher Education 17