What is the CAA’s Responsibility When a Program is Not in Full Compliance with Standards?
The CAA monitors all programs’ compliance with the Standards for Accreditation through review of applications, annual reports, and other special reports as warranted. If the CAA identifies any concerns as a result of a report review, the CAA documents its findings in an Accreditation Action Report to the program and differentiates its findings as areas of non-compliance or areas of partial compliance with the standards. The Council also may indicate areas of follow-up for the program to address; these are elements of standards for which the program remains in full of compliance at the time of the report, but for which the CAA needs additional information.
In its reports, the CAA includes opportunities for the program to explain current circumstances, describe plans to address issues that the program has self-identified, provide required responses to previous citations for non-compliance or partial compliance, and respond to elements noted as requiring follow-up. The Council considers this part of the ongoing dialogue between itself and the program about educational quality improvement through compliance with accreditation standards.
Probation and Withdrawal Decisions
At times, the CAA may place a program on probation, or withdraw accreditation from a program when there is clear evidence of circumstances that jeopardize the capability of the program to provide acceptable educational experiences for the students. A program also may be placed on probation because the program has not corrected deficiencies noted earlier by the CAA.
As an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, the CAA must comply with Criterion §602.20 [34 CFR 602.20(a)(2)(iii)]. This criterion requires that if an accrediting agency’s review of a program indicates that the program is not in compliance with any standard, the CAA must establish timelines for programs that are not in full compliance “to take appropriate action to bring itself into compliance with the agency’s standards.” As the programs that the CAA accredits are at least two years in length, the maximum time allowed under this criterion for a program to remain out of compliance is two years. If, after review of a required report, the program remains out of full compliance with any standard and sufficient progress toward compliance has not been demonstrated, the CAA may act to place the program on probation or withdraw its accreditation status in accordance with the policy and procedures outlined in the Accreditation Handbook. However, a program will be placed on probation or have accreditation withdrawn after the review of a third consecutive report reveals that issues continue for the same standard(s) and the program remains not in full compliance with all standards. The CAA applied this clarified interpretation of the recognition criterion with its review of the February 2016 applications and annual report submissions. In order for a probation status to be removed, the program must document compliance with the Standards for Accreditation.