Accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) are required to notify the public, regional accreditors, selected specialized recognized accreditors, state agencies responsible for post-secondary education, and the USDE of final accreditation decisions. Accrediting agencies recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) are required, through its Standard for Recognition 2A, to publish the basis for all final accreditation decisions, including non-adverse accreditation actions (award or continue accreditation or place on probation).
The CAA meets these expectations by posting its decisions online within 30 days of each decision-making meeting. Notices are published for final accreditation decisions resulting from a comprehensive review (applications for candidacy, initial accreditation, or re-accreditation) or that affect an accreditation status (e.g., accredited to accredited-on probation). The CAA includes in this notice the standards cited and compliance level, and a link to the program’s decision letter or Accreditation Action Report (AAR), as appropriate. No decision letter or AAR is linked in this notice for programs that the CAA deemed to be in full compliance with all standards. The presentation format supports CAA’s efforts to be transparent and to provide clear and consistent information about accredited and candidate programs, as well as the standards and procedures by which it operates.
The CAA also notifies the Secretary of the United States Department of Education (ED), the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency, and the appropriate accrediting agencies at the same time it notifies the program of when it has initiated an adverse action (i.e. deny or withdraw an accreditation status), but the decision is not yet final. The CAA will include in its public notice of final and pending adverse accreditation actions the basis for the decisions, indicating the standards cited and compliance level along with the Accreditation Action Report.
These changes to publish the rationale for final accreditation decisions as outlined in CAA’s Policy on Public Notice of Accreditation Actions went into effect on January 1, 2014. Further, the CAA adopted changes to this policy in July 2020 to include the publication of pending adverse actions in accordance with USDE requirements.