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Comprehensive Standards

by Beachy,Stephanie L last modified Nov 12, 2012 05:49 PM

The Comprehensive Standards set forth requirements in the following four areas: (1) institutional mission, governance, and effectiveness; (2) programs; (3) resources; and (4) institutional responsibility for Commission policies. The Comprehensive Standards are more specific to the operations of the institution, represent good practice in higher education, and establish a level of  accomplishment expected of all member institutions. If an institution is judged to be significantly out of compliance with one or more of the Comprehensive Standards, its reaffirmation of accreditation may be denied. (See Commission policy “Sanctions, Denial of Reaffirmation, and Removal from Membership.”)

A candidate institution is required to document compliance with Core Requirements 2.1-2.11, all the Comprehensive Standards (except 3.3.2), and Federal Requirements in order to be awarded initial membership.

Implicit in every Comprehensive Standard mandating a policy or procedure is the expectation that the policy or procedure is in writing and has been approved through appropriate institutional processes, published in appropriate institutional documents accessible to those affected by the policy or procedure, and implemented and enforced by the institution.

Select a section or scroll down to see Comprehensive Standards for the Fifth Year Interim report:

CS 3.2.8


CS 3.4.3 and 3.4.11

CS 3.10.2

CS 3.11.3

CS 3.13.a

CS 3.13.b

CS 3.13.c/3.13.4


Institutional Mission, Governance, and Effectiveness

3.2 Governance and Administration


The institution has qualified administrative and academic officers with the experience, competence, and capacity to lead the institution. (Qualified administrative/academic officers)

3.3 Institutional Effectiveness


The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: (Institutional Effectiveness)

educational programs, to include student learning outcomes



3.4 Educational Programs: All Educational Programs

(includes all on campus, off-campus, and distance learning programs and course work) (See Commission policy “Distance and Correspondence Education.”)


The institution publishes admissions policies that are consistent with its mission. (Admissions policies)


For each major in a degree program, the institution assigns responsibility for program coordination, as well as for curriculum development and review, to persons academically qualified in the field. In those degree programs for which the institution does not identify a major, this requirement applies to a curricular area or concentration. (Academic program coordination)



3.10 Financial Resources


The institution audits financial aid programs as required by federal and state regulations. (Financial aid audits)

3.11 Physical Resources


The institution operates and maintains physical facilities, both on and off campus, that appropriately serve the needs of the institution’s educational programs, support services, and other mission related activities. (Physical facilities)


Responsibility for Compliance

3.13 Responsibility for Compliance 

The institution complies with the policies of the Commission on Colleges.

3.13.a - Accrediting Decisions of Other Agencies

Applicable Policy Statement. Any institution seeking or holding accreditation from more than one U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting body must describe itself in identical terms to each recognized accrediting body with regard to purpose, governance, programs, degrees, diplomas, certificates, personnel, finances, and constituencies, and must keep each institutional accrediting body apprised of any change in its status with one or another accrediting body. 

3.13.b - Complaint Procedures against the Commission of Its Accredited Institutions

Applicable Policy Statement.  In addition to FR 4.5 regarding complaints, the Commission also requires, in accord with federal regulations, that each institution maintains a record of complaints received by the institution.  This record is made available to the Commission upon request.

3.13.c - Reaffirmation of accreditation and Subsequent Reports

Applicable Policy Statements.

                    3.13.4.  An institution includes a review of its distance learning programs in the Compliance Certification. 




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