The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes accreditation by SACS Commission on Colleges in establishing the eligibility of higher education institutions to participate in programs authorized under Title IV of the 1998 Higher Education Amendments and other federal programs. Through its periodic review of institutions of higher education, the Commission assures the public that it is a reliable authority on the quality of education provided by its member institutions.
The federal statute includes mandates that the Commission review an institution in accordance with criteria outlined in the regulations of the Amendments developed by the U.S. Department of Education. As part of the review process, institutions are required to document compliance with those criteria and the Commission is obligated to consider such compliance when the institution is reviewed for initial membership or continued accreditation.
Implicit in every Federal Requirement 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.
Scroll down to see Federal Requirements for the Fifth Year Interim report:
The institution evaluates success with respect to student achievement including, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing examinations, and job placement rates. (Student achievement)
The institution’s curriculum is directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates, or degrees awarded. (Program curriculum)
The institution makes available to students and the public current academic calendars, grading policies, and refund policies. (Publication of policies)
Program length is appropriate for each of the institution’s educational programs. (Program length)
The institution has adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints and is responsible for demonstrating that it follows those procedures when resolving student complaints. (See Commission policy “Complaint Procedures against the Commission or its Accredited Institutions.”) (Student complaints)
Recruitment materials and presentations accurately represent the institution's practices and policies. (Recruitment materials)
The institution is in compliance with its program responsibilities under Title IV of the most recent Higher Education Act as amended. (In reviewing the institution's compliance with these program responsibilities, the Commission relies on documentation forwarded to it by the U.S. Department of Education.) (Title IV program responsibilities)
An institution that offers distance or correspondence education documents each of the following:
4.8.1 demonstrates that the student who registers in a distance or correspondence education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes the course or program and receives the credit by verifying the identity of a student who participates in class or coursework by using, at the option of the institution, methods such as (a) a secure login and pass code, (b) proctored examinations, or (c) new or other technologies and practices that are effective in verifying student identification.
4.8.2 has a written procedure for protecting the privacy of students enrolled in distance and correspondence education courses or programs.
4.8.3 has a written procedure distributed at the time of registration or enrollment that notifies students of any projected additional student charges associated with verification of student identity.
The institution has policies and procedures for determining the credit hours awarded for courses and programs that conform to commonly accepted practices in higher education and to Commission policy.