Higher Learning Commission


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The Commission and the Department of Education

By law, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) relies in part on accrediting agencies to determine eligibility for U.S. government assistance under certain legislation. The Commission is among these governmentally recognized authorities and seeks renewal of USDE recognition at least every five years.

To be recognized by USDE, the Commission must agree to do certain things required by law and the USDE. These include holding to a schedule of reporting to the USDE and to state agencies, as well as including a review of the record of the educational institution’s relationship with USDE. The Commission is also required to assure that all its member institutions comply with federal regulations.

Federal Compliance

The Commission has published information on Commission expectations for institutions and teams related to the new federally-mandated policy on the credit hour and updates related to the Federal Compliance Program.

Commission Responds to Proposed Regulations

The Commission has submitted a response to the USDE’s proposed regulations as well as endorsed the American Council on Education's response.

March 10, 2011 Letter to Congress on the Credit Hour

March 2, 2011 Letter to the Department of Education on State Authorization Requirements

February 16, 2011 Letter to the Department of Education on the Credit Hour

Federal Regulations Regarding State Authorization

SHEEO State Authorization Resources and Directory

The USDE requires all institutions participating in Title IV to be able to document compliance with state laws in all states where they offer distance or correspondence education. To address this need, SHEEO, the national association of state higher education executive officers, provides a number of resources for institutions, including a directory of agencies responsible for implementing state quality assurance laws and a compendium of state laws and regulations.


Related Resources