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.

Department of Education Issues Guidance on Credit Hour; Commission Invites Comments

The USDE has adopted final regulations on credit hour and program length. The Commission received a letter from the Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education offering "Guidance to Institutions and Accrediting Agencies Regarding a Credit Hour as Defined in the Final Regulations Published on October 29, 2010." The Commission is interested in your This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to the provisions of the Guidance letter.

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

The Commission and Congress

Federal Regulations Regarding State Authorization

SHEEO State Authorization Resources and Directory

The USDE has announced rules requiring 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, is developing a directory of agencies responsible for implementing state quality assurance laws as well as a compendium of state laws and regulations.

Statement on Commission Requirements of Institutions for State Authorization

The Commission developed a statement on April 23, 2010, to clarify the requirements of institutions for state authorization.


Related Resources