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November 2016 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on November 3–4, 2016. The following actions were taken.

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed policy revisions. HLC invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in February 2017. Comments must be received by January 13, 2017. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Adopted Policy Change

The Board adopted the following policy revision on second reading. It is effective immediately.

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions were posted on HLC's website after the institutions had been notified.

Report of August 2016 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission held a teleconference on August 31, 2016. The following actions were taken.

Adopted Policy Change

The Board adopted the following policy revisions on second reading. They are effective immediately.

Policy changes related to financially distressed institutions and institutions under governmental investigation

For more information, review HLC's procedural information regarding Institutional Designations.

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions were posted on HLC’s website after the institutions had been notified.

Report of June 2016 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on June 30–July 1, 2016. The following actions were taken.

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed policy revisions. HLC invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Policy changes related to eliminating extension of accreditation
Comments must be received by September 12, 2016. 

Policy changes related to financially distressed institutions and institutions under governmental investigation
Comments must be received by August 1, 2016. 

Please note: By policy, HLC is required to make available for comment policies affecting affiliated and member organizations during the period between the first and second reading of the proposed policy. As this policy is proposed to allow HLC to respond more quickly to developing situations at member institutions, the timeline has been truncated and the Board will consider this policy for second reading at a conference call in late summer 2016.

Adopted Policy Change

The Board adopted the following revised policy on second reading. It is effective immediately.

Policy change related to Assumed Practices

2016–2017 Dues and Fees Schedule Adopted

The Board adopted the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2017 and the 2016–2017 Dues and Fees Schedule. Dues invoices were mailed July 5.     

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions were posted on HLC’s website after the institutions had been notified.

Report of February 2016 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on February 25, 2016. The following actions were taken.

Proposed Policy Change

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policy. HLC invites comments on this proposed policy before the Board takes final action in June 2016. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by May 17, 2016.

Policy change related to assumed practices

Adopted Policy Change

The Board adopted the following revised policy on a single reading. It is effective immediately.

Policy changes related to direct assessment and competency-based education

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions were posted on HLC’s website after the institutions had been notified.

 

Report of November 2015 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on November 5–6, 2015. The following actions were taken.

Adopted Policy Change

Policy change related to early initial accreditation (effective immediately)

HLC Seeks Comments on Strategic Directions

The Board endorsed Strategic Directions for HLC and seeks comments from the membership. HLC members are invited to review the strategic directions and provide feedback until December 17, 2015.

The HLC staff and the Board Committee on Strategy will review the comments and provide an updated strategic directions document for review by the full Board at the February Board meeting. HLC will share the second draft with members at the Annual Conference in April. The conference will include listening sessions to garner further feedback. A final strategic plan will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at its June 2016 meeting. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

Extension Available for Institutional Compliance With Revised Assumed Practice on Faculty Qualifications in Dual Credit Programs

The Board resolved to provide an opportunity for institutions with dual credit programs to apply for extensions related to compliance of faculty in these programs with revisions to Assumed Practice B.2., a policy update that clarified longstanding expectations HLC had with regard to the qualifications of faculty.

The Board received feedback from various constituents regarding the revisions to Assumed Practice B.2. The focus of the feedback was largely on the impact of the revision on dual credit programs. Based on the feedback, the Board has decided to maintain the expectation in the policy and allow institutions and state organizations to request extensions related to dual credit.

The revised Assumed Practice will remain effective September 1, 2017. If an institution believes its dual credit program is not able to be in compliance by the effective date, it may submit an application for an extension by September 2016. A state higher education entity may also apply for the extension on behalf of accredited institutions under its jurisdiction. A review panel will evaluate all applications. Approved applications will be granted an extension of up to September 2022 based on the circumstances presented in the application. The extension will only be available for dual credit programs; the revised Assumed Practice will be effective for all other programs at an institution that has received an extension. Information about the application process will be available in early 2016.

Institutional Actions

The Board took action on a number of institutions. These actions were posted on HLC’s website after the institutions had been notified.

Report of June 2015 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on June 25–26, 2015. The following actions were taken.

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies. HLC invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in November 2015. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by September 8, 2015.

Policy changes related to early initial accreditation

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies.

Policy changes related to the framework for application on assumed practices (effective immediately)

Policy changes related to assumed practices (effective September 1, 2017; see implementation timeline)

Dues and Fees Schedule Adopted

The Board adopted the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2016 and the Dues and Fees Schedule. Dues invoices were mailed July 6.

Reminder: HLC is implementing a new dues and fees structure in the 2016 fiscal year to distribute the cost of maintaining accreditation more evenly over the 10-year reaffirmation period. This change will not increase HLC's revenue; rather it is a different way of collecting the same revenue. It is important to note that this will be the first significant change in the dues and fees schedule since 2009-2010.

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions will be posted on HLC's website once the institutions have been notified.

 

Report of February 2015 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on February 26-27, 2015. The following actions were taken.

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies. HLC invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in June 2015. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Comments must be received by May 15, 2015.

Policy changes related to Assumed Practices

Policy changes related to the framework for application of Assumed Practices

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policy. It is effective immediately.

Policy changes related to sanctions 

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions are posted on HLC's website.

 

Report of June 2014 Board Actions

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies. The Commission invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in October 2014. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by September 15, 2014.

Policy changes related to student achievement
Bylaws amendment related to honorary members

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately.

Policy changes related to the Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices
Policy changes related to Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)
Policy changes related to peer reviewers from outside the HLC region

2015 Dues and Fees Schedule Adopted

The Board adopted the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2015 and the Dues and Fees Schedule for fiscal year 2015. This year, the dues increase consists of the additional location dues component being raised by $5. Dues invoices were mailed June 23.

Reminder: the Commission will implement a new dues and fees structure in the 2015-16 fiscal year to distribute the cost of maintaining accreditation more evenly over the ten-year or eight-year reaffirmation period. This change will not increase the Commission's revenue; rather it is a different way of collecting the same revenue. It is important to note that this will be the first significant change in the dues and fees schedule since 2009-2010. Additional information about the new structure is available: hlcommission.org/Pathways/pathways.html.

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions are posted on the Commission's website.

Report of February 2014 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on February 27, 2014. The following actions took place.

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies. The Commission invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in June 2014. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by May 16, 2014.

Policy changes related to Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices

Policy changes related to Academic Quality Improvement Program

Visit hlcommission.org for more information about the proposed 8-Year Cycle.

Policy changes related to peer reviewers from outside the region

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately.

Policy changes related to distance education approvals

Policy changes related to removal of expedited desk review

Policy changes related to student survey

This policy change allows the Commission to conduct a survey of student satisfaction to be used by site-visiting teams at all comprehensive evaluations for initial candidacy, initial accreditation, and reaffirmation of accreditation. See the Commission's Student Satisfaction Survey Overview for information on how the Commission will conduct the survey and a sample data report.

Policy changes related to sanction and withdrawal

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions are available on the Commission's website.

New Dual Credit Guidelines for Institutions and Peer Reviewers

The Commission has established guidelines regarding the assurance of academic integrity of dual credit programs and courses at accredited institutions. They will be effective for comprehensive evaluations beginning in September 2014. Based on the findings of a Commission study of dual credit practices in the United States, the guidelines are written to address the scope of regional accreditation with regard to dual credit programs and courses and are linked to the Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation.

Report of November 2013 Board Actions

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies. The Commission invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in February 2014. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by January 10, 2014.

Policy changes related to distance education approvals
Policy changes related to removal of expedited desk review
Policy changes related to sanction and withdrawal
Policy changes related to student survey

This policy change would allow the Commission to conduct a survey of student satisfaction to be used by peer review teams visiting institutions as part of comprehensive evaluations for initial candidacy, initial accreditation, and reaffirmation of accreditation. See the Student Satisfaction Survey Overview and Sample for more information.

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately.

Policy changes related to courses at a new level

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions will be posted on the Commission's website.

Commission Approval for Direct Assessment Competency Programs

In 2013 the Higher Learning Commission approved three institutions accredited by the Commission to initiate direct assessment competency-based programs in disciplines ranging from nursing to liberal arts. These programs are among the first direct assessment programs developed by institutions of higher education in the United States.

The Commission has created a Substantive Change Screening Form and Application for HLC-accredited institutions interested in developing direct assessment programs. The Commission will begin reviewing these applications in December 2013.

New Resources for Peer Reviewers on Tribal Colleges and Universities

Tribal Colleges and Universities and Higher Learning Commission Accreditation – Considerations for HLC Peer Reviewers provides context for peer reviewers who may not be familiar with the unique characteristics of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). The Commission is committed to promoting a solid understanding of the unique role of the TCUs and their contribution to higher education among its members, and particularly those who serve as peer reviewers.

Commission Endorses Statement on Assessment

The Commission has joined national higher education associations and regional accrediting commissions endorsing the statement, Principles for Effective Assessment of Student Achievement. The statement is intended to emphasize the need to assess effectively student achievement, and the importance of conducting such assessments in ways that are congruent with the institution’s mission.

Report of June 2013 Board Actions

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policy. The Commission invites comments on this proposed policy before the Board takes final action in November 2013. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by September 16, 2013.

Policy changes related to courses at a new level

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately.

Policy changes related to Assumed Practices

Policy changes related to Institutional Obligations of Affiliation

2014 Dues and Fees Schedule Adopted

The Board adopted the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2014 and the Dues and Fees Schedule for fiscal year 2014. Dues invoices were mailed July 8.

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions are posted on the Commission's Website.

Special Meeting of the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission took the following actions by mail ballot on April 19, 2013:

Adopted Policy Changes

The Commission received an initial response to its filing for continued recognition by the U.S. Department of Education that required several minor language adjustments to Commission policies.

Dual Credit in U.S. Higher Education: A Study of State Policy and Quality Assurance Practices

On behalf of the Council of Regional Accreditation Commissions and with support from the Lumina Foundation, the HLC has prepared a descriptive review of dual credit (or dual enrollment) practices across the U.S. The purpose of the report is to collect information that can serve, among other uses, as the fact-basis for accreditors considering dual credit or enrollment programs at the institutions they accredit.

Authors of the study are Victor M. H. Borden, professor of higher education and policy studies at Indiana University Bloomington and senior advisor to Indiana University’s executive vice president for University Regional Affairs, Planning and Policy; Jason L. Taylor, Research Assistant at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Eunkyoung Park, Research Analyst at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) in Washington, DC.; and David J. Seiler, History Instructor at Lake Land College, Mattoon IL.

Commission Policies Available in Web Format

The Commission has launched its policy book in a new web format. The web format allows for easier searching, cross-referencing between policies, and links to related resources. The new format features a new structure aimed at being more useful to institutions. In addition, policies have been renumbered to suit the new format. Visit policy.hlcommission.org today.

 

Report of February 2013 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on February 21-22, 2013. The following actions took place.

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies. The Commission invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in June 2013. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by May 6, 2013.

Policy changes related to Assumed Practices and the Obligations of Affiliation: First Reading

* In the past the Criteria for Accreditation, which now include the Assumed Practices, have been reviewed in their entirety every five years. In the future, adjustments to the Criteria or Assumed Practices will be considered by the Board annually, usually with first reading in February and second reading in June.

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately unless otherwise noted.

Policy changes related to transparency

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions will be posted on the Commission's website once the institutions have been notified.

Report of November 2012 Board Actions

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies related to transparency. The Commission will disseminate a sample packet of materials related to this change in early December. The Commission invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in February 2013. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Comments must be received by January 18, 2013.

Policy changes related to transparency

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately unless otherwise noted.

The Board adopted on second reading the following revision to the bylaws:

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. The Board of Trustees took an additional institutional action at a conference call on October 3, 2012. These actions have been posted on the Commission's website.

Audit Approved

The Board of Trustees received and accepted the Fiscal Year 2012 independent auditors' report. The audit report is now available on the website.

Report of June 2012 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on June 28-29, 2012. The following actions took place.

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board of Trustees adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately unless otherwise noted.

Policy changes related to federal compliance

Policy changes related to pathways for reaffirmation of accreditation. Additional information is available on the Pathways for Reaffirmation of Accreditation

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies and bylaw changes. The Commission invites comments on these proposed policies and bylaw changes before the Board takes final action in November 2012. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by September 14, 2012.

Policy changes related to approval of a change in length of term affecting allocation of credit

Policy changes related to Commission staff

Policy changes related to withdrawal of application for candidacy or for initial accreditation

Policy changes related to peer reviewers. Additional information is available in the Statement on Peer Reviewers Serving as Independent Consultants or on Mock Teams to Institutions that are Accredited by or Seeking Accreditation with the Commission

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revision to the bylaws: Proposed bylaws amendments related to terms of office

Statement on the Accreditation of High Schools

The Board adopted a Statement on the Accreditation of High Schools.

2013 Dues and Fees Schedule Adopted

The Board adopted the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2013 and the Dues and Fees Schedule for fiscal year 2013. Dues invoices were mailed July 2. The only change to the 2012-13 dues is a $100 increase to the base dues. This follows two years in which the Commission had not changed the rate or the formula for calculating dues.

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions have been posted on the Commission’s Web site.

Report of February 2012 Board Actions

The Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission met on February 23-24, 2012. The following actions took place.

Adopted Policy Changes

The Board adopted the following revised policies. They are effective immediately unless otherwise noted.

Policy changes related to Criteria for Accreditation

Policy changes related to Institutional Obligations of Affiliation

Policy changes related to exit session

Policy changes related to 1) electronic records and communication and 2) peer reviewers on the handling of Commission records

For additional information on the new Criteria for Accreditation, see the Criteria Booklet.
For the current versions of these documents, visit:
Criteria for Accreditation
Minimum Expectations within the Criteria for Accreditation
Obligations of Affiliation

Proposed Policy Changes

The Board approved on first reading the following proposed revised policies. The Commission invites comments on these proposed policies before the Board takes final action in June 2012. Comments can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Comments must be received by May 9, 2012.

Policy changes related to Pathways for Reaffirmation of Accreditation
Policy changes related to federal compliance

Institutional Actions

The Board of Trustees took action on a number of institutions. These actions will be posted on the Commission’s Web site once the institutions have been notified.

Commission Endorses New Guidelines on Assessment

The Higher Learning Commission has endorsed new guidelines, Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability, published by the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability. The guidelines help colleges and universities in improving the quality of a college degree by asking them to set clear goals for student achievement, regularly gather and use evidence that measures performance against those goals, report evidence of student learning, and continuously work to improve results.

Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability is available for download. Hard copies will be available at no cost at the 2012 Higher Learning Commission Annual Conference.

Relations with Governmental Agencies

The U.S. Department of Education 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.

Other information about federal regulations.

HLC Receives Lumina Grant

The Commission is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant of $425,000 from the Lumina Foundation to explore the applicability and usefulness of Lumina’s Degree Qualifications Profile through HLC’s new Open Pathway model for reaffirmation of accreditation.

Commission Approves Policy Regarding ALO

At the November 2010 board meeting the Trustees passed a policy requiring each institution to designate an Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO).