The Distance Education Accrediting Commission has the authority to establish and promulgate criteria for the evaluation and accreditation of distance education institutions. These criteria take the form of Accreditation Standards, Policies, and Procedures set forth in the DEAC Accreditation Handbook. The Accrediting Commission uses these criteria as it evaluates institutions and makes accreditation decisions. The criteria are under a continual and systematic review. Changes are made as appropriate and as required.

Persons, institutions and organizations with an interest in the Commission's accreditation standards and policies are invited to comment on Proposed Accreditation Standards, Policies and Procedures. and will be notified of the date for when any changes will be given final consideration by the Accrediting Commission. Interested persons, institutions, and organizations will be given at least 30 days to file written comments with the Executive Director of the Accrediting Commission.

The Accrediting Commission, after considering written comments, will conduct a further review of changes proposed to the Standards, Policies and Procedures. The Commission may adopt the changes to Accreditation Standards, Policies and Procedures as proposed, adopt with changes or modifications, defer action until further study and consideration is given, or discard the proposed changes altogether.

The Commission met on May 22, 2020 to review Part Two, Policies and Procedures, of the DEAC Accreditation Handbook and to consider changes that align DEAC procedures with final regulations governing the recognition of accrediting agencies for postsecondary education. The Commission is issuing a Call for Comment on the proposed changes, that include:

  • extending the maximum time period to demonstrate compliance with DEAC accreditation standards from 12 months to two years;
  • initiating immediate adverse action, without prior notice, if an institution's violation of DEAC standards or policies warrant such immediate action;
  • requiring institutions to notify current and prospective students of an adverse action or show cause order within seven business days;
  • an expansion of the substantive change list and extension of institutional options in the substantive change approval process;
  • procedures for institutions certified by DEAC to participate in Title IV to add competency-based or direct assessment programs;
  • refinements to the appeal process and changes to the authority of the appeals panel; and
  • new requirements for institutions engaging in a teach-out agreement.

In addition to proposing the changes listed above, the Commission clarified and reinforced the description of policies and procedures for determining eligibility for accreditation, readiness assessment, appealing an adverse action and arbitration. These revisions are intended to be refinements to existing policies and procedures, and not material changes. Nevertheless, the Commission is calling attention to the revisions and is inviting institutions, stakeholders and the public to offer their comments. 

Click here to view the Call for Comment on proposed changes to the DEAC Accreditation Handbook, Part Two, Policies and Procedures.

The Commission will receive comments through June 22, 2020. Please provide any written comments via email to Dr. Leah Matthews by June 22, 2020.  

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