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IFAP
FSA Information for Financial Aid Professionals
U.S. Department of Education

Citations: (R)602.26
AsOfDate: 12/31/97

Sec. 602.26 Required accreditation standards.

(a)(1) To be listed by the Secretary as a nationally recognized accrediting agency, an accrediting agency must
demonstrate to the Secretary that its accreditation or preaccreditation standards, or both, are sufficiently rigorous to
ensure that the agency is a reliable authority as to the quality of the education or training provided by the
institutions or programs it accredits.

(2) For a programmatic accrediting agency that does not serve as an institutional accrediting agency for any of the
programs it accredits, the standards must address the areas contained in paragraph (b) of this section in terms of the
type and level of the program rather than in terms of the institution.

(3) If none of the institutions an agency accredits participates in any Title IV, HEA program, or if the agency only
accredits programs within institutions accredited by an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the
Secretary, the accrediting agency is not required to have the standards described in paragraphs (b)(7), (b)(8),
(b)(10), and (b)(12) of this section.

(b) In order to assure that an accrediting agency is a reliable authority as to the quality of the education or training
provided by an institution or program it accredits, the agency must have standards that effectively address the
quality of an institution or program in the following areas:

(1) Curricula.

(2) Faculty.

(3) Facilities, equipment, and supplies.

(4) Fiscal and administrative capacity as appropriate to the specified scale of operations.

(5) Student support services.

(6) Recruiting and admissions practices, academic calendars, catalogs, publications, grading, and advertising.

(7) Program length and tuition and fees in relation to the subject matters taught and the objectives of the degrees or
credentials offered.

(8) Measures of program length in clock hours or credit hours.

(9) Success with respect to student achievement in relation to mission, including, as appropriate, consideration of
course completion, State licensing examination, and job placement rates.

(10) Default rates in the student loan programs under Title IV of the Act, based on the most recent data provided by
the Secretary.

(11) Record of student complaints received by, or available to, the agency.

(12) Compliance with the institution's program responsibilities under Title IV of the Act, including any results of
financial or compliance audits, program reviews, and such other information as the Secretary may provide to the
agency.

(c)(1) An accrediting agency shall take appropriate action if its review of an institution or program under any
standard indicates that the institution or program is not in compliance with that standard.

(2) If the agency believes that the institution or program is not in compliance with the standards, the agency shall--

(i) Take prompt adverse action against the institution or program; or

(ii) Require the institution or program to take appropriate action to bring itself into compliance with the agency's
standards within a time frame specified by the agency.

(3) The accrediting agency has sole discretion to determine the course of action it chooses under paragraph (c)(2)
of this section and, if it selects the option specified in paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section, the time frame for the
institution or program to bring itself into compliance with agency standards. However, except as indicated in
paragraph (c)(4) of this section, the specified period may not exceed--

(i) Twelve months, if the program is less than one year in length;

(ii) Eighteen months, if the program is at least one year, but less than two years, in length; or

(iii) Two years, if the program is at least two years in length.

(4) If the institution or program does not bring itself into compliance within the specified period, the agency must
take adverse action unless the agency extends the period for achieving compliance for good cause.

(d) An accrediting agency shall have a reasonable basis for determining that the information it relies on for making
the assessments described in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section is accurate.

(e) An accrediting agency that has established and applies the standards in paragraph (b) of this section may
establish any additional accreditation standards as it deems appropriate.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1091, 1099b)