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Accreditation
Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.

Accreditation Expiration Date
Effective January 2017, this field has changed from reporting the 'next review date' for the institution/program to the 'accreditation expiration date.' The date listed may not reflect the accurate 'accreditation expiration date.' Please contact the accrediting agency for the institution/program should you have questions about this field.

Accreditation Reaffirmed: Probation Removed
Agency reaffirms institution's accreditation after the institution successfully addressed all requirements for removing probation status.

Accreditation Reaffirmed: Warning Removed
Agency reaffirms institution's accreditation after institution successfully addressed all requirements for removing warning status.

Accreditation Reinstated: Termination Overturned on Appeal
Agency reaffirms institution’s accreditation after institution successfully appealed termination decision.

Accredited
Institutions and/or programs that request an agency's evaluation and that meet an agency's criteria are then "accredited" by that agency.

Accrediting agencies
Organizations (or bodies) that establish operating standards for educational or professional institutions and programs, determine the extent to which the standards are met, and publicly announce their findings.

Affirm Denial Following Appeal
Report of the agency’s final decision, following an appeal, to uphold the earlier action of the agency to deny or withdraw accreditation.

Agency No Longer Recognized
The accrediting agency is no longer recognized by the Department of Education as a guarantor of educational quality and “gatekeeper” for federal student aid.

Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
CHEA is a coordinating agency that carries out a recognition of accrediting agencies function in the private, nongovernmental sector.

Deny Accreditation
Agency refuses to accredit an institution seeking initial accreditation.

Deny Substantive Change: Degree
Report of the agency’s decision to deny a request for change in regard to degrees awarded by the institution.

Deny Substantive Change: Final Branch Approval
Report of the agency’s decision to deny a request for change in regard to any additional branch campus.

Deny Substantive Change: Other
Report of the agency’s decision to deny a request for any other substantive change, apart from the ones listed individually.
Deny Substantive Change: Ownership
Report of the agency’s decision to deny a request for change in regard to ownership of the institution.
Deny Substantive Change: Program
Report of the agency’s decision to deny a request for change in programs offered by the institution.
Distance education
An educational process that is characterized by the separation, in time or place, between instructor and student.
Freestanding
Freestanding means not part of a larger college or university that is accredited by a regional accredited agency or another nationally recognized institutional accrediting agency. In general, a freestanding institution is a separate single-purpose institution that offers a specialized program of study in a particular field.
Grant Substantive Change: Degree
Report of the agency’s decision to approve a request for change in regard to Degrees awarded by the institution.
Grant Substantive Change: Final Branch Approval
Report of the agency’s decision to approve a request for change in regard to any additional branch campus the agency approved for the institution.
Grant Substantive Change: Other
Report of the agency’s decision to approve a request for any other substantive change, apart from the ones listed individually, after the agency has accredited or preaccredited the institution.
Grant Substantive Change: Ownership
Report of the agency’s decision to approve a request for change in the ownership of an institution after the agency has accredited or preaccredited the institution.
Grant Substantive Change: Program
Report of the agency’s decision to approve a request for change in programs offered by the institution.
Increased Monitoring or Focused Review
Agency subjects an institution to additional oversight for a variety of compliance issues. If as defined or applied by the agency the status is equivalent to or more severe than probation as described above, Increased Monitoring should be reported as “Probation or equivalent or more severe status: Other.”
Initial Accreditation
Agency grants accreditation to an institution for the first time.
Institution Closed
The institution no longer exists.
Institutional accreditation
Institutional accreditation normally applies to an entire institution, indicating that each of an institution’s parts is contributing to the achievement of the institution’s objectives, although not necessarily all at the same level of quality.
Institutional accrediting agency
An agency that accredits institutions of higher education.
Internship site
A location used for the supervised practical training of advanced students or recent graduates in areas such as medicine, psychology, and dietetics.
IPEDS Unit ID
A unique identification number for institutions that participate in the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System Survey.
Loss of Accreditation or Preaccreditation: Denial
Agency terminates or refused to renew an institution's accreditation.
Loss of Accreditation or Preaccreditation: Lapse
Institution or program lets its accreditation or preaccreditation lapse.
Loss of Accreditation or Preaccreditation: Other
Institution or program losses accreditation as a result of reasons other than denial, lapse, or voluntary withdrawal.
Loss of Accreditation or Preaccreditation: Voluntary Withdrawal
Institution or program notifies the agency of its decision to withdraw voluntarily from accreditation or preaccreditation.
Nationally recognized accrediting agencies
National accrediting agencies are recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education they accredit. These agencies accredit single-purpose institutions.
No Longer Recognized
The process of seeking and renewing recognition from the Department is a demanding one for accrediting agencies, and not always essential to their mission. On occasion, agencies request to withdraw from recognition. On other occasions, the Department withdraws its recognition, upon a determination that an agency no longer meets recognition criteria. Because recognition decisions, in the first instance, concern accrediting agencies rather than accredited institutions and programs, a cessation of recognition should not simply be presumed to reflect negatively on the quality of the institutions or programs accredited by that agency. For this reason, the Department is authorized to permit institutions participating in the federal student aid programs that are accredited by an agency that is no longer recognized up to 18 months of continued participation to obtain alternative accreditation from a different, recognized agency. For the same reason, the Department will continue to include on this list for 18 months institutions and programs accredited by agencies that are no longer recognized, but will indicate that the accrediting agency no longer has recognized status by inserting (No Longer Recognized) by the name of the agency each time it appears in the listing.
OPE ID
Identification number used by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) to identify schools that have Program Participation Agreements (PPA) so that its students are eligible to participate in Federal Student Financial Assistance programs under Title IV regulations. This is a 6-digits number followed by a 2-digit suffix used to identify branches, additional locations, and other entities that are part of the eligible institution.
Outlying areas
Includes American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Postsecondary education
The provision of a formal instructional program whose curriculum is designed primarily for students who are beyond the compulsory age for high school. This includes programs whose purpose is academic, vocational, and continuing professional education, and excludes avocational and adult basic education programs.
Postsecondary education institution
An institution which has as its sole purpose or one of its primary missions, the provision of postsecondary education.
Preaccreditation
The status of public recognition that an accrediting agency grants to an institution or program for a limited period of time that signifies the agency has determined that the institution or program is progressing towards accreditation and is likely to gain accreditation before the expiration of that limited period of time.
Preaccreditation
Agency grants preliminary accreditation to institution; institution needs to meet certain additional requirements to earn fully accredited status.
Private institution
An educational institution controlled by a private individual(s) or by a nongovernmental agency, usually supported primarily by other than public funds, and operated by other than publicly elected or appointed officials. These institutions may be either for-profit or not-for-profit.
Probation or Equivalent or a More Severe Status: Other
Any other status or term used by an agency for an action that is equivalent to or more severe than probation as described above, regardless of how it is defined or applied by the agency.
Probation or Equivalent or a More Severe Status: Probation
An action or assessment that indicates an institution or program is significantly out of compliance with one or more of the accrediting agency’s standards, but it is possible that the noncompliance could be remedied by the institution or program within a period allowed by the agency and the regulations. (Please refer to Section 2 of the terminology and reporting guidance letter for further clarification).
Probation or Equivalent or a More Severe Status: Show Cause
A show cause status that is equivalent to or more severe than probation as described above, regardless of how it is defined or applied by the agency. If there is a serious compliance issue that must be addressed by the institution or program to retain its accreditation, but it is not intended to be more severe then probation then that should be reported as ‘Show Cause.’
Probation or Equivalent or a More Severe Status: Warning
A warning status that is equivalent to or more severe than probation as described above, regardless of how it is defined or applied by the agency.
Program
A postsecondary educational program offered by an institution of higher education that leads to an academic or professional degree, certificate, or other recognized educational credential.
Program Participation Agreement (PPA)
A written agreement between a postsecondary institution and the Secretary of Education. This agreement allows institutions to participate in any of the Title IV student assistance programs other than the State Student Incentive Grant (SSIG) and the National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (NEISP) programs. The PPA conditions the initial and continued participation of an eligible institution in any Title IV program upon compliance with the General Provisions regulations, the individual program regulations, and any additional conditions specified in the program participation agreement that the Department of Education requires the institution to meet. Institutions with such an agreement are referred to as Title IV institutions.
Public institution
An educational institution whose programs and activities are operated by publicly elected or appointed school officials and which is supported primarily by public funds.
Regional accrediting agencies
Regional accrediting agencies are recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as reliable authorities concerning the quality of education or training offered by the institutions of higher education they accredit. The individual agencies accredit institutions in specific geographic regions of the country.
Removal of Show Cause Status
Agency determines that an institution has satisfactorily addressed serious compliance issues for it to retain its accreditation status.
Renewal of Accreditation
Agency reaffirms institution's accreditation after periodic review of compliance with accrediting standards.
Residency site
A location used for the specialized clinical training of physicians.
Resigned
Denotes an institution or program that voluntarily withdrew its recognition as an accredited institution or program.
Review of Teach-Out-Plan
Agency’s review of a written plan developed by an institution that provides for the equitable treatment of students if an institution, or an institutional location that provides one hundred percent of at least one program, ceases to operate before all students have completed their program of study, and may include, if required by the institution's accrediting agency, a teach-out agreement between institutions.
Show Cause
Any serious compliance issue that must be addressed by an institution in order to retain its accreditation. If as defined or applied by the agency the status is equivalent to or more severe than probation as described above, Show Cause should be reported as “Probation or equivalent or more severe status: Show Cause”.
Specialized accreditation
Specialized accreditation normally applies to the evaluation of programs, departments, or schools which usually are parts of a total collegiate or other postsecondary institution. The unit accredited may be as large as a college or school within a university or as small as a curriculum within a discipline. Most of the specialized accrediting agencies review units within a postsecondary institution which is accredited by one of the regional accrediting commissions. However, certain of the specialized accrediting agencies accredit professional schools and other specialized or vocational or other postsecondary institutions which are free-standing in their operations. Thus, a "specialized" or "programmatic" accrediting agency may also function in the capacity of an "institutional" accrediting agency. In addition, a number of specialized accrediting agencies accredit educational programs within non-educational settings, such as hospitals.
Specialized accrediting agencies
Agencies that accredit specific educational programs that prepare students for entry into a profession, occupation, or vocation. These agencies are also known as programmatic accreditors. Some specialized accrediting agencies are recognized for the accreditation of freestanding, single purpose institutions in addition to the accreditation of specialized programs at larger institutions.
State accrediting agencies
There are two types of state agencies: those recognized for the approval of postsecondary vocational education, and those recognized for the approval of nurse education.
Stay Denial Pending Appeal
Report of the status of an institution or program prior to the agency’s final decision on an appeal filed by that institution or program against the agency’s action to deny or withdraw accreditation.
Terminated
The status of an institution or program that an agency no longer accredits.
Title IV institution
An institution that has a written agreement with the Secretary of Education that allows the institution to participate in any of the Title IV federal student financial assistance programs (other than the State Student Incentive Grant (SSIG) and the National Early Intervention Scholarship and Partnership (NEISP) programs).
Vocational education
A program of training to prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation.
Warning or Equivalent -- Factors Affecting Academic Quality
Agency’s concern about an institution’s potential noncompliance that could result in probation if not addressed. Such actions may include warnings, notations, or admonitions regarding issues that may affect academic quality. If the Warning status as defined or applied by the agency is less severe than probation as defined above, agencies are not required but highly encouraged to report such actions. If the Warning status as defined or applied by the agency is equivalent to or more severe than probation, Warning should be reported as “Probation or equivalent or more severe status: Other”.