Public notification and disclosure

16. Public notification and disclosure

16.1. Ownership of site materials
16.2. Confidentiality
16.3. Public records
16.4. Upcoming reviews and public comments
16.5. Public notification of Commission decisions
16.6. Notifications following grants of accreditation
16.7. Other notifications
16.8. Reporting to the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Education
16.9. Reporting to other agencies
16.10. Other public information


16.    Public notification and disclosure

CEA keeps records of the review of each program and institution seeking accreditation.  Records are retained according to CEA’s records retention policy, which conforms to legal and business requirements.  CEA’s complete records retention policy, which includes a list of documents retained by CEA and specified timelines for each, is maintained in the Commission Procedural Manual and is available upon request from the CEA office.


16.1.    Ownership of site materials

All materials produced by the program or institution at any point during the accreditation process, including self-study reports, annual reports, interim reports, and responses to reporting requirements are considered to be the property of the site and will not be shared by CEA with any outside entity except as expressly approved by the site or as required by law, including federal and state agency regulations.  Sites are free to share their CEA-related materials as they so determine.  


16.2.    Confidentiality

All Commissioners, site reviewers, and CEA staff sign confidentiality agreements stating that any     and all information and materials related to sites must be maintained in a confidential manner,     maintained in adherence to CEA’s records retention and destruction policies, and disclosed only as expressly directed by CEA and in fulfillment of CEA policies.


16.3.    Public records

16.3.1.    Accreditation criteria

CEA makes publicly available on its website written materials describing each type of accreditation that it grants and the criteria and procedures it uses to determine whether to grant, reaffirm, reinstate, deny, restrict, revoke, or take any other action related to each type of accreditation.  

16.3.2.    Governance and employees

CEA lists the names and relevant employment affiliation of the members of the Commission, the executive director, and other staff on its website.  CEA will provide academic and professional qualifications upon request.

16.3.3.    Accredited sites

Accredited sites, along with the current period of accreditation for each, are listed on the CEA website in the accredited schools directory.

 
16.4.    Upcoming reviews and public comments

At least 30 days before the accreditation decision, CEA informs the public, including the professional community, of the date of the next Commission meeting and provides a list of the programs and institutions which will be reviewed. In keeping with U. S. Department of Education regulations, public comments regarding programs and institutions coming up for review are solicited at this time, to be considered by the Commission as part of the review process.


16.5.     Public notification of Commission decisions

No later than 30 days following the accreditation decision, CEA publishes the results of the Commission’s accreditation decisions to sites, the public, and appropriate agencies.


16.6.    Notifications following grants of accreditation

CEA provides written notice of any grant of accreditation to the Secretary of the Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency (if any), appropriate accrediting agencies, the professional community, and the public.

16.6.1.    Notifications following probation and adverse actions

Specific notification timelines apply in the following cases.  

a.    A decision to deny, withdraw, suspend or terminate accreditation.
b.    A decision to place an accredited site on probation.
c.    A final decision to uphold a decision to deny following an appeal or the expiration of the time for filing of an appeal of actions for which there is a right of appeal.

For these types of decisions,

1.    no later than 30 working days after it reaches a decision and at the same time that it notifies the program or institution, CEA provides written notice to the Secretary of the Department of Education, the appropriate office at the Department of Homeland Security, the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency (if any), and accrediting agencies.

2.    no later than 24 hours after issuing the notice to the program or institution for the decisions, CEA provides written notice to the public.

16.6.2.    Additional notifications following final decisions to deny, withdraw, suspend, or     terminate accreditation

Following a final decision to deny, withdraw, suspend, or terminate accreditation, CEA prepares a brief statement summarizing the reasons for the agency’s final determination.  This brief statement is sent to the site, which may make comments that respond to the reasons for the denial, withdrawal, suspension, or termination.  The site’s responsive comments conclude the exchange and will not constitute a basis for reconsideration of the decision.  

CEA’s brief statement and the site’s responsive comments will be forwarded to the Secretary of the Department of Education, the appropriate office at the Department of Homeland Security, licensing agencies, and to the public through posting on the CEA website. If no response is made, evidence that the affected program or institution has been offered the opportunity to comment will be forwarded in lieu of a response. CEA reserves the right to redact inflammatory language from the responsive comments before public posting.


16.7.    Other notifications

In addition, for the following decisions, CEA provides written notice within 30 working days to the Secretary of the Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency, and accrediting agencies.

a.    A decision by a program or institution to withdraw voluntarily from accreditation.
b.    A decision by a program or institution to let its accreditation expire at the end of the period of accreditation.
c.    A decision by a program or institution to close.
d.    A decision by the Commission to put a site on probation.


16.8.    Reporting to the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Education

On its website, CEA will make continuously available to the Secretary of the Department of Education an updated list of accredited programs and institutions.  CEA will provide the Secretary with any annual report CEA prepares.  It will submit for Department review any proposed changes in CEA’s policies, procedures, or accreditation standards that might alter its scope of recognition or compliance with the criteria for recognition.  CEA will also provide such information at any time upon request by the Secretary of Education.

CEA does not accredit institutions that participate in Title IV Higher Education Act programs.  However, if CEA has any reason to believe that an institution in which a CEA-accredited program resides is failing to meet its Title IV responsibilities or is engaged in fraud or abuse, CEA will inform the Secretary of Education.  CEA will also respond to any request for information from the Secretary of Education related to an institution’s compliance with its Title IV responsibilities.

CEA will notify the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education within 30 days of CEA action as a result of adverse actions by other accrediting agencies and federal or state agencies as discussed in Section 8: Maintaining accredited status.


16.9.    Reporting to other agencies

16.9.1.    Accreditation status

CEA provides directory information about accredited programs and institutions to appropriate agencies upon request, including the name of the accredited program or institution, physical address, term of accreditation, date of next review and whether or not the program or institution is in good standing.

CEA does not share information about sites in the process of seeking accreditation, except as indicated in fraud reporting below.

16.9.2.    Possible fraud/serious irregularities

CEA will submit to appropriate state, local and federal authorities, any information indicating that an accredited program or institution, or a program or institution that has applied to CEA for accreditation or is in the process of seeking accreditation, may be engaged in fraud and/or serious irregularities that would jeopardize its ability to achieve or maintain accreditation.

16.9.3.    Accreditation status requests

Upon request, CEA makes available to federal agencies, and recognized accrediting and state approval agencies, information about the status of any program or institution and any adverse actions it has taken against an accredited program or institution.


16.10.    Other public information

CEA’s published materials, including the CEA Policies and Procedures, the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions, the current Fee Schedule, and a summary of each Commission meeting are available to the general public at the CEA website.

 
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Policy Key and History
SECTION: 16
SUBJECT: Public notification and disclosure
LAST REVIEWED: January 2017