• Constituent Council Responsibilities
  • Notifications
  • Substantive Change Reporting
  • Complaints
  • Logo Guidelines of Use
  • CEA Mechanics for Submission
  • CEA Strategic Plan
  • Annual Report

The Constituent Council plays an important role in the governance of CEA set forth in Section 19 Constituent Council Governing Rules. Since accreditation is a process of voluntary peer review, it is incumbent upon accredited sites to participate in the governance of the accrediting body. The purpose of the Constituent Council is to:

  1. nominate individuals employed by an accredited program or institution for consideration by the Nominating Committee to be elected to the Commission
  2. elect nonpublic members of the Commission
  3. make recommendations to the Commission regarding revisions to the CEA Standards and the CEA Policies and Procedures
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An accredited site must promptly notify CEA of the following events set forth in Section 8.2 Notifications to CEA:

  1. Change of primary contact
  2. Change of program or institution name
    • A change to the program or institution’s name will be amended on the CEA Directory of Accredited Sites on the CEA website, with the name under which the site was originally accredited included in the listing for six months.
  3. Closure of an accredited site
    • Closure of an accredited program or institution will be accepted by the Commission and public and agency notifications will be made. The closure will be included in notifications of Commission decisions within 10 days following the closure effective date.
  4. Closure of an auxiliary location
  5. Intent to let the current term of accreditation expire at least one year prior to the end date of the site’s current term of accreditation 
  6. Any substantive change as described in Section 9: Substantive Change
  7. Any change in state licensure or exemption status
  8. Any adverse action against the site by other accrediting agencies, or federal or state agencies. An accredited program must notify CEA of any such pending or final actions against the institution in which it resides.
  9. Any change that may affect the site’s compliance with CEA’s eligibility requirements, including extended operational hiatus.

CEA may withdraw the eligibility of a site, withdraw accreditation of a site, or take other action based on such notification if compliance with CEA’s policies is affected by the notification, and if necessary, after implementing the due process procedures described in Section 12: Advisory and Adverse Actions

Send notifications to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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When a change is under consideration, CEA staff should be consulted to determine whether it is a substantive or minor change and whether a substantive change report must be filed, and to assess how the change will affect the program or institution in terms of meeting the CEA Standards. Please contact Masha Vassilieva, Director of Compliance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (703) 665-3400.

The types of substantive changes that must be reported prior to the change taking place include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. any change in ownership, legal status, or form of control, including a change in the relationship with departments within a host institution. (Request and submit the appropriate document, either “Application for continuance of accreditation following a change of control” for programs or “Application for continuance of accreditation following a change of ownership” for institutions)
  2. the acquisition of any other institution, or program or location of another institution
  3. the addition of a permanent location at a site at which an accredited institution is conducting a teach-out for students of another institution that has ceased operating before students have completed their program of study
  4. any change in mission
  5. any change in location or the addition of an auxiliary location
  6. any change in the type of students served (academic to nonacademic, for example)
  7. any change in Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification
  8. the addition of courses that represent a significant departure, in terms of either content or method of delivery, from those offered during the most recent accreditation evaluation, including distance education
  9. the addition of courses or programs at a level below or a level above those included in the program or institution’s current accreditation
  10. a change in the means for determining student hours and/or a substantial increase or decrease in the number of clock or credit hours awarded for the successful completion of any program of study
  11. a substantial increase or decrease in the length of the program
  12. an increase or decrease of more than 50% in distance education enrollment or educational offerings
  13. change in resources that would affect the program or institution’s ability to provide its services

2024 CEA Substantive Change Reporting Guidelines.pdf

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Accredited programs and language institutions are expected to continue to meet the CEA Standards during the term of accreditation. A student, faculty or staff member, or any individual outside the program or institution who may have knowledge of an accredited program or institution’s alleged failure to maintain the CEA Standards may file a complaint with CEA as described in the CEA Policies and Procedures Section 15: Complaints.

Filing a Complaint Against an Accredited Site

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Use of the “Accredited by” logo in any fashion is restricted to programs or institutions currently accredited by CEA. Use of the tagline logo with “Leading by Advancing Standards” is for exclusive use by CEA.

Use of the logo must ensure that it is made clear to prospective students which programs and/or instructional locations are accredited by CEA and which are not.

CEA periodically verifies use of its logo by accredited sites. Sites found to be using the logo improperly will be notified and will be expected to resolve the issue within 30 days.

Announcement of accreditation should be made through use of the accreditation statement which appears in each site’s letter of accreditation. Sites found to be using inaccurate statements regarding CEA accreditation will be notified and will be expected to resolve the issue within 30 days.

Constituent Council guidelines require sites to publicly post the CEA Standards, along with the document “Filing a Complaint Against an Accredited Site," available on the Complaints tab above.

Electronic posting of the specific CEA webpages is acceptable using the following urls:

CEA Standards:

CEA Complaint Policy:

2024 Logo Guidelines of Use (PDF)

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Mechanics for Submission 

  • The response document with supporting documentation must be submitted as one zipped folder. If your response is too large to send by email, contact CEA to request an upload link.
  • The required format for the report is an editable Word document with hyperlinks to supporting documents. 
  • Supporting documentation must consist of stable documents which CEA is required to maintain for the length of the period of accreditation. You may NOT include links to any cloud-based document storage location. (URLs for publicly accessible web pages are acceptable.)
  • Supporting documents can be in any common file format (.pdf, .docs, .xlsx, .jpg, etc.). Do not embed supporting documentation within the main report document. Supporting documentation must be included as separate files, with hyperlinks in the main report document.
  • The response and all supporting documents should be contained within a single folder. Please do not use subfolders. 
  • If links to publicly accessible URLs are included, it is important to link to the specific webpage where the supporting information is found. For example, if a school’s URL is used, the hyperlink must be to the specific page where supporting information is located, not simply to the school’s homepage. 
  • Be sure that the name assigned to each supporting document in the main report file matches exactly the name of the document in the folder. 
  • Please keep file names short, and when naming a document, please do not use any of the following symbols, as they will not transfer to CEA’s files properly: “  #  %  &  *  :  <  >  ?  \  /  { }.   

 Creating Working Hyperlinks 

  • In order for the hyperlinks in the main report document to work properly, we recommend putting the response document and all supporting documents on a flash drive and then creating the links. Each document should be in the same folder as the response before you create hyperlinks. 
  • If the reference is to a specific page within a document, not to the document as a whole, include the page number with the listing of the document and link to that specific page. 
  • Prior to submitting to CEA, confirm that all hyperlinks are functional. The best way to do this is to give the flash drive to someone not connected at all with your program. Ask the person to put the flash drive in his/her computer and verify that all links are functional. 
  • Zip the folder after the hyperlinks have been created.

  2024 CEA Mechanics for Submission(Click to download Word doc)    

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CEA Strategic Plan 2021-2025

In all aspects of its work, CEA seeks to be mindful of:

  • environmental sustainability
  • equity and access


Priority 1: Advance high standards and lead accreditation practice to promote ESL program quality

Exemplify model accreditation practice through good governance, agency operations and on-site practices.
Continue to cultivate highly qualified commissioners, reviewers and staff.
Promote quality through clear and transparent standards that are well-understood by constituents and serve as models of good practice.

Priority 2: Respond appropriately to changing conditions in the field

Develop a systematic process for monitoring trends in the field.
Create a protocol to determine what actions should be taken, if any.
Communicate changes in policies and procedures effectively when trends require action impacting constituents.

Priority 3: Contribute to ongoing professionalization of the field through outreach, research and training

Educate potential stakeholders on the value of CEA accreditation.
Establish a research group to explore a research agenda.
Expand training opportunities for sites, reviewers, commissioners and staff, including exploring micro-credentialing.

Priority 4: Explore appropriate expansion of accreditation activities consistent with CEA’s mission

Establish scope of work and metrics for consideration of expansion.
Consider recommendations of the expansion task force.


Thanks to reviewers, staff, specialized contractors, and former and current commissioners who provided input through interviews and focus groups.
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In order to maintain accredited status, all accredited programs and institutions are required to submit an Annual Report to CEA. The 2024 Annual Report is due February 15, 2024.

Annual Report Portal - (for accredited sites to input their annual report data)

Please note that annual reports are different from the one-year reports. Annual reports are the same for every program, and every program (with a few exceptions) is required to file its annual report every year by February 15. One-year reports are produced by programs/institutions to address reporting requirements issued at the time of initial 1-year accreditation or 1-year reaccreditation. One-year reports have reporting requirements that are different for each site and have their own due dates (Typically Feb 1, Jun 1, or Sep 1).

Email questions any time to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



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