National Center for Higher Education Management Systems

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State Uses of Accreditation: Results of a Fifty-State Inventory

Title: State Uses of Accreditation: Results of a Fifty-State Inventory
Author: Ewell, Peter T.
Boeke, Marianne
Zis, Stacey
Date: 2010
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Price: FREE
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Description: How states authorize postsecondary institutions to operate within their boundaries is one of the least well documented topics in higher education today.1 No two states do this the same way and jurisdictional boundaries among the state agencies that perform these functions are sometimes uncertain (Goldstein, Lacey, and Janiga 2006). The role of institutional accreditation in helping to ground these decisions is equally murky. Is accreditation required to apply for authorization to operate? If so, is there a defined window of time in which an institution must obtain accreditation? Or is there no relationship with accreditation whatsoever? Similarly, for programmatic or specialized accreditation in licensed occupations such as education or the health professions, is the completion of an accredited course of study required for an individual to obtain a license to practice or to sit for a licensing examination? And is appropriate programmatic or specialized accreditation required for institutions that only teach these fields to be authorized to operate within the state?