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MSCHE Standards and Requirements of Affiliation

Standard 1: Mission and Goals: “The institution’s mission defines its purpose within the context of higher education, the students its serves, and what it intends to accomplish. The institution’s stated goals are clearly linked to its mission and specify how the institution fulfills its mission.”

Standard II: Ethics and Integrity: “Ethics and integrity are central, indispensable, and defining hallmarks of effective higher education institutions. In all activities, whether internal or external, an institution must be faithful to its mission, honor its contracts and commitments, adhere to its policies, and represent itself truthfully.”

Standard 3: Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience: “An institution provides students with learning experiences that are characterized by rigor and coherence in all program, certificate, and degree levels, regardless of instructional modality. All learning experiences, regardless of modality, program, pace/schedule, level, and setting, are consistent with higher education expectations.”

Standard IV: Support of the Student Experience: “Across all educational experiences, settings, levels, and instructional modalities, the institution recruits and admits students whose interests, abilities, experiences, and goals are congruent with its mission and educational offerings. The institution commits to student retention, persistence, completion, and success through a coherent and effective support system sustained by qualified professionals, which enhances the quality of the learning environment, contributes to the educational experience, and fosters student success.”

Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment: “Assessment of student learning and achievement demonstrates that the institution’s students have accomplished educational goals consistent with their programs of study, degree level, the institution’s mission, and appropriate expectations for institutions of higher education.”

Standard VI: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement: “The institution’s planning processes, resources, and structures are aligned with each other and are sufficient to fulfill its mission and goals, to continuously assess and improve its programs and services, and to respond effectively to opportunities and challenges.”

Standard VII: Governance, Leadership, and Administration: “The institution is governed and administered in a manner that allows it to realize its stated mission and goals in a way that effectively benefits the institution, its student, and the other constituencies it serves. Even when supported by or affiliated with governmental, corporate, religious, educational system, or other unaccredited organizations, the institution has education as its primary purpose, and it operates as an academic institution with appropriate autonomy.”

Requirement for Affiliation 1: Licensed to Operate: “The institution is authorized or licensed to operate as a postsecondary educational institution and to award postsecondary degrees; it provides written documentation demonstrating both. Authorization or licensure is from an appropriate governmental organization or agency within the Middle States region (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), as well as by other agencies as required by each of the jurisdictions, regions, or countries in which the institution operates.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 2: Institution is Operational: “The institution is operational, with students actively enrolled in its degree programs.”

Requirement for Affiliation 3: Has Graduated at Least One Class: “For institutions pursuing Candidacy or Initial Accreditation, the institution will graduate at least one class before the evaluation team visit for initial accreditation takes place, unless the institution can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the lack of graduates does not compromise its ability to demonstrate that students have achieved appropriate learning outcomes.”

Requirement for Affiliation 4: Communicated with Commission in English: “The institution’s representatives communicate with the Commission in English, both orally and in writing.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 5: Compliance with laws and regulations: “The institution complies with all applicable government (usually Federal and state) laws and regulations.”

Requirement for Affiliation 6: Compliance with Commission, Inter-regional, and Inter-institutional Policies: “The institution complies with applicable Commission, interregional, and inter-institutional policies. These policies can be viewed on the Commission website,”

Requirement for Affiliation 7: Mission and Goals: “The institution has a mission statement and related goals, approved by its governing board, that defines its purposes within the context of higher education.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 8: Systematic Evaluation of All Programs: “The institution systematically evaluates its educational and other programs and makes public how well and in what ways it is accomplishing its purposes.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 9: Student Learning Programs—Rigor, Coherence, and Assessment: “The institution’s student learning programs and opportunities are characterized by rigor, coherence, and appropriate assessment of student achievement throughout the educational offerings, regardless of certificate or degree level or delivery and instructional modality.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 10: Institutional Planning: “Institutional planning integrates goals for academic and institutional effectiveness and improvement, student achievement of educational goals, student learning, and the results of academic and institutional assessments.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 11: Financial Resources: “The institution has documented financial resources, funding base, and plans for financial development, including those from any related entities (including without limitation systems, religious sponsorship, and corporate ownership) adequate to support its educational purposes and programs and to ensure financial stability. The institution demonstrates a record of responsible fiscal management, has a prepared budget for the current year, and undergoes an external financial audit on an annual basis.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 12: Governance Structure: “The institution fully discloses its legally constituted governance structure(s) including any related entities (including without limitation systems, religious sponsorship, and corporate ownership). The institution’s governing body is responsible for the quality and integrity of the institution and for ensuring that the institution’s mission is being accomplished.”

Requirement for Affiliation 13: Governing Board Conflicts of Interest: “A majority of the institution’s governing body’s members have no employment, family, ownership, or other personal financial interest in the institution. The governing body adheres to a conflict of interest policy that assures that those interests are disclosed and that they do not interfere with the impartiality of governing body members or outweigh the greater duty to secure and ensure the academic and fiscal integrity of the institution. The institution’s district/system or other chief executive officer shall not serve as the chair of the governing body.” 

Requirement for Affiliation 14: Governing Body Provides Information: “The institution and its governing body/bodies make freely available to the Commission accurate, fair, and complete information on all aspects of the institution and its operations. The governing body/bodies ensure that the institution describes itself in comparable and consistent terms to all of its accrediting and regulatory agencies, communicates any changes in accredited status, and agrees to disclose information (including levels of governing body compensation, if any) required by the Commission to carry out its accrediting responsibilities.”

Requirement for Affiliation 15: Core of Faculty and/or Other Appropriate Professionals: “The institution has a core of faculty (full-time or part-time) and/or other appropriate professionals with sufficient responsibility to the institution to assure the continuity and coherence of the institution’s educational programs.”

Contact the Middle States Self Study Committee Co-chaired by Dr. Tracy Schoolcraft, Dr. José Ricardo, and Dr. Gretchen Pierce. Please direct all media inquiries to Dr. Tracy Schoolcraft: Phone: 717-477-1371