MSCHE Policy Update Effective July 1, 2022

The following newly revised policies were approved by the Commission and will be effective July 1, 2022. Upon the effective date, documents will be available in the Browse Policies and Procedures section of the MSCHE website.

The Commission approved the following policy revisions at its June 23, 2022 meeting. As part of its policy development and review process, the Commission issued a public call for comments for each policy. Comments were reviewed by policy staff, and where appropriate, additional clarification and guidance were incorporated in the final version.

The Commission is finalizing training programs for institutions and peer evaluators to explain the Commission’s expectations for all three policy areas.

Credit Hour Policy and Procedures

The Credit Hour Policy and Procedures state that institutions may use different methodologies for determining the assignment of credit hours. The methodology for assigning credit hours should accurately represent the level of instruction, academic rigor, and time requirements of a course taken and educational programs should be of sufficient content, depth, and program length appropriate to the objectives of the degree or credential. Both within and between institutions, consistency in credit hour determinations has implications for the transferability of credit and minimizing the loss of credit for students. The definitions for clock hour and credit hour were updated to align with revised federal regulations in 34 C.F.R.  600.2.

New procedures were developed to reflect these requirements and the action steps for review by the Commission. As part of accreditation activities, the Commission will review an institution’s policy, procedures, and/or methodology for determining credit hour to determine if the methodology used appears to be a reasonable approximation of an amount of student work and is consistent with commonly accepted practice in postsecondary education.

Transfer of Credit, Prior Learning, and Articulation Agreements Policy, Procedures, and Guidelines

The Transfer of Credit, Prior Learning, and Articulation Agreements Policy and Procedures hold institutions accountable for consistency, fairness, and transparency in transfer of credit decisions. The Commission remains flexible and allows institutions to determine their own policy and procedures with regard to transfer of credit, so long as the institution strives for appropriate balance among consistency, fairness, flexibility, good educational practice, and academic program integrity. The new policy encourages institutions to minimize the loss of credits for students. It also encourages the consideration of new and innovative methods or sources for learning and alternative assessment methods. The definitions for clock hour and credit hour were updated to align with revised federal regulations in 34 CFR 600.2.

New procedures were developed to reflect these requirements and the action steps for review by the Commission. As part of accreditation activities, the Commission will review an institution’s transfer of credit policies and/or procedures to determine if they appear to be consistent, fair and equitable, and transparent.

New guidelines were developed to describe best practices related to the development, enhancement, and implementation of policies related to transfer of credit, prior learning, and articulation.

Related Entities Policy and Procedures

The Related Entities Policy and Procedures require the institution and any related entities to provide full disclosure, cooperate and respond to the Commission’s requests, and engage in the accreditation process. The Commission must have sufficient information about an institution’s relationship with other entities in order to determine that the institution meets minimum requirements and is eligible to apply for accreditation or that the institution demonstrates continued compliance with Commission standards for accreditation, requirements of affiliation, policies and procedures, and applicable federal regulatory requirements.

New procedures were developed to reflect these requirements and the action steps for review by the Commission. As part of accreditation activities, the institution is responsible for fully disclosing relationships with other entities and providing necessary documentation to explain the impact of that relationship on any significant matters such as governance, independence and autonomy, management and administration, and financial viability and stability. The Commission will review an institution’s relationship with a related entity to understand if that relationship impacts the institution’s compliance. The Commission may communicate with representatives from a related entity and may request additional information about a related entity if necessary to determine compliance.