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Policies, Guidelines & Procedures

In addition to the Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation, these policies, procedures, and guidelines address the responsibilities of the Commission and its member institutions. The Commission’s handbooks, publications, and these policies provide a comprehensive set of documents describing all aspects of the Commission’s accreditation review protocol and related activities.


The Commission invites comments on proposed policy revisions.  Click here to review and comment or to review policies on a current ballot.


I: Accreditation Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines


Good Practice for Accrediting in Higher Education (PDF)


Institutional Responsibilities in the Accreditation Process (PDF)


Principles for Good Practices: Regional Accrediting Commissions (Word)



Substantive Change Policy (Effective January 1, 2018)

Substantive Change Procedures (Effective January 1, 2018)


Complex Substantive Change Preliminary Review Form (NEW!)


Substantive Change Request Form (Effective April 1, 2018)


Substantive Change Review Report


Complex Substantive Change Review Report


Complex Substantive Change Confidential Brief


Substantive Change Visits to Branch Campuses and Additional Locations (Word)



Separately Accreditable Institutions  (Word)


The Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO): Role and Responsibilities (PDF)


Dues and Fees Policy (Effective July 1, 2018)


Dues and Fees Procedures 2018-19


Dues and Fees: Effective July 1, 2017 for 2017-18


Credit Hour Policy (PDF)



II: The Peer Review Process


Accreditation Review Cycle and Monitoring (PDF) (formerly Cycle and Timing of Accreditation Review)


Accreditation Actions (formerly Range of Commission Actions on Accreditation) (PDF)

Guidelines for Determining Recommendations, Requirements, and Proposed Commission Actions: Decennial Evaluations and Periodic Review Reports  (PDF)


Standardized Language for Commission Actions on Accreditation and Examples of Options for Follow-up (PDF)


Follow-up Reports and Visits (PDF)


Electronic Submission of Materials and Reports (PDF)


Institutional Evaluator from the Commission Accompanying a Specialized Accrediting Agency's Team (Word)


Selection of Peer Evaluators (PDF)


Evaluation Team Associates (Word)


Conflict of Interest: Commission Representatives (PDF)

Advance Notice of Non-Compliance Recommendations (PDF)


III: Institutional Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines


Transfer Credit, Prior Learning, and Articulation (PDF)


Contracts by Accredited and Candidate Institutions for Education-related Services (PDF)


Related Entities (Word) (formerly Institutions with Related Entities)


Athletic Programs (Word)


Merging or Closing a Postsecondary Institution or Program Site (PDF)



IV: Public and Government Relationships and Communication


Communication in the Accreditation Process 


Published Information


Government Agencies and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Word)


Political Intervention in Education (Word)



V: International Programs


International Programs Offered by Accredited Institutions (Word)


Institutions Located Outside the United States (PDF)


International Travel by Commission Staff and Volunteers (Word)



VI: Commission Policies and Procedures


Review of Commission Standards, Requirements of Affiliation, and Policy (PDF)


Conflict of Interest: Commission Employees (PDF)


Committee Meeting Guidelines (PDF)


Travel Expenses (PDF)


Maintenance and Retention of Commission Records (PDF)

Records Retention Schedule (PDF)

Discovery Requests and Litigation Expense (PDF)

Fielding Inquiries from the Media (Word)

Consideration of Actions Taken by Regional, National, and Specialized Accrediting Associations (PDF)

Calculation of Next Accreditation Action (PDF)

World Wide Web Policy (PDF)


VII: Complaints, Comments, and Appeals


Complaints Involving Member and Candidate Institutions (PDF)


Third-party Comment (PDF)


Complaints Against the Commission (PDF)


Appeals from Adverse Accrediting Actions (PDF)

Show Cause Appearance Before the Commission Prior to Withdrawal of Accreditation (PDF)



© 2018 Middle States Commission on Higher Education