Standards Review Report

Standards Review Report | January 2023

Voting ended January 27, 2023. Please contact with any questions.

Standards Review Report | December 2022

Standards Ballot QR CodeVoting is open now through January 27, 2023!  The president or chief executive officer (CEO) from each member institution should cast a vote on the revisions to the 2014 Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation.


The President or CEO represents the institution and will vote on behalf of the institution. An email has been sent to all institutional CEOs listed as the key contact within the institution portal. The President/CEO is encouraged to seek input from other institutional representatives about the revisions including, but not limited to, the accreditation liaison officer (ALO). The President/CEO assistants and our ALOs also received a copy of the email communication to assist with the vote. Each MSCHE member institution may vote just once through the President/CEO.


Voting will remain open until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 27, 2023. If you have questions regarding the standards or voting process, please contact

Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation Cover PageStandards Review Report | November 2022

MSCHE is pleased to report the results of the Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation revision open comment period that took place from August 22 to September 9, 2022. Additionally, during the public comment period, MSCHE held three public sessions during which constituents could provide public comment and ask questions.

Public Comment

As a result of these efforts, 56 written comments were submitted as part of this phase of the review and ranged from general comments to those specific to the requirements of affiliation, with the most comments provided specific to the standards. In addition to these written comments, 434 constituents registered for the public review sessions, and 80% attended. The number at those public review sessions reflected 227 of our 518 institutions and 13 others from outside the institutional membership.

Constituents expressed general support for the revisions overall and praised the revision embedding the requirements of affiliation into the appropriate standards. Most comments were framed within Standards III, IV, and VII. Those comments and questions ranged from expectations relating to disaggregating data for students to definitions of terms and protections for student privacy. Other comments and questions sought to align terminology across the standards and better define new terms presented in the criteria.

Comments from Constituents

“This revision is extremely helpful. Many institutions, including my own, perform this cross-walking and it will be beneficial to standardize it.”

”Wonderful integration of the RA [requirements of affiliation] into existing standards. Thank you!”

”FANTASTIC revision, this requires significantly more accountability and documentation. This is great.”

“I appreciate the work to incorporate the requirements of affiliation throughout the standards, and believe that this will facilitate the peer-review process. It seems like this is also the intention for the verification of compliance with federal accreditation-relevant federal regulations. If this is in fact the case, then it may be worthwhile for the Commission to also review the criteria within the Institutional Federal Compliance Report for the potential to streamline this report further.”

“I just want to applaud the work of Middle States in the revision process, and as someone who just finished self-study and a visit, I love that those Requirements of Affiliation are now literally rolled in to the standards. So I just want to say from an ALO’s perspective, thank you.”

“I really appreciate the mission focus of Middle States.”

Draft Summary

Final draft standards based on all constituency engagement was presented at the November 2022 Commission meeting and endorsed by the Commission. All comments were reviewed and considered, and a summary of the results of the revision open comment period that took place from August 22 to September 9, 2022 is provided here and will be part of the reporting through the next phases of the review:

  • Content was added to the introduction to address questions and public comments about definitions, disaggregating data, and assessment.
  • Language in Requirement of Affiliation 4 was revised to reflect language the Communication in the Accreditation Process policy.
  • Terms educational goals, student achievement, and student outcomes have been aligned and revised where necessary.
  • Term subpopulations has been adjusted to reflect all student populations, which is consistent with phrasing in other standards and better illustrates the intention.
  • Standard II, Criterion 5 has been revised to clarify references within edited language reference to employment demographics.
  • Standard III, Criterion 1 has been separated into sub-criteria for clarity.
  • Term reasonably approximate in Standard III, Criterion 1.b aligns with federal regulation.
  • Language was added to Standard III, Criterion 2.c from Requirement of Affiliation 15 to clarify the meaning of core of faculty.
  • Term opportunities was revised to experiences in Standard III, Criterion 4 & Criterion 8 for consistency.
  • Standard VII, Criterion 2.h was revised to clarify restrictions on who may chair governing body.
  • The Evidence by Standard document is being developed to illustrate the Commission’s expectations for providing data and evidence by standard.

Process Overview

In November 2020, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) began its process of reviewing the 2014 Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation. As a quality assurance agency, the Commission holds itself to the same expectations that are applied to its member institutions to conduct periodic assessment of itself, its requirements, and its effectiveness.

The Commission’s policy, Review of Commission Standards, Requirements of Affiliation, and Policies, establishes the Commission’s commitment to periodically evaluate the Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation. As an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Secretary of Education, the Commission is required to meet all regulations, including Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 602.21 which defines the requirements for ongoing review of an agency’s standards to ensure that it is adequate to evaluate the quality of the education or training provided by the institutions and programs it accredits and relevant to the educational or training needs of students.

Standards Revision Vote and Implementation

Following the Commission vote in November 2022, the final draft for consideration was presented during the MSCHE 2022 Annual Conference on December 9, 2022, and presented for vote to the membership through our Presidents from the time of the Conference through January 27, 2023. The Commission will then vote to adopt the revised standards at their March 2023 Commission meeting. The revised standards will go into effect on July 1, 2023, and the Self-Study Institute offered to institutions in fall of 2023 will require the use of the revised standards.

Evidence by Standard Document

In conjunction with the standards revision project, MSCHE is developing further guidance on any identified data or evidence that institutions should submit to demonstrate how they meet the standard. The document will list the evidence by standard and will be finalized and released following the adoption of the revised standards. This document is based on evidence expected under the revised standards and aligns with evidence received and evaluated under the current standards.