|(a) Eligibility Criteria--The Board may recognize accrediting
agencies with a commitment to academic quality and student achievement
that demonstrate, through an application process, compliance with
the following criteria:
(1) Eligibility. The accrediting agency's application
for recognition must demonstrate that the entity:
(A) Is recognized by the Secretary of Education of
the United States Department of Education as an accrediting agency
authorized to accredit educational institutions that offer the associate
degree or higher. Demonstration of authorization shall include clear
description of the scope of recognized accreditation.
(B) Is applying for the same scope of recognition as
that for which it is recognized by the Secretary of Education of the
United States Department of Education:
(i) Using the U.S. Department of Education classification
of instructional programs (CIP) code at the two-digit level, the applicant
shall identify all fields of study in which institutions it accredits
may offer degree programs.
(ii) Accrediting agencies shall, for each field of
study in which an accredited institution may offer degree programs,
specify the levels of degrees that may be awarded. Levels must be
differentiated at least to the following, as defined in §7.3
of this chapter (relating to Definitions): applied associate degree,
academic associate degree, baccalaureate degree, master's degree,
first professional degree and doctoral degree.
(iii) Only institutions that qualify as eligible for
United States Department of Education Title IV programs as a result
of accreditation by the applicant agency will be considered exempt
under §7.7 of this chapter (relating to Institutions Accredited
by Board-Recognized Accreditors).
(C) Accredits institutions that have legal authority
to confer postsecondary degrees as its primary activity:
(i) Accrediting agencies must show by listing all institutions
accredited by the agency that either the majority of the accredited
institutions have the legal authority to award postsecondary degrees
or that it accredits at least fifty (50) institutions that have the
legal authority to award postsecondary degrees.
(ii) An accrediting agency that accredits programs
as well as institutions shall demonstrate that either it accredits
more institutions than programs or that it has policies, procedures
and staff sufficient to address institutional standards of quality
in addition to program standards of quality.
(iii) Accrediting agencies must have standards that
require all accredited institutions to comply with all applicable
laws in the state and local jurisdiction in which they operate and
that require accredited institutions to clearly and accurately communicate
their accreditation status to the public.
(D) Requires an on-site review by a visiting team as
part of initial and continuing accreditation of educational institutions:
(i) Each accrediting agency shall demonstrate, through
its documented practices and/or its official policies, that it requires
no fewer than three (3) members on a team when conducting initial
and continuing accreditation visits, that none have a monetary or
personal interest in the findings of the on-site review, and that
all have professional experience that qualifies them to review the
institution's compliance with the standards of the agency.
(ii) Accrediting agencies may conduct site visits for
reasons other than initial and continuing accreditation with fewer
(iii) Accrediting agencies shall provide a list of
the visiting team members for the five (5) most recently completed
on-site reviews. The list shall show name, employer, title of positions
held with that employer and the standards for which the individual
was responsible in that on-site review.
(E) Has policies or procedures that ensure the entity
will promptly respond to requests for information from the Board:
(i) Each accrediting agency shall provide the Board
its official policy regarding disclosure of information about institutions
that are or have been candidates for accreditation and are or have
been accredited. Agencies shall provide to the Board, within ten (10)
working days, any new information and any requested information about
a Texas institution that would be available to the public under that
(ii) Each accrediting agency shall include in its standards
for accreditation of Texas institutions that the institutions disclose
publicly and to the Board the number of degrees awarded at each level
each year and the number of students enrolled in the fall of each
(F) Has sufficient resources to carry out its functions:
(i) Accrediting agencies shall identify the number
of on-site reviews conducted during the most recent twelve (12) month
period, the number of staff members who participated in those on-site
reviews and the maximum number of on-site reviews conducted by any
individual staff member. If that maximum number exceeds thirty (30),
the agency shall explain how it expects to carry out its function
of enforcing its standards on Texas institutions.
(ii) Each accrediting agency shall provide evidence
that its ratio of current assets to current liabilities equals or
(iii) Each accrediting agency shall demonstrate that
its fees are reasonable for the accreditation services provided.
(2) Recognition--To receive and maintain recognition
from the Board, the accrediting agency must, in addition to the items
listed in paragraph (1) of this subsection:
(A) Provide the Board with current standards used by
the entity in initial and ongoing accreditation reviews of educational
institutions and invite the Board to participate in such reviews:
(i) Accrediting agencies must have publicly disclosed
standards that address at a minimum the following issues: student
achievement in relation to the institution's mission; curricula; faculty;
facilities, equipment and supplies; fiscal and administrative capacity;
student support services; recruiting and admissions practices, academic
calendars, catalogs, grading, etc.; measures of program length and
objectives of the degrees or credentials offered; record of student
complaints received by, or available to the agency; management and
(ii) In the application process, the accrediting agency
must indicate how its standards address each of the quality assessment
categories outlined in clause (i) of this subparagraph which represent
the underlying principles described in the institutional standards
of §7.4 of this chapter (relating to Standards for Operations
of Institutions). Comparison of its standards with those of previously
recognized accrediting agencies and with the standards in §7.4
of this chapter is encouraged as a means of indicating how its standards
meet those principles.
(iii) Each accrediting agency shall provide its policy
for periodic reviews. At a minimum, the accrediting agency must conduct
on-site reviews at least every ten (10) years.
(iv) At least ten (10) working days before each scheduled
periodic on-site review of a Texas institution, accrediting agencies
shall invite the Board staff to participate in the review. Such participation
shall be at no expense to the institution or the accrediting agency.
(v) Within ten (10) working days of an official change
in standards, the agency shall notify the Board of those changes.
(vi) By providing a copy of its publicly disclosed
policies and procedures, each accrediting agency shall demonstrate
that its initial and ongoing reviews and the resultant accreditation
decisions are fair and consistent with the available evidence.
(vii) Accrediting agencies that use an advisory body,
similar to the Certification Advisory Council described in §7.8
of this chapter (relating to Institutions Not Accredited by a Board-Recognized
Accreditor), shall describe the advisory body's composition and authority.
Accrediting agencies that do not use such a body shall describe the
process used to ensure that the evidence obtained from reviews results
in appropriate accreditation decisions.
(viii) The initial and ongoing reviews shall include
an institutional self-evaluation process or a documented alternative
process to promote continuous quality improvement.
(ix) Each accrediting agency shall have and publicly
disclose its processes for appealing accreditation decisions.
(B) Provide the Board with written evidence of continuing
recognition by the Secretary of Education of the United States Department
of Education. Loss of recognition from the Secretary automatically
results in loss of Board recognition at the same time. Written evidence
may consist of a letter from the chief executive officer of the accrediting
agency. Accrediting agencies shall submit the evidence upon notice
of continued recognition or upon a change in recognition status, scope
(C) Provide a list of Texas educational institutions
accredited by it; notify the Board in writing of any change to its
list of Texas accredited institutions within ten (10) days of the
(D) Notify the Board of any investigated complaints
concerning a Texas institution where the accrediting agency took official
action on issues of non-compliance and the disposition of those complaints;
(E) Seek Board approval for any expansion of its recognized
scope of accreditation authority; and
(F) Demonstrate that the ownership and control of the
accrediting agency is sufficiently independent to ensure that the
accreditation process is conducted in the public interest.
(b) Other Information, Denial or Withdrawal of Recognition
(1) Once recognized, an accrediting agency retains
that recognition unless and until the Board withdraws the recognition.
Failure to comply with any of the requirements in this chapter will
be grounds for the Board to consider withdrawing recognition.
(2) The Board may use information provided by parties
other than the accrediting agency to assess the accrediting agency's
commitment to academic quality and student achievement. The Board
will consider any such information in an open, public meeting during
which the accrediting agency may challenge the information.
(3) The Board will make any decision to deny recognition
of an accrediting agency or to withdraw recognition from an accrediting
agency in a public meeting.
(4) An institution operating in Texas as an exempt
institution pursuant to §7.7 of this chapter when its recognized
accrediting agency loses or voluntarily relinquishes its recognition
will have ninety (90) days to apply for a Certificate of Authority
or to reach agreement with the Board on a schedule for ceasing its
operations in Texas.
(5) An accrediting agency or institution affected by
any final decision under this subchapter may appeal that decision
as provided in Chapter 1, Subchapter B of this title (relating to