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Process, Applications for Connecticut Independent Institutions of Higher Learning

 

The Office of Higher Education (OHE) is charged with the licensure and accreditation of independent colleges and universities operating in Connecticut. State statutes require OHE to approve proposals submitted by independent colleges and universities for:

  • licensure which allows institutions to enroll students in a program,

  • accreditation which allows institutions to confer a degree in a program, and

  • program modifications which are revisions to existing programs.  These may be determined to be substantive or non-substantive.

Applications are reviewed by OHE within 45 days of receipt. During the review period, OHE staff will evaluate the proposal and contact college officials with questions or requests for more information.  Successful proposals will have been deemed to meet all state academic standards. 

 

Additional review, extending beyond the 45-day period, may be required for:

  • proposals for academic programs in fields new to the applicant institution,

  • proposals for academic programs at degree levels new to the application institution, and

  • proposals to establish new institutions.

There are two types of additional review:

  • a Focused Review, which involves the participation of an out-of-state expert in the proposed content field.

  • an On-site Review by an evaluation team, involving out-of-state experts conducted at the institution.  This level of review most often occurs in cases of an application for licensure of a new institution for which there is a 9-month review period.

Circulation Requirements

Applications for licensure of new programs must be circulated for comment to all Connecticut public and independent colleges and universities at the same time applications are submitted to OHE.  The 15-day circulation period is conducted by OHE once it receives both a licensure application and circulation form via regular mail.  Any institution wishing to comment on the application must send their statements both to OHE and the applicant institution.  The latter must then respond to the comments both to OHE and the commenting institution.

 

Applications

Applications for approval of new academic programs and institutions should be submitted to the OHE as early as possible before their planned implementation to allow adequate time for review and student recruitment. State regulations specify nine months in advance.

Exemptions Exemptions

Effective July 1, 2016 and in accordance with Public Act 16-36, certain non-profit private colleges and universities are exempt for a two-year pilot period from the OHE approval process for new academic programs and program modifications. To qualify for an exemption, colleges must:

  • maintain eligibility to participate in financial aid programs (Title IV);

  • have a financial responsibility score of not less than 1.5 for the most recent fiscal year available; and

  • have been located in the state and accredited as a degree-granting institution in good standing for 10 years or more by a regional accrediting association recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and maintain such accreditation status.

Exempt institutions must provide OHE with the following information by July 1 of each year:

  • a list and brief description of any new programs of higher learning introduced by the institution in the preceding academic year;

  • a list of any discontinued programs for the preceding academic year;

  • the institution's current program approval process; and

  • the most recent financial responsibility composite score available.

To provide notice of new academic programs and changes, please complete the following form:

Accreditation

Applications for program accreditation which contain evidence of programmatic accreditation by an external, professional accrediting agency may be considered by OHE to have met state academic standards.

 

For institutional accreditation, OHE accepts regional accreditation (i.e., accreditation by a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) in lieu of state accreditation, unless it finds cause not to do so.

 

OHE accepts national accreditation (i.e. accreditation by a national accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) in lieu of state accreditation only for Connecticut independent institutions of higher education accredited prior to July 1, 2013, unless it finds cause not to do so.

 

 



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