Higher Learning Commission

Policy Title: Denial or Withdrawal of Status

Number: INST.E.60.010

Withdrawal of Accreditation

The Board of Trustees shall take action withdrawing the accreditation of an institution. The grounds for withdrawal of accreditation shall be that the institution does not meet one or more of the Criteria for Accreditation or Federal Compliance Requirements or fails to demonstrate conformity with the Assumed Practices or has not demonstrated a pattern of meeting the Obligations of Affiliation during the accreditation period.

This determination may be made by the Board after any of the following:

  • a focused or comprehensive evaluation;
  • a period of Notice or Probation;
  • a Show-Cause process;
  • a reconsideration process; or
  • upon recommendation of the President, if an on-site visit has occurred within the year preceding.

A team recommendation to withdraw accreditation, other than one arising from an advisory visit process, will automatically be referred to an Institutional Actions Council Hearing Committee. The Board will consider both the team recommendation and the Institutional Actions Council Hearing Committee recommendations in its deliberations. A recommendation for withdrawal of accreditation by the President is made directly to the Board, and there is no Institutional Actions Council Hearing in this case.

In all cases, the Board of Trustees will act on a recommendation for withdrawal only if the institution’s chief executive officer has been given opportunity of at least two (2) weeks to place before the Board of Trustees a written response to the recommendation.

In addition, an institution may also lose its accreditation if it fails to meet institutional Obligations of Affiliation within a designated time after being warned of non-compliance, if it ceases to operate as an educational institution, or if its legal authorization to operate and grant degrees is terminated. The President shall take a recommendation to the Board calling for withdrawal in such cases; the institution need not have had an on-site visit within the previous year.

Withdrawal of accreditation is an adverse action and thus is not a final action and is subject to appeal.

Public Disclosure After Withdrawal of Accreditation

A Public Disclosure Notice for an institution that has had its accreditation withdrawn will be available on the Commission’s website shortly after, but not more than twenty-four (24) hours after, the Commission notifies the institution of the action. Since an institution may appeal this decision by the Commission, the public notice shall also include clear reference to the appeal options available to the institution and official comments that the institution provides to be included in the notice. An institution under withdrawal must notify its Board members, administrators, faculty, staff, students, prospective students, and any other constituencies about the action in a timely manner not more than fourteen (14) days after receiving the action letter from the Commission; the notification must include information on how to contact the Commission for further information; the institution must also disclose this status whenever it refers to its Commission status.

Denial of Accreditation

The Board of Trustees shall take action denying accreditation to an institution. The grounds for denial of accreditation shall be that the institution does not meet one or more of the Eligibility Requirements, the Assumed Practices, or the Criteria for Accreditation, or has not demonstrated a pattern of meeting the Obligations of Affiliation during the candidacy period.

This determination may be made by the Board after any of the following:

  • a comprehensive evaluation; or
  • a reconsideration process of the accreditation of an institution awarded within the preceding one (1) year.

A team recommendation to deny accreditation will automatically be referred to an Institutional Actions Council Hearing Committee. The Board will consider both the team recommendation and the Institutional Actions Council Hearing Committee recommendations in its deliberations.

In all cases, the Board of Trustees will act on a recommendation for denial only if the institution’s chief executive officer has been given opportunity to place before the Board of Trustees a written response to the recommendation.

Denial of accreditation is an adverse action and thus is not a final action and is subject to appeal except in cases where the Board, in taking such action, denies an institution’s early application for accreditation prior to the end of the candidacy period and thereby continues the institution’s candidate for accreditation status or extends that status to a fifth year, as provided for in Commission policy.

Denial or Withdrawal of Candidate for Accreditation Status

The Board of Trustees shall take actions denying or withdrawing the candidate for accreditation status of an institution. The grounds for denial or withdrawal of candidacy shall be that the institution does not meet one or more of the Eligibility Requirements, the Assumed Practices, and Federal Compliance Requirements or that there is not sufficient evidence to support the judgment that all of the Criteria for Accreditation can reasonably be met within the period of candidacy, or the remainder of the candidacy period if withdrawal of candidacy is being considered.

This determination may be made by the Board after any of the following:

  • in the case of denial of candidacy, a comprehensive evaluation;
  • in the case of withdrawal of candidacy, a comprehensive, focused or other evaluation during candidacy;
  • a reconsideration process; or
  • upon recommendation of the President, if an on-site visit has occurred within the year preceding.

A team recommendation to deny or withdraw candidacy, other than one arising from an advisory visit process, will automatically be referred to an Institutional Actions Council Hearing Committee. The Board will consider both the team recommendation and the Institutional Actions Council Hearing Committee recommendations in its deliberations. A recommendation for withdrawal of accreditation by the President is made directly to the Board, and there is no Institutional Actions Council Hearing in this case.

In all cases, the Board of Trustees will act on a recommendation for denial or withdrawal of candidacy only if the institution’s chief executive officer has been given opportunity to place before the Board of Trustees a written response to the recommendation.

In addition, an institution may also lose its candidate for accreditation status if it fails to meet institutional Obligations of Affiliation within a designated time after being warned of non-compliance, if it ceases to operate as an educational institution, or if its legal authorization to operate and grant degrees is terminated. The President shall take a recommendation to the Board calling for withdrawal in such cases; the institution need not have had an on-site visit within the previous year.

Denial or withdrawal of candidate for accreditation status is an adverse action and thus is not a final action and is subject to appeal.

Public Disclosure After Denial of Accreditation or Denial or Withdrawal of Candidate for Accreditation

A Public Disclosure Notice for an institution that has had accreditation denied or candidacy withdrawn, or had candidacy denied, will be available on the Commission’s website shortly after, but not more than twenty-four (24) hours after, the Commission notifies the institution of the action. Since an institution may appeal this decision by the Commission (except in cases where the Commission has extended an existing candidacy), the public notice shall also include clear reference to the appeal options available to the institution and official comments that the institution provides to be included in the notice. An institution under withdrawal or denial must notify its Board members, administrators, faculty, staff, students, prospective students, and any other constituencies about the action in a timely manner not more than fourteen (14) days after receiving the action letter from the Commission; the notification must include information on how to contact the Commission for further information; the institution must also disclose this status whenever it refers to its Commission status.

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Related Policies

INST.B.20.020
Candidacy

Policy History

Last Revised: February 2014
First Adopted: January 1983
Revision History: revised November 1994, May 2002, June 2006, February 2011, February 2012, February 2014
Notes: Policies combined November 2012 - 2.5(f), 2.5(f)1, 2.5(f)2, 2.5(f)3, 2.5(f)4

Policy Number Key

Section INST: Institutional Policies

Chapter E: Sanctions, Adverse Actions, and Appeals

Part 60: Denial or Withdrawal of Status

Related Procedures

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