Processes for Applicant and Candidate Institutions During COVID-19 Disruption

Submission of Applications from Non-Members

Applications are being accepted from non-members seeking accreditation.  Current policy which provides for review of the application within six months remains in effect.  Throughout the process of review of an application and before the application is placed on the Board of Trustees’ agenda seeking authorization of a candidacy committee, an institution will be asked to update the application to include any impact due to COVID-19 disruptions.  These disruptions may include but are not limited to, mode of delivery, provision of services to students, faculty and staff reductions or additions, financial impact, and closing of any programs or sites described in the initial application.

Applications Recently Reviewed

Applicant institutions whose applications have been reviewed recently and which are in the process of responding to requests for additional information should discuss with staff the advisability of delaying submission of the updated application until changes caused by disruptions due to COVID-19 have been resolved.

Applications Scheduled for Review

Applications which are scheduled to be reviewed during April and May 2020 will be reviewed and conference calls will be held following initial review.  Timing of further steps in the process will be discussed with each institution and will depend on resolution of disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Candidacy Committee and Accreditation Committee Visits

These visits will continue to be conducted on site in person by SACSCOC staff and as many committee members as deemed necessary by staff to conduct the review. Virtual input from some committee members who cannot participate in person will be considered.  The number of committee members required to be present at the institution to conduct an on-site visit will be based on the size and scope of the institution.  Final determination of whether the committee visit can be conducted with some on-site committee members with virtual participation by other committee members will rest with the President of SACSCOC.  If a Candidacy Committee visit is delayed, an applicant institution receiving a Candidacy Committee visit will need to update its application and address all changes due to the COVID-19 disruption before the visit occurs.  If an Accreditation Committee visit is delayed, the Candidate institution will need to update its Compliance Certification and address all changes due to the COVID-19 disruption before the visit occurs.

Delayed visits must occur no later than 12 months from the originally scheduled visit date.  The institution is reminded that all audits as required in the policy entitled Accreditation Procedures for Applicant Institutions must be provided in the updated application or updated Compliance Certification which specifies submission of the audit for the most recently completed fiscal year preceding the committee visit.