NCATE Policies on Dissemination of Information

General Information on Accreditation Processes, Standards, and Accredited Institutions

NCATE’s standards, policies, accreditation decisions, and accreditation procedures are published on its Web site (www.ncate.org). In addition, NCATE publishes on its Web site a list of accredited institutions and institutions that are candidates for accreditation, along with their accreditation status (i.e., candidate for accreditation or accredited), and the semester and year in which NCATE will conduct its next accreditation review of the institution. NCATE’s Web site also identifies staff members and their responsibilities, as well as the names and affiliations of its board members. Institutions’ representation of accreditation information is discussed in the policy "Representation of Information to the Public."

Solicitation of Third-Party Comment on Institutions with Upcoming Reviews

On its Web site, NCATE separately publishes a list of institutions with an accreditation review scheduled in the upcoming semester, and provides the opportunity for interested parties to submit letters of testimony about the quality of the institution’s professional education programs.

Information that is Available Upon Request

Accreditation action reports are considered to be public information and will be released upon written request. Institutional comments in response to a decision to deny or revoke accreditation will be released along with the action report with the denial or revocation of accreditation decision. (See "Notice of Accreditation Decisions" below for terms of the release of these documents.) Also upon request, NCATE will release the academic and professional qualifications, relevant employment, and organizational affiliations of its current governing board members and its principal staff. (Note: addresses, phone numbers, or e-mail addresses of board members and staff are not released.)

Notice of Accreditation Decisions

Within 30 days after an accreditation decision, NCATE provides written notice of the accreditation decision to the chief executive officer of the institution. No later than 30 days after the date of all final1 accreditation decisions and all decisions to accept institutions as candidates for accreditation, NCATE provides written notice of those decisions to the U. S. Secretary of Education, the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency, appropriate accrediting agencies, and the public (via its Web site). Thirty days after an accreditation decision, NCATE also provides a list of the Unit Accreditation Board actions with any applicable accreditation action reports to the applicable chief state school officer, the executive director of the state National Education Association affiliate, and the executive director of the American Federation of Teachers state organization. In addition, NCATE provides a list of the Unit Accreditation Board actions to the state organizations affiliated with the National School Boards Association. Within 24 hours of a final decision to deny or revoke accreditation, NCATE will provide notice to the public of that decision, via its Web site.

No later than 60 days after a decision to deny or revoke accreditation, NCATE will provide the U.S. Secretary of Education, the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency, and the public with the accreditation action report that summarizes the reason for the accreditation decision, along with comments, if any, that the institution has made with regard to the accreditation decision.

Notice of Withdrawal or Lapse of Accreditation

Within 30 days after receiving notification from an institution that it is withdrawing voluntarily from accreditation or candidacy for accreditation, or within 30 days after the date on which an institution lets its accreditation or candidacy for accreditation lapse, NCATE will so notify the Secretary of Education, the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency, and the public (via the Web site).

Notice of State Change in Status for an NCATE-Accredited Institution

NCATE will notify the public, via its Web site, when provided with notice from the appropriate state licensing or authorizing agency that a state has changed the status of an NCATE-accredited institution.

Confidential Information

All information that is provided to NCATE in preparation for accreditation review or an appeal of an accreditation decision is considered to be the property of the institution and is not made available to the public by NCATE. These materials include preconditions, institutional reports, program review documentation, Board of Examiners reports, third-party testimony, rejoinders to BOE reports, and appeals briefs. NCATE may use some of these documents for training purposes, but not without permission from the institution. However, samples of these materials are made available to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as part of NCATE’s periodic review by those organizations. Information provided to ED is covered by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). NCATE will, to the best of its abilities, redact information that would identify individuals or institutions that is not essential to ED’s review of NCATE; make a good faith effort to designate all business information within NCATE’s submissions that NCATE believes would be exempt from disclosure under exemption 4 of FOIA; identify any other material NCATE believes would be exempt from public disclosure under FOIA, the factual basis for the request, and any legal basis NCATE has identified for withholding the document from disclosure; and ensure that documents submitted are only those required for ED review or as requested by ED officials.

Aggregate Data and Scholarly Research

NCATE reserves the right to compile and issue data derived from accreditation documents in such a way that the identity of institutions and individuals is not revealed. For the purposes of scholarly research, permission may be granted by the NCATE president for researchers to have access to NCATE activities, files, and institutional materials. Researchers will be bound by the rules of confidentiality as stated in this document, and may not reveal information listed as confidential without written consent from the institution.

Information that is Provided to the Secretary of Education

In addition to the information described in the preceding paragraphs, NCATE must submit the following information to the Secretary of Education: a copy of any annual report that it prepares; a summary of the agency’s major accrediting activities during the previous year, if requested by the Secretary; and any proposed change in the agency’s policies, procedures, or accreditation standards that might alter its scope of recognition or compliance with the criteria for recognition. NCATE will provide the Secretary annually with a copy of its list of accredited institutions and institutions that are candidates for accreditation.

NCATE will also supply the Secretary with the name of any accredited or candidate institution it accredits that NCATE has reason to believe is failing to meet its Title IV, HEA responsibilities or is engaged in fraud or abuse, along with the agency’s reasons for concern about the institution, and if the Secretary requests, will provide information that may bear upon an accredited or candidate institution’s compliance with its Title IV, HEA program responsibilities, including the eligibility of the institution to participate in Title IV, HEA programs. NCATE may notify an institution of inquiries it receives from ED, but will review on a case-by-case basis the circumstances surrounding the contact and any attendant need for confidentiality of that contact. Upon specific request by ED, NCATE will consider that contact confidential.

rev. 10/98; 11/99; 10/00 (replaces Public Disclosure Policy); 3/01; 8/02; 10/03; 10/05; 4/08; 4/10

Notes

1. All accrediting decisions that are not subject to appeal are considered final on the date the decision is rendered by the Unit Accreditation Board. Accrediting decisions that are subject to appeal are considered to be final when (1) an institution that has received an appealable accreditation decision has not notified NCATE that it intends to appeal that decision by the date specified in the accreditation action letter; or (2) an institution has exhausted the appeals process.


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