Council Actions

When the Council has considered all of the information and reports submitted as a result of the accrediting process, it will make a judgment as to an institution’s compliance with the Accreditation Criteria. The Council’s decision is based on the extent of an institution’s compliance. The judgment made is referred to as a “Council action.” The actions which the Council may take are described in this section. Procedures available to institutions to challenge those actions, and the maximum timeframes for achieving final disposition of those actions by the Council, also are explained.

There are four general areas of Council actions:

  1. accreditation granted
  2. accreditation deferred
  3. accreditation denied
  4. accreditation withdrawn

This section also includes information pertaining to the following:

  • Council Hearing Procedures
  • Review Board Appeal Process
  • Complaints and Adverse Information
  • Probation
  • Special and Fact Visits
  • Debarment

If the Council determines that an institution is not in compliance with the Accreditation Criteria, it will take prompt adverse action against the institution, or it will require the institution to take appropriate action to bring itself into compliance with the Accreditation Criteria within a time frame specified by the Council after the institution has been notified that it is not in compliance. That time frame will not exceed the following:

  1. twelve months, if the longest program is less than one year in length;
  2. eighteen months, if the longest program is at least one year, but less than two years in length; and
  3. two years, if the longest program is at least two years in length.

The above time frames may be extended at the sole discretion of the Council for good cause, including evidence that there has been significant improvement in the deficient area(s) and the applicable time frame does not provide sufficient time to demonstrate full compliance, e.g., significant improvement in completion or placement rates.

Sub-Sections

  • Accreditation Actions

    This section contains information pertaining to the following:

    • accreditation granted
    • accreditation deferred
    • accreditation denied
    • accreditation withdrawn
  • Council Hearing Procedures

    The following procedures will govern hearings to be held before the Council:

    (a)    The request for a hearing must be made by a date determined by the Council, which will not be less than 10 days from the date of receipt of the letter of notification of the denial action or show-cause directive. The request for a hearing must be in writing and signed by the chief executive officer of the institution. Upon receipt of the request for a hearing, the Council will notify the institution of the procedures to follow to prepare for the hearing, including the dates by which the institution must submit its response to the findings of the denial action or show-cause directive. In all cases, the interval between the negative or conditioning action of the Council and the subsequent action of the Council based on the hearing of the institution’s appeal shall not exceed twelve months, if the longest program is less than one year in length; eighteen months, if the longest program is at least one year, but less than two years in length; and two years, if the longest program is at least two years in length.

    (b)   The institution shall have the right to respond with evidence and facts concerning the areas of noncompliance with which it has been charged, to raise all reasonable questions, and to present evidence in opposition to or extenuation of the charges of noncompliance. Such written evidence must be submitted by the date prescribed by the Council unless the institution can show that such information was not available before the submission date and that failure to make a timely submission was outside of the institution’s control.

    (c)    At the hearing, the institution may present only evidence not already considered. The institution may send one or more representatives, including legal or financial counsel, to present its argument in opposition to or extenuation of the Council action. The Council transcribes all such hearings for its records. A copy of the transcript is available to the institution upon request.

  • Review Board Appeal Process

    For those institutions that appeal to the Review Board a denial action or a suspension, the Council has established procedures designed to provide due process.

  • Complaints and Adverse Information

    Procedurally apart from Council actions heretofore described and explained, MEMAAC may receive and is obligated to investigate legitimate complaints about an institution from any source that in any way pertains to MEMAAC criteria.

    Also, MEMAAC periodically receives and may investigate information from governmental agencies or other accrediting agencies, or through public media sources, which may indicate possible criteria violations. Adverse information may include, but is not limited to, low completion rates, low placement rates, high default rates, tuition refund problems, negative audits or program reviews, and governmental agency investigations.

    When the staff of MEMAAC, with delegated authority to do so, determines that a complaint or adverse information warrants investigation, it will notify the chief executive officer of the institution in writing about the complaint or adverse information, and a copy of the information will be provided. The institution is requested to submit to the Council office its version of the conditions or circumstances which led to the complaint or adverse information. The complainant also will be informed in writing that the institution has been contacted and has been requested to provide information. Any governmental agency providing adverse information to the Council may be informed at the discretion of the Council of the action taken on the adverse information.

    The role of the Council in resolving complaints and investigating adverse information is to determine whether the institution is out of compliance with one or more accrediting standards to which the complaint is addressed or to which the adverse information applies. After such determination, MEMAAC may then do one of the following:

    1. dismiss the complaint or terminate further investigation of the adverse information;
    2. postpone a final action on the complaint or adverse information if there is evidence that the institution is making progress to rectify the situation or if more investigation is necessary; or
    3. notify the institution that, on the basis of information available, MEMAAC has determined that the institution is failing to comply with the Accreditation Criteria and that the institution is:

    1)      directed to show cause why its accreditation should not be suspended, revoked, or otherwise conditioned;

    2)      directed to submit a report to MEMAAC detailing plans for rectifying the area(s) of noncompliance; or

    3)      directed to undergo a special on-site evaluation.

    The Council will inform the complainant of the determination by the Council and the disposition of the complaint.

     

  • Probation

    Probation is a status that the Council may impose on an institution if the institution is unable to demonstrate that it consistently operates in accordance with the Accreditation Criteria.

  • Special and Fact Visits

    The Council reserves the right to initiate special on-site evaluation visits to or request specific reports from an institution at any time, both of which are to be completed under conditions and within a time frame determined by MEMAAC. Refusal of an institution to respond to or cooperate with such requests shall be grounds for suspension of its grant of accreditation.

    At any time MEMAAC has substantive evidence or information that an institution is in jeopardy of having its eligibility status with a government agency or its accreditation status with another accrediting agency conditioned, MEMAAC may direct a special on-site evaluation visit to that institution. The purpose of the visit will be to ensure that the students in the institution are not being harmed educationally because of the institution’s alleged noncompliance with government statutes or regulations or another accrediting agency’s standards and criteria.

    The Council also may direct a Fast Assessment and Compliance Team (FACT) visit to investigate and report on alleged improper practices at MEMAAC institutions.

    The Council retains discretion to determine the size and composition of special and FACT teams and the length and breadth of the evaluation. In making these decisions, the Council will consider the issues and factors that prompted the visit, the size of the institution, and the nature of the institution’s offerings.

  • Debarment

    The Council may bar a person, including spouses and closely related family groups from being an owner or senior manager of a MEMAAC-accredited institution if that person was an owner or manager of an institution that lost its accreditation as a result of a denial or suspension action or that closed without providing a teach-out or refunds to students at the time of closure.

    The Council will notify a person or persons whom it intends to bar as the result of denial or suspension action within four months following the loss of the institution’s accreditation. It will notify a person or persons whom it intends to bar as the result of the closing of an institution within a reasonable period of time following the closure, normally not more than six months following the closure of the institution. In each case, the Council will forward an “intent to bar” notice by both express and first-class mail to the last institutional mailing address known to the Council, unless the Council receives updated mailing information following the institution’s closure or loss of accreditation. Those individuals will be considered notified when the Council has forwarded the intent to bar notice in accordance with these procedures.

    The intent to bar notice will inform the person(s) that they are entitled to present information and materials in writing or in person to challenge the intent to bar at the next scheduled meeting of the Council. The notice will stipulate that if they intend to challenge the intent to bar, the person(s) must inform the Council office in writing within ten days of receipt of the notice as to whether they desire a personal appearance before the Council, or whether they will challenge the intent to bar in writing. A debarment order may be issued by the Council as a result of its consideration of the facts presented. Notice of the Council’s decision will be sent to the individual(s) by first class and certified mail within ten days following their challenge before the Council.

    The Council retains final discretion to establish the terms and length of the debarment. The length of debarment will vary depending on the circumstances that led to the debarment decision, but it typically will be for a period of at least one year and not more than three years. Individual circumstances may justify a longer period of debarment.

    A person or persons barred by the Council may appeal this decision to the Council in accordance with such debarment appeals procedures as the Council may establish. The Council’s decision is final if the person elects not to appeal or if the Council affirms its decision following appeal, and no additional appeal rights are available under these procedures.

    After considering an individual’s challenge to the intent to bar or when no challenge is presented, the Council’s decision to bar an individual is final. No appeal rights are available under these procedures.