Standards

This section of the Accreditation Criteria comprises the most heavily weighted part of the accrediting process. It explains the minimum operational and educational practices expected of all institutions, whatever methodology and mode of educational delivery is used and wherever the institution provides educational activities. Inasmuch as these are minimum expectations, extreme deviation from them is not permitted. The Council, while encouraging innovation at institutions and attempting to be somewhat flexible in its interpretation of these standards, does not grant waivers on criteria pertaining to good educational practice.

Some parts of this section contain additional criteria which are applicable to institutions offering nondegree programs and programs culminating in occupational diplomas, academic diplomas, and online degrees. The Council recognizes that some requirements of these standards may not be appropriate for entities, and it may waive specific standards on a case-by-case basis.

Mission: Purpose and Objectives

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Every institution must have a mission which is its specific purpose for existing. This mission, together with a set of objectives to accomplish it, must be summarized in a mission statement. The objectives should be devoted substantially to career-related education and/or self-improvement education and should be reasonable for the program of instruction, mode of delivery, and facilities of the institution.

Institutions may exhibit a variety of missions, ranging from those which have a singe purpose to those which are multi-purpose.

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Institutional Effectiveness

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An important indication of the overall effectiveness of a MEMAAC-accredited institution is the degree to which it meets its own predetermined educational outcomes. Each campus of a MEMAAC-accredited institution, consistent with its mission, shall develop and implement a Campus Effectiveness Plan that identifies how it plans to assess and continuously improve its educational programs and processes, and that addresses its ability to meet the educational and occupational objectives of its programs. In this document, each campus should attempt to  incorporate short-term objectives to be accomplished in order to achieve the mission of the institution as it applies to the campus and its future goals.

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Organization

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Each institution should have an organizational structure designed to promote among all staff and faculty a spirit of understanding, cooperation, and responsibility. Performance standards and monitoring controls need to be employed to insure adequate administrative functioning. The annual budget expenditures should be adequate to properly carry out the stated educational objectives of the institution.

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Administration

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Each institution must coordinate its administrative functions to best serve its educational mission. All staff should be well trained to carry out administrative functions. Detailed record-keeping enhances the management of the institution.

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Admissions and Recruitment

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It is up to an institution to establish its own admissions criteria. It is the responsibility of MEMAAC to ensure that all who are enrolled are accorded equal educational opportunity.

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Standards of Satisfactory Progress

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Each institution shall establish and administer measures of satisfactory academic progress for all students as referenced in Appendix D.

Compliance. The institution complies with the requirements of Appendix D.

Documenting Compliance. The institution documents compliance with its Satisfactory Academic Progress policy.

Oversight. The institution encourages and assists students who are experiencing difficulty in progressing satisfactorily in their programs.

Tuition and Fees

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Institutionally Financed Grants, Scholarships and Loans. The Council recognizes that most accredited institutions offer or administer grants, scholarships and loans for students. Institutions must meet appropriate guidelines for such programs in order to ensure their legitimacy. Participation in ethical institutional grant (See Appendix E), institutional loan, and scholarship programs requires adherence to the following:

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Student Services

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Counseling and Guidance. Each institution shall designate at least one person on staff experienced in counseling students on personal or academic problems and employment opportunities. The extent of such activity, and the personnel assigned to it, shall be determined by the size, classification, and admissions standards of the institution, the characteristics and location of students, and the means of communication with them. Orientation activities shall assist new students in adapting to the institution. The following are minimum expectations:

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Educational Activities

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The major index of an institution’s quality is the effectiveness of its educational program. The educational program must be consistent with the stated mission, be adequate in breadth and context to achieve it, and produce measurable results. Its educational activities, whether residential or otherwise and whether group or individually oriented, shall include definable instruction, interaction, and evaluation. A second index of institutional quality is the resources available to instructors and students.

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Program Standards

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Program Administration. The administration of the academic programs shall be assigned to individuals whose academic or experiential qualifications are related to the programs of study. The amount of time devoted to the administration of the program(s) must be commensurate with the size and scope of the institution and its program offerings.

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Instruction

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Instructional Tools. Institutions shall:

  1. provide appropriate facilities, instructional equipment, resources, support for modes of instructional delivery, and personnel;
  2. ensure academic freedom and other conditions favorable for effective classroom instruction;
  3. ensure that the quantity and type of instructional material and equipment is proportionate to the size of the institution and the nature of the program; and
  4. comply with applicable copyright laws in the use of instructional materials.

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Faculty

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Faculty Preparation. Preparation of faculty members shall be academically and experientially appropriate to the subject matter they teach. Faculty members shall be competent to teach the subject matter offered and shall have reasonable latitude in their choice of teaching methods.

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Facilities

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Each institution must provide an environment that is conducive to good instruction and learning and that supports the educational programs offered by the institution. The adequacy of the environment is assessed against the demands made upon it by the curricula, faculty, and students.

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Publications

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It is important for institutions to recognize the value of “truth in advertising” when promoting their operations. Publications must be prepared and presented in a professional manner to reflect favorably upon the institution. Information published must be accurate and factual and reflect the current status of the institution. Only the Council can accept or reject an institution’s catalog, and a final decision will not be made based on a draft.

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Library Resources and Services

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The adequate provision of library resources and information services, appropriate to the academic level and scope of an institution’s programs, is essential to teaching and learning. It is incumbent upon all member institutions to assess the level of library resources needed in relation to their programs and to provide a range of support to meet these needs. The size of collections and the budget allowed for library resources and services do not ensure adequacy. The quality, relevance, accessibility, availability, and provision of support services ultimately will determine the adequacy of an institution’s efforts. In assessing library resources and services, MEMAAC requires that an institution, at a minimum, shall:

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Conferring Credentials

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Conferring of Credentials. The conferring of certificates, diplomas, or degrees by an institution shall be consistent with its mission and objectives and in compliance with applicable laws.

Standards for Non-Degree Programs

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In addition to the general standards, which apply to all institutions, the following standards apply specifically to non-degree programs.

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Online Programs

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In addition to the general standards which apply to all institutions, the following standards apply specifically to online master’s degree programs.

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