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> NASC Accreditation  > NASC Standards
Standard Three

Standard 3.A - Purpose and Organization

Student programs and services support the achievement of the institution's mission and goals by contributing to the educational development of its students. Student programs and services are consistent with the educational philosophy of the institution. The institution provides essential support services for students, regardless of where or how enrolled and by whatever means educational programs are offered.

3.A.1 The organization of student services is effective in providing adequate services consistent with the mission and goals of the institution.

3.A.2 Student services and programs are staffed by qualified individuals whose academic preparation and/or experience are appropriate to their assignments. Assignments are clearly defined and published. The performance of personnel is regularly evaluated.

3.A.3 Appropriate policies and procedures for student development programs and services are established. The objectives of each operating component are compatible and support the goals of student services.

3.A.4 Human, physical, and financial resources for student services and programs are allocated on the basis of identified needs and are adequate to support the services and programs offered.

Standard 3.B - General Responsibilities

The institution provides student services and programs based upon an assessment of student needs, provides adequate support for the services offered to achieve established goals, and adopts, publishes, and makes available policies that are accurate and current.

3.B.1 The institution systematically identifies the characteristics of its student population and students' learning and special needs. The institution makes provision for meeting those identified needs, emphasizing students' achievement of their educational goals.

3.B.2 The institution provides opportunities for students to participate in institutional governance. Faculty are involved in the development of policies for student programs and services.

3.B.3 Policies on students' rights and responsibilities, including those related to academic honesty and procedural rights, are clearly stated, well publicized, readily available, and implemented in a fair and consistent manner.

3.B.4 The institution makes adequate provision for the safety and security of its students and their property. Information concerning student safety is published and widely distributed.

3.B.5 The institution publishes and makes available to both prospective and enrolled students a catalog or bulletin that describes: its mission, admission requirements and procedures, students' rights and responsibilities, academic regulations, degree-completion requirements, credit courses and descriptions, tuition, fees and other charges, refund policy, and other items relative to attending the institution or withdrawing from it. In addition, a student handbook or its equivalent is published and distributed. A student handbook normally will include information on student conduct, a grievance policy, academic honesty, student government, student organizations and services, and athletics. The student handbook may be combined with the institution's catalog.

3.B.6 The institution periodically and systematically evaluates the appropriateness, adequacy, and utilization of student services and programs and uses the results of the evaluation as a basis for change.

Standard 3.C - Academic Credit and Records

Evaluation of student learning or achievement, and the award of credit, are based upon clearly stated and distinguishable criteria. Academic records are accurate, secure, and comprehensive.

3.C.1 Evaluation of student learning or achievement, and the award of credit, are based upon clearly stated and distinguishable criteria. Academic records are accurate, secure, and comprehensive. Credit is defined and awarded consonant with the Glossary definition.

3.C.2 Criteria used for evaluating student performance and achievement including those for theses, dissertations, and portfolios, are appropriate to the degree level, clearly stated and implemented.

3.C.3 Clear and well-publicized distinctions are made between degree and non-degree credit. Institutional publications and oral representations explicitly indicate if credit will not be recognized toward a degree, or if special conditions exist before such credit will be recognized. Any use of such terms as extension credit, X credit, continuing education credit, is accompanied by clear statements regarding the acceptability of such credit toward degrees offered by that institution. Student transcripts clearly note when any credit awarded is non-degree credit. Whenever institutions grant non-degree credit other than the Continuing Education Unit (CEU), some summary evaluation of student performance beyond mere attendance is available.

3.C.4 Transfer credit is accepted from accredited institutions or from other institutions under procedures which provide adequate safeguards to ensure high academic quality and relevance to the students' programs. Implementation of transfer credit policies is consistent with 2.C.4 as well as Policy 2.5 - Transfer and Award of Academic Credit, pages 41-44. The final judgment for determining acceptable credit for transfer is the responsibility of the receiving institution.

3.C.5 The institution makes provision for the security of student records of admission and progress. Student records, including transcripts, are private, accurate, complete, and permanent. They are protected by fire-proof and otherwise safe storage and are backed by duplicate files. Data and records maintained in computing systems have adequate security and provision for recovery in the event of disaster. The information-release policy respects the right of individual privacy and ensures the confidentiality of records and files.

Standard 3.D - Student Services

The institution recruits and admits students qualified to complete its programs. It fosters a supportive learning environment and provides services to support students' achievement of their educational goals.

3.D.1 The institution adopts student admission policies consistent with its mission. It specifies qualifications for admission to the institution and its programs, and it adheres to those policies in its admission practices.

3.D.2 The institution, in keeping with its mission and admission policy, gives attention to the needs and characteristics of its student body with conscious attention to such factors as ethnic, socio-economic, and religious diversity while demonstrating regard for students' rights and responsibilities.

3.D.3 Appropriate policies and procedures guide the placement of students in courses and programs based upon their academic and technical skills. Such placement ensures a reasonable probability of success at a level commensurate with the institution's expectations. Special provisions are made for "ability to benefit" (see Glossary, page 143) students.

3.D.4 The institution specifies and publishes requirements for continuation in, or termination from, its educational programs, and it maintains an appeals process. The policy for readmission of students who have been suspended or terminated is clearly defined.

3.D.5 Institutional and program graduation requirements are stated clearly in appropriate publications and are consistently applied in both the certificate and degree verification process.

3.D.6 The institution provides an effective program of financial aid consistent with its mission and goals, the needs of its students, and institutional resources. There is provision for institution-wide coordination of all financial aid awards.

3.D.7 Information regarding the categories of financial assistance (scholarships and grants) is published and made available to both prospective and enrolled students.

3.D.8 The institution regularly monitors its student loan programs and the institutional loan default rate. Informational sessions which give attention to loan repayment obligations are conducted for financial aid recipients.

3.D.9 The institution provides for the orientation of new students, including special populations, at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

3.D.10 A systematic program of academic and other educational program advisement is provided. Advisors help students make appropriate decisions concerning academic choices and career paths. Specific advisor responsibilities are defined, published, and made available to students.

3.D.11 Career counseling and placement services are consistent with student needs and institutional mission.

3.D.12 Professional health care, including psychological health and relevant health education, is readily available to residential students and to other students, as appropriate.

3.D.13 Student housing, if provided, is designed and operated to enhance the learning environment. It meets recognized standards of health and safety; it is competently staffed.

3.D.14 Appropriate food services are provided for both resident and nonresident students. These services are supervised by professionally trained food service staff and meet recognized nutritional and mandated health and safety standards.

3.D.15 Co-curricular activities and programs are offered that foster the intellectual and personal development of students consistent with the institution's mission. The institution adheres to the spirit and intent of equal opportunity for participation. It ensures that appropriate services and facilities are accessible to students in its programs. Co-curricular activities and programs include adaptation for traditionally under-represented students, such as physically disabled, older, evening, part-time, commuter, and, where applicable, those at off-campus sites.

3.D.16 The co-curricular program includes policies and procedures that determine the relationship of the institution with its student activities; identifying the needs, evaluating the effectiveness, and providing appropriate governance of the program are joint responsibilities of students and the institution.

3.D.17 If appropriate to its mission and goals, the institution provides adequate opportunities and facilities for student recreational and athletic needs apart from intercollegiate athletics.

3.D.18 If the institution operates a bookstore, it supports the educational program and contributes to the intellectual climate of the campus community. Students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to participate in the development and monitoring of bookstore policies and procedures.

3.D.19 When student media exist, the institution provides for a clearly defined and published policy of the institution's relationship to student publications and other media.

Standard 3.E - Intercollegiate Athletics

If the institution participates in intercollegiate athletics, these programs and financial operations are consistent with the educational mission and goals of the institution and are conducted with appropriate oversight by the governing board, chief executive officer, and faculty.

3.E.1 Institutional control is exercised through the governing board's periodic review of its comprehensive statement of philosophy, goals, and objectives for intercollegiate athletics. The program is evaluated regularly and systematically to ensure that it is an integral part of the education of athletes and is in keeping with the educational mission of the institution.

3.E.2 The goals and objectives of the intercollegiate athletic program, as well as institutional expectations of staff members, are provided in writing to candidates for athletic staff positions. Policies and rules concerning intercollegiate athletics are reviewed, at least annually, by athletics administrators and all head and assistant coaches. The duties and authority of the director of athletics, faculty committee on athletics, and others involved in athletics policy-making and program management are stated explicitly in writing.

3.E.3 Admission requirements and procedures, academic standards and degree requirements, and financial aid awards for student athletics are vested in the same institutional agencies that handle these matters for all students.

3.E.4 Athletic budget development is systematic; funds raised for and expended on athletics by alumni, foundations, and other groups shall be subject to the approval of the administration and be accounted for through the institution's generally accepted practices of documentation and audit.

3.E.5 The institution demonstrates its commitment to fair and equitable treatment of both male and female athletes in providing opportunities for participation, financial aid, student-support services, equipment, and access to facilities.

3.E.6 The institution publishes its policy concerning the scheduling of intercollegiate practices and competition for both men and women that avoids conflicts with the instructional calendar, particularly during end-of-term examinations.

Standard Three - Students Table #1 Admissions Report

Standard Three - Students Table #2 Student Affairs Staff Profile

3.1 Policy on Institutional Advertising, Student Recruitment, and Representation of Accredited Status

All candidate and accredited postsecondary institutions, or individuals acting on their behalf, must exhibit integrity and responsibility in advertising, student recruitment, and representation of accredited status. Responsible self-regulation requires rigorous attention to principles of good practice.

A. Advertising, Publications, Promotional Literature

1. Educational programs and services offered should be the primary emphasis of all advertisements, publications, promotional literature, and recruitment activities.

2. All statements and representations should be clear, factually accurate, and current. Supporting information should be kept on file and readily available for review.

3. Catalogs and other official publications should be readily available and accurately depict:

a. institutional mission and goals;

b. entrance requirements and procedures;

c. basic information on programs and courses, with required sequences and frequency of course offerings explicitly stated;

d. degree and program completion requirements, including length of time required to obtain a degree or certification of completion;

e. faculty (full-time and part-time listed separately) with degrees held and the conferring institution;

f. institutional facilities readily available for educational use;

g. rules and regulations for conduct;

h. tuition, fees, and other program costs;

i. opportunities and requirements for financial aid; and

j. policies and procedures for refunding fees and charges to students who withdraw from enrollment.

4. In college catalogs and/or official publications describing career opportunities, clear and accurate information should be provided regarding:

a. national and/or state legal requirements for eligibility for licensure or entry into an occupation or profession for which education and training are offered;

b. any unique requirements for career paths, or for employment and advancement opportunities in the profession or occupation described.

B. Student Recruitment for Admissions

1. Student recruitment should be conducted by well-qualified admissions officers and trained volunteers whose credentials, purposes, and position or affiliation with the institution are clearly specified.

2. Independent contractors or agents used by the institution for recruiting purposes shall be governed by the same principles as institutional admissions officers and volunteers.

3. The following practices in student recruitment are to be scrupulously avoided:

a. ensuring employment unless employment arrangements have been made and can be verified;

b. misrepresenting job placement and employment opportunities for graduates;

c. misrepresenting program costs;

d. misrepresenting abilities required to complete intended program; and

e. offering to agencies or individual persons money or inducements other than educational services of the institution in exchange for student enrollment. (Except for awards of privately endowed restricted funds, grants or scholarships are to be offered only on the basis of specific criteria related to merit or financial need.)

C. Representation of Accredited Status

1. The term "accreditation" is to be used only when accredited status is conferred by an accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the U.S. Secretary of Education.

2. No statement should be made about possible future accreditation status or qualification not yet conferred by the accrediting body. Statements like the following are not permissible. "(Name of Institution) has applied for candidacy with the Commission on Colleges of the Association;" "The program is being evaluated by the National Association of , and it is anticipated that accreditation will be granted in the near future."

3. Any reference to state approval should be limited to a brief statement concerning the actual charter, incorporation, license, or registration given.

4. The phrase "fully accredited" should be avoided, since no partial accreditation is possible.

5. When accredited status is affirmed in institutional catalogs and other official publications, it should be stated accurately and fully in a comprehensive statement, including:

a. identifying the accrediting body as follows:

Commission on Colleges

Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges

11130 NE 33rd Place, Suite 120

Bellevue, Washington 98004

b. indicating the scope of accreditation as:

1) institutional (regional or national);

Example: The University of Southern Yukon is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

2) specialized (curriculum or unit accredited must be specified):

Example: Programs in (Civil Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering) are accredited by the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology, a specialized accrediting board recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

The Department of Music at the University of Hiawatha is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

Programs for the preparation of elementary, secondary, and special education teachers at the bachelor's and master's level, for the preparation of guidance counselors at the master's and specialist degree level, and for school superintendents at the specialist and doctoral degree level are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and/or the U.S. Department of Education.

6. The accredited status of a program should not be misrepresented. The accreditation granted by an institutional accrediting body has reference to the quality of the institution as a whole. Since institutional accreditation does not imply specific accreditation of any particular program in the institution, statements like "this program is accredited" or "this degree is accredited" are incorrect and misleading.

7. If an institution in any way misrepresents its accredited status in institutional publications, or in any other public statements, the Commission will take the necessary steps to ensure that an appropriate correction is made by the institution. In such cases, the Commission will report the misrepresentation and the correction in the minutes of its meeting.

8. Institutions are not to quote from reports of evaluation committees in their official publications, news releases, or other public statements. In such cases, the Commission on Colleges will request that the institution publish an appropriate retraction and the Commission's action will be published in the minutes of its meeting.

Adopted 1983/Revised 1996

Supporting Documentation for Standard Three


1. Organization chart for student services.

2. Student handbook where applicable.

3. Summaries of student characteristics that will provide a composite of the nature of the student body.

4. Student retention and rate of graduate data for the last three years. NCAA Division I Schools are to include the most recent NCAA graduation rate report.

5. Completed Table #1, Admissions Report.

6. Completed Table #2, Student Affairs Staff Profile.

7. Description of procedures for policy development including the involvement of students.

Required Exhibits:

1. Policies and procedures on: student conduct, rights, and responsibilities; student grievance process; academic honesty; athletics; student fees; tuition refunds.

2. Statistics on student financial aid such as types and amounts available, number, gender of students assisted in each of last three years, default rate on loans, etc.

3. Most recent financial aid reviews conducted by state and federal agencies.

4. NCAA Division I Schools are to include the most recent graduation rate report.

5. A copy of the mission and goals of each unit.

6. Evidence of goal attainment of each unit.

7. Evidence of the impact of student services on students.


1. List of recognized student organizations.

2. Strategic plan for student services.

3. Constitution for student government.

4. Sample copies of student publications.

5. Institutional publications required by the Campus Security Act, Drug Free Schools and Colleges Act, the Drug Free Workplace Act, and the Student Right-to-Know Act.

6. Brief resumes of the professional staff in student services.

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