The Office of Higher Education (OHE) is responsible for granting licenses and accrediting colleges and universities in Connecticut. In accordance with state laws OHE must approve proposals from these institutions for purposes including;
- Evaluating program modifications, which can be either non substantive changes to existing programs.
- Granting a license that allows institutions to enroll students in specific programs.
- Providing accreditation that enables institutions to confer degrees upon completion of programs.
Once an application is received OHE reviews it within 45 days. During this period the OHE staff carefully assesses the proposal. May reach out to college officials if they have any questions or require additional information. Successful proposals are those that meet all the standards set by the state.
In some cases additional review beyond the 45 day period may be necessary, for;
- Proposals aimed at establishing new educational institutions.
- Proposals pertaining to academic programs in fields previously unexplored by the applying institution.
- Proposals introducing programs at degree levels not previously offered by the applying institution.
There are two types of additional review;
- A Focused Review involves getting input from an expert in the proposed content field who is located outside of the state.
- An On site Review is conducted by a team of evaluation experts from out of state at the institution itself. This type of review usually happens when a new institution applies for licensure and it typically takes 9 months.
Applications for program accreditation that provide evidence of programmatic accreditation from an external professional accrediting agency may be considered by OHE as meeting state academic standards.
Regarding accreditation OHE accepts regional accreditation (i.e. accreditation, from a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education) instead of state accreditation unless there are specific reasons not to do so.OHE recognizes accreditation, which refers to accreditation by a national accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This recognition is applicable for Connecticut independent institutions of higher education that were accredited before July 1 2013 unless there are specific reasons not to accept it.
- Application, for Program Reaccreditation (to be used when program accreditation has an expiration date)
- Accreditation for Programs
When applying for licensure of programs they must be circulated among all public and independent colleges and universities in Connecticut. The circulation period lasts for 15 days. Is managed by OHE after receiving both the licensure application and circulation form through regular mail.
If any institution wishes to provide feedback on the application they need to send their statements to both OHE and the applicant institution. The applicant institution must then respond to these comments addressing both OHE and the commenting institution.
To ensure time for review and student recruitment applications for approval of new academic programs and institutions should be submitted to OHE as early as possible prior, to their planned implementation.State regulations require that the specified actions be completed nine months, in advance;
- Request program modification if necessary
- Submit a progress report
- Obtain licensure
- Submit the program application
- Prepare and distribute the program circulation document
- Follow the circulation instructions
Starting from July 1 2019 and in line with Public Act 19 26 specific non profit private colleges and universities are no longer required to go through the OHE approval process for up to twelve programs of higher education in a single academic year including any program modifications. To be eligible for this exemption higher education institutions must meet the criteria;
- Have been located within the state. Hold accreditation as a degree granting institution in good standing for at least ten years by a regional accrediting association recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education while maintaining such accreditation status.
- Maintain eligibility to participate in financial aid programs governed by Title IV, Part B of the Higher Education Act of 1965.
- Possess a financial responsibility score determined by the United States Department of Education that is equal to or greater than 1.5 for the most recent fiscal year where data is available.
Institutions exempted from this process must submit documents to OHE;
- An application seeking approval for any program of higher education exceeding twelve programs in one academic year.
- A program actions form (provided below), before enrolling students into any program of higher education or any existing program undergoing modifications.
In order to comply with OHE regulations institutions that are exempt must submit the following information to OHE by July 1 each year;
- Details about the institutions current process for approving programs including all decisions made by the governing board regarding new program approvals.
- The recent available composite score for financial responsibility as determined by the United States Department of Education.
- A list and brief explanation of any higher education programs introduced by the institution in the previous academic year.
- A list of any programs that were discontinued during the academic year.
To notify about programs modifications to existing programs or termination of programs please complete one of the following forms;