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Notice

Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, State Agencies for the Approval of Public Postsecondary Vocational Education, and State Agencies for the Approval of Nurse Education

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AGENCY:

National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, Department of Education (The Advisory Committee).

What Is the Purpose of This Notice?

The purpose of this notice is to invite written comments on accrediting agencies and State approval agencies whose applications to the Secretary for renewed recognition, requests for an expansion of the scope of recognition, or reports will be reviewed at the Advisory Committee meeting to be held Spring 2008, in Washington, DC.

Where Should I Submit My Comments?

Please submit your written comments by mail, fax, or e-mail no later than April 2, 2008 to Ms. Robin Greathouse, Accreditation and State Liaison. You may contact her at the U.S. Department of Education, Room 7126, MS 8509, 1990 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006, telephone: (202) 219-7011, fax: (202) 219-7005, or e-mail: Robin.Greathouse@ed.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339.

What is the Role of the Advisory Committee?

The Advisory Committee is established under Section 114 of the HEA, as amended, and is composed of 15 members appointed by the Secretary of Education from among individuals who are representatives of, or knowledgeable concerning, education and training beyond secondary education, including representatives of all sectors and type of institutions of higher education.

The Advisory Committee meets at least twice a year and provides recommendations to the Secretary of Education pertaining to:

  • The establishment and enforcement of criteria for recognition of accrediting agencies or associations under Subpart 2 of Part H of Title IV, HEA.
  • The recognition of specific accrediting agencies or associations.
  • The preparation and publication of the list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies and associations.

As the Advisory Committee deems necessary or on request, the Advisory Committee also advises the Secretary about:

  • The eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education under Title IV, HEA.
  • The development of standards and criteria for specific categories of vocational training institutions and institutions of higher education for which there are no recognized accrediting agencies, associations, or State agencies in order to establish the interim eligibility of those institutions to participate in Federally funded programs.
  • The relationship between (1) accreditation of institutions of higher education and the certification and eligibility of such institutions, and (2) State licensing responsibilities with respect to such institutions.
  • Any other advisory functions relating to accreditation and institutional eligibility that the Secretary may prescribe.

Will This Be My Only Opportunity to Submit Written Comments?

Yes, this notice announces the only opportunity you will have to submit written comments. However, a subsequent Federal Register notice will announce the meeting and invite individuals and/or groups to submit requests to make oral presentations before the Advisory Committee on the agencies that the Advisory Committee will review. That notice, however, does not offer a second opportunity to submit written comments.

What Happens to the Comments That I Submit?

We will review your comments, in response to this notice, as part of our evaluation of the agencies' compliance with Section 496 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and the Secretary's Criteria for Recognition of Accrediting Agencies and State Approval Agencies. The Criteria are regulations found in 34 CFR Part 602 (for accrediting agencies) and in 34 CFR part 603 (for State approval agencies) and are found at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​admins/​finaid/​accred/​index.html.

We will also include your comments with the staff analyses we present to the Advisory Committee at its Spring 2008 meeting. Therefore, in order for us to give full consideration to your comments, it is important that we receive them by April 2, 2008. In all instances, your comments about agencies seeking continued recognition and/or an expansion of an agency's scope of recognition must relate to the Criteria for Recognition. In addition, your comments for any agency whose interim report is scheduled for review must relate to the issues raised and the Criteria for Recognition cited in the Secretary's letter that requested the interim report.

What Happens to Comments Received After the Deadline?

We will review any comments received after the deadline. If such comments, upon investigation, reveal that the accrediting agency or State approval agency is not acting in accordance with the Criteria for Recognition, we will take action either before or after the meeting, as appropriate.

What Agencies Will the Advisory Committee Review at the Meeting?

The Secretary of Education recognizes accrediting agencies and State approval agencies for public postsecondary vocational education and nurse education if the Secretary determines Start Printed Page 11405that they meet the Criteria for Recognition. Recognition means that the Secretary considers the agency to be a reliable authority as to the quality of education offered by institutions or programs it accredits that are encompassed within the scope of recognition she grants to the agency.

The following agencies will be reviewed during the Spring 2008 meeting of the Advisory Committee:

Nationally Recognized Accrediting Agencies

Petitions for an Expansion of the Scope of Recognition

1. National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (Current scope of recognition: The accreditation in the United States of programs in practical nursing, and diploma, associate, baccalaureate and higher degree nurse education programs.) (Requested scope of recognition: The accreditation in the United States of programs in practical nursing, and diploma, associate, baccalaureate and higher degree nurse education programs, including those offered via distance education.)

Petitions for Renewal of Recognition

1. American Bar Association, Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar (Current and requested scope of recognition: The accreditation throughout the United States of programs in legal education that lead to the first professional degree in law, as well as freestanding law schools offering such programs. This recognition also extends to the Accreditation Committee of the Section of Legal Education (Accreditation Committee) for decisions involving continued accreditation (referred to by the agency as “approval”) of law schools.)

2. American Board of Funeral Service Education, Committee on Accreditation (Current and requested scope of recognition: The accreditation of institutions and programs within the United States awarding diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees in funeral service or mortuary science, including accreditation of distance learning courses and programs offered by these programs and institutions.)

3. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (Current and requested scope of recognition: The accreditation and pre-accreditation (Accreditation Candidate) throughout the United States of education programs in audiology and speech-language pathology leading to the first professional or clinical degree at the master's or doctoral level, and the accreditation of these programs offered via distance education.)

4. Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (Current and requested scope of recognition: The accreditation and pre-accreditation throughout the United States of graduate-level, four-year naturopathic medical education programs leading to the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (N.M.D.) or Doctor of Naturopathy (N.D.)

5. Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, Commission on Accreditation (Current and requested scope of recognition: The accreditation of Montessori teacher education institutions and programs throughout the United States.)

6. National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (Current and requested scope of recognition: The accreditation throughout the United States of postsecondary schools and departments of cosmetology arts and sciences and massage therapy.)

Interim Reports (An interim report is a follow-up report on an accrediting agency's compliance with specific criteria for recognition.)

1. Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., Accreditation Commission.

2. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.

3. Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities.

State Agency Recognized for the Approval of Public Postsecondary Vocational Education

Interim Reports

1. Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools.

2. Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Education.

State Agencies Recognized for the Approval of Nurse Education

Petitions for Renewal of Recognition

1. Montana State Board of Nursing.

2. North Dakota Board of Nursing.

Where Can I Inspect Petitions and Third-Party Comments Before and After the Meeting?

All petitions and those third-party comments received in advance of the meeting will be available for public inspection at the U.S. Department of Education, Room 7126, MS 8509, 1990 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006, telephone (202) 219-7011 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, until May 16, 2008. They will be available again after the Spring 2008 Advisory Committee meeting. An appointment must be made in advance of such inspection.

How May I Obtain Electronic Access to This Document?

You may view this document, as well as all other Department of Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​legislation/​FedRegister.

To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​index.html.

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2.

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Dated: February 14, 2008.

Diane Auer Jones,

Assistant Secretary, Office of Postsecondary Education.

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[FR Doc. E8-4011 Filed 2-29-08; 8:45 am]

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