At each COA meeting, programs are reviewed in one of four work groups, each of which has six to eight commissioners. Each work group is chaired by a commissioner and staffed by an accreditation specialist.

Prior to a COA meeting, the accreditation specialist assigns two commission readers—commissioners from the work group—to read the program’s materials. After reading the program materials, the commission reader makes a recommendation regarding the program’s compliance with EPAS and submits the recommendation to the accreditation specialist or associate.

During the COA meeting, all of the commissioners in the work group review the readers’ recommendations, formulate a work group recommendation for consideration by the full COA, and draft a letter of instructions to the site visitor or a decision letter. The recommendations from each work group are discussed and ratified by the full COA at its final plenary session. The COA letters are signed by the chair of the COA.

Thirty (30) days after the conclusion of the COA meeting, official COA decision letters and letters of instruction to the site visitor(s), along with the COA decision and rationale for the decision, are mailed. Letters of instruction are addressed to the site visitor(s) with a copy to the chief administrator of the program. Decision letters are addressed to the president or chancellor, and a copy is sent to the chief administrator of the program.